Academic Internships Office

What Employers Want

A recent survey by Intern Bridge indicated that all employers (internship and regular hire) are “trolling for experience” in their candidate pool. They look for candidates who know what their skill sets are and showcase them in their application so the employer knows clearly how they will add value to the organization. The candidate pool is rich, competition is stiff. Students must be prepared to step into the workplace with confidence and prepared to learn the ropes quickly to be a productive member of the organization and part of the work team.

This means you need to glean from what you have done, in former employment, in volunteer experiences and your campus activities, the skills that will matter to your desired employer and be able to showcase them in your application. The Internship Office can help you with this task.

Call 535-7459 to make an appointment with Maxine Herbert-Hill, the Director of the Academic Internship Office.

Important Competencies

In April of 2008 at a Northwest professional conference, the following were noted as competencies that were considered most important when employers hired students and graduates. Here is a list of the general consensus for most important areas:

  1. Written and verbal command of the English language
  2. Positive work habits and attitudes
  3. Thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills
  4. Reading and writing skills
  5. Oral communication
  6. Math skills and analytical skills
  7. Interpersonal skills
  8. Technical skills
  9. Social skills

Please notice that technical skills, those most closely related to majors, were not at the top. Notice also that English language skills, problem solving skills and oral and written communication skills ranked very high. Most employers tell us that, regardless of major, communication skills and English language skills are essential. If you ever want to go beyond entry level in your chosen field, you will do it based on your ability to communicate.

Even lower-level supervisors spend over 50% of their time communicating and the higher up the ladder you go, the more time you spend with communication and the more apt it is to be written. If you have problems with the English language and with oral and written communication (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.), you should take steps to correct your deficiencies while you are still in school. Employers are also looking for the well-rounded individual with drive and enthusiasm.

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PLU is committed to providing equal opportunity in employment and in education for all members of the University community without regard to an individual's race, color, creed, religion, gender, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, marital status, sexual orientation or any other status protected by law.