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Jan. 23, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



Top 10 skills employers expect in workers, interns   


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Every job seeker wants to know what potential employers are actually looking for in a candidate. The same skill set applies to those seeking internships, said John Rindy, director of Slippery Rock University’s Office of Career Services, and he has the answer.

           Each year the National Association of Colleges and Employers surveys hundreds of U.S. employers to find out which transferrable skills are important to them as they hire new employees,” he said. “Based on the survey, the top 10 most sought characteristics in applicants are:” 

           1. Verbal communication skills

           2. Strong work ethic

           3. Teamwork skills (works well with others)

           4. Analytical skills

           5. Initiative

           6. Problem-solving skills

           7. Written communication skills

           8. Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)

           9. Computer skills

           10. Flexibility/adaptability

Rindy offers this advice, “There are many ways to build these skills, but as summer approaches, students should consider some type of experiential learning.”               “Each academic department has one or more faculty members who serve as internship coordinators and they can explain the registration process to students – they can also tell students where past students have interned and discuss their success.”  

An internship offers students the opportunity to learn about the workplace and, in most cases, apply the knowledge they have gained in their coursework, he said.

Rindy listed a number of areas students should keep in mind as they head toward summer:

·         Be decisive about internships, delays can make it difficult to find an internship;

·         File all necessary paperwork early; faculty work hard to support students, respect them by filing early;

·         Have your resume and cover letter examples reviewed by Career Services as soon as possible, but certainly by the end of February;

·         Use SRU’s College Central Network to find internships beyond our region (;

·         Career Services can support the internship search for students who live in other regions; and

·         Attend the Feb. 21 Summer Job and Internship Fair in the University Union.

The Summer Job and Internship Fair will attract nearly 70 employers that will offer internships and summer employment opportunities.

“Even summer and seasonal work experiences help build transferrable skills. Students should visit the Office of Career Services, located in Bailey Library, to allow us to help them articulate the skills on their resume,” Rindy said.

Students can also gain valuable skill-building experience by participating in campus organizations, Robert Smith, SRU president, shared several tips in an article he wrote for the Colleges of Distinction. The article may be found at:


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.