Level Up: Build Skills Employers Want

Employers who hire UW graduates have identified a few core skills that are critical to students’ success in the job search and in the workplace.  Students should seek opportunities such as classes, activities, and internships to develop the skills listed below.  LinkedIn Learning, an on-demand video learning platform, is another great way to build and enhance skills.

Skills Employers Want:

  • Manage Self
    • Initiative – Prepare, plan, and prioritize.  Proactively look for opportunities to contribute.  Be present and productive.
    • Adaptability – Learn emerging tools and methodologies.  Be willing to change in response to new information.  Create contingency plans.  View setbacks as opportunities.
    • Accountability – Fulfill obligations, meet deadlines, and follow-through to completion.  Admit and correct mistakes.  Act with honesty, integrity, and humility.
  • Engage Others
    • Communication – Listen attentively.  Ask thoughtful questions.  Use inclusive language.  Tailor content and delivery to audience.
    • Collaboration – Relate with empathy and curiosity.  Acknowledge biases.  Avoid assumptions.  Respectfully negotiate differences.  Confidently lead.  Gladly follow.
    • Honor Diverse Perspectives – Intentionally build inclusive teams and environments.  Embrace different ideas and styles.  Encourage and value others’ contributions.
  • Produce Results
    • Critical Thinking – Gather information from diverse sources.  Determine accuracy, relevance, and significance.  Consider opposing viewpoints.  Make data-informed decisions.
    • Creative Problem-Solving – Analyze the big picture.  Narrowly define the problem.  Generate and critique numerous solutions.  Anticipate possible challenges.
    • Continuous Improvement – Assess efficiency and effectiveness.  Reflect and self-evaluate.  Seek feedback and opportunities to learn.  Implement change intentionally and incrementally.

Develop Skills Using LinkedIn Learning:

Skills Employers Want:

  • Other Ways to Develop Skills:


    • Majors and minors
    • Elective courses
    • Class projects
    • Service learning
    • Study abroad


    • Student leadership roles
    • Athletics and e-sports
    • Theater and music
    • Student publications
    • CIRCLE, UniteUW, FIUTS


    • Volunteer roles
    • On- and off-campus jobs
    • Internships
    • Case competitions
    • Research positions

    Note – This list is not exhaustive!  There are endless ways to develop skills!

Next Steps:

  • Use the Level Up Skills Reflection Worksheet to start mapping out how you intend on developing skills and getting experience
  • When you identify a path you might want to pursue, scan related job postings and develop a plan for building job-specific skills, in addition to the nine skills referenced here
  • Seek resources to help you articulate your experiences and skills to potential employers through LinkedIn, resumes, cover letters, and interviews