Skills Hanbook Cover Shot

Skills for Success

Skills Employers Look for & How to Develop Them
A survey of Cal State Fullerton alumni summarized the following skills as critical in securing a professional job after graduation and achieving success in you first career:

Written & Verbal Communication

The ability to speak, read and write ideas clearly and effectively in English.

You can develop strong communication skills by taking classes and incorporating other experiences that include writing projects and public speaking activities.

"In order to communicate any message effectively to our clients, it is imperative that we hire employees who have superior verbal and written communication skills." Katie Carano, Program Manager, RuffaloCODY

To Develop Written & Verbal Communication Skills:

Problem Solving & Critical Thinking

The ability to identify the relevant information and experiences needed to make decisions and solve problems: to be organized, persistent and focused in thinking, inquiry and communication.

You can enhance these skills by taking classes and getting involved in projects that allow you to exercise critical judgment, acquire and evaluate information, make decisions and solve problems.

"At Enterprise, it's not what you know, but the problems you solve that make the critical difference. Developing these skills while you are a student will give you a competitive advantage when looking for a job with us."
Dave Dutchen, Regional Recruiting Supervisor, Enterprise Rent-a-Car

To Develop Problem Solving & Critical Thinking Skills:


The ability to shape individual and group behavior to accomplish goals, including relating well with colleagues, inspiring others, resolving conflicts and demonstrating diplomacy.

Community activities, classwork, as well as jobs and internships provide excellent opportunities to take charge of a project or activity and therefore develop your leadership skills.

You can build leadership skills in classes and experiences that encourage you to assume responsibility, encourage others, manage projects and interact with others from diverse cultures. Keep in mind you can assume leadership in any size group or project.

"Leadership skills tell us that a candidate has long term potential in our company, and we are always attracted to someone who can show us their leadership ability." - Becky Koliboski, District Manager, Target Stores

To Develop Leadership Skills:


The ability to work cooperatively with others and contribute to a group’s success with ideas, suggestions and effort.

All work environments require the ability to work with others and be a part of a team. Employers look for new hires to be able to fit into their system and be an active team member.

"Effective teamwork gives us a critical advantage over competitors in our industry, so we look for future employees with demonstrated teamwork skills."- Jean Sabo, Director of Personnel,Compass International, Inc.

To Develop Teamwork Skills:


The ability to appropriately apply technology and effectively use hardware, software and the Internet to accomplish specific job-related tasks.

Employers expect new college graduates to be familiar with standard business computer applications including word processing, spreadsheets, data management, and presentation software. You can increase your computer/technical skills in classes, workshops, and experiences that focus on applying technology and learning software programs.

"Our employees constantly use basic computer technologies to serve our customers and interact with other team members. In a technology driven market, these skills are essential." - Keith Kelley, Corporate Recruiter, Experian

To Develop Technology Skills:

  • Create and use a PowerPoint presentation
  • Work as a student assistant in Information Technology
  • Keep budgets for student clubs using Excel
  • Work in a studio or control room for a radio or TV station
  • Take a computer class
  • Design or maintain a website for a student organization or campus office
  • Design brochures or newsletters
  • Create a database to organize your contacts as you search for a summer job

These skills were uniformly cited by alumni of all ages, across all careers and from all the majors offered by Cal State Fullerton. While a college degree is required to enter into most professions, it is necessary to demonstrate these transferable skills in order to put your Cal State Fullerton degree to work.

Cal State Fullerton students encounter many opportunities to develop these key skills both inside and outside of the classroom. Your investment in a high-quality undergraduate education can enhance your ability to compete as a professional if you incorporate an intentional plan to acquire and build upon these five critical skills.

This feedback provides a starting point for identifying and incorporating a range of curricular and extra-curricular experiences as part of your undergraduate experience.