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Through your study of the liberal arts, you develop transferable skills and professional competencies that are most valued by employers and graduate schools. 

Use the list of Core Professional Competencies below to identify skills that you already have, as well as those you wish to develop through internships, volunteering, student activities, and self-directed projects. 

The idea of becoming a T-shaped professional is one you should consider. That is, a person who is both broad and deep in their knowledge. Use the language of these competencies when writing your résumé, employment application, or essays for graduate school. 

Influencing/Persuading Skills

  • Persuading, influencing the attitudes of others
  • Debating
  • Developing targets, building markets
  • Promoting
  • Selling ideas or products
  • Selling to decision makers
  • Recruiting talent
  • Motivating others
  • Adept at conflict management
  • Getting diverse groups to work together
  • Arbitrating/mediating
  • Inspiring trust
  • Encouraging people
  • Helping people identify what their interests

Training/Educational Skills

  • Training someone to do something
  • Designing educational events
  • Organization and administration of training
  • Fosters stimulating learning environment
  • Conveys tremendous enthusiasm
  • Explaining, instructing, teaching
  • Group facilitating
  • Enabling/facilitating personal growth
  • Helping people to develop their own insights
  • Counseling
  • Ability to hear and answer questions perceptively
  • Acceptance of differing opinions
  • Advising/aiding people in making decisions
  • Having a commitment to life-long learning

Cross-Cultural Skills

  • International experience
  • Ability to work in a multilingual environment and multicultural group
  • Knowledge of other cultures, customs, social, political, religious behaviors
  • Acceptance of different values, beliefs, communication habits, notions of time
  • Understanding of our own attitudes, and when necessary, ability to adapt practices
  • Respect for difference and diversity

Social Responsibility

  • Respect differences
  • Demonstrate ethical behavior
  • Responsible citizenship


  • Artistic
  • Literary
  • Innovation


  • Lab Science
  • Software
  • Systems Management
  • Internet

Research Skills

  • Creating hypotheses
  • Formulating research designs
  • Systematizing
  • Conducting research
  • Executing
  • Analyzing research findings

Observational/Learning Skills

  • Appraising
  • Screening applicants
  • Assessing people’s needs/public’s mood
  • Sizing up situations
  • Intelligence tempered by common sense
  • Alert at observing human behavior
  • Perceptive in identifying the potential of others
  • Observant of people/data/things/surrounding
  • Perpetual curiosity/discovery
  • Seeking new experiences
  • Hearing accurately
  • Keen sense of smell
  • Sensitive sense of tasting

Machine or Manual Skills

  • Operating Tools, machinery vehicles, equipment
  • Designing, shaping, composing
  • Precision work
  • Showing dexterity or speed
  • Building, assembling, setting, installing

Platform Skills

  • Addressing large or small groups
  • Responsive to audiences moods or ideas
  • Conducting public affairs and ceremonies
  • Poise in public appearances
  • A strong theatrical sense
  • Demonstrating
  • Modeling
  • Making radio and TV presentations
  • Appearing in films
  • Acting
  • Making people laugh
  • Playing music
  • Singing
  • Public Sports
  • Dancing
  • Conducting music

Management/Supervisory Skills

  • Planning and developing plans
  • Organizational analysis
  • Designing projects
  • Program development
  • Contracting, delegating, scheduling, assigning
  • Directing the skills of others
  • Bringing people together in cooperative efforts
  • Evaluating people’s effectiveness

Numerical/ Financial/Accounting/Financial Management Skills

  • Budget planning and preparation
  • Administration, analysis and review
  • Managing Money
  • Financial planning and management
  • Economic research and analysis
  • Cost analyses, estimate, projections
  • High accuracy in computing/counting
  • Using numbers as a reasoning tool
  • Effective at solving statistical problems
  • Preparing financial reports
  • Learning/remembering numbers and statistics

Artistic and Design Skills

  • Visual and spatial designing
  • Artistic talent
  • Illustrating
  • Mapping
  • Drafting/mechanical drawing
  • Designing comfortable living spaces
  • Designing and/or using audio-visual aids
  • Photographing
  • Strong need for beauty in the environment
  • Excellent taste
  • Creative imaging
  • Operates well in a free environment
  • Fashioning/shaping things
  • Making
  • Redesigning
  • Aware of the value of symbolism
  • Creates poetry or poetic images
  • Writing
  • Playwriting
  • Organizing and staging theatrical productions
  • Expressive
  • Ability to use the body to express feelings
  • Musical knowledge and taste

Leadership Skills

  • No fear of taking manageable risks
  • Able to make hard decisions
  • Able to move into new situations independently
  • Able to take initiate and develop relationships
  • Unusual ability to work without supervision
  • Keen perception of things as they could be
  • Planning for/and effecting/initiating change
  • Able to see and seize opportunities
  • Dealing with the unexpected or critical
  • Searching for more responsibility
  • Adept and confronting difficult personal matters
  • Inspiring, motivating and leading others
  • Deft in directing creative talents

Critical Thinking

  • Identify Problems
  • Gather evidence through research
  • Evaluate options & derive conclusions
  • Quantitative

Personal Management

  • Risk taking
  • Adapt to change
  • Work independently
  • Cope with failure


  • Initiate ideas within a team
  • Cooperation-Negotiation
  • Resolve Conflict

Communication Skills: Reading, Speaking, Writing

  • Communicating effectively
  • Ability to explain difficult concepts
  • Summarizing, reporting accurately
  • Very explicit and concise writing
  • Adept at translating jargon to diverse audiences
  • Verbal and linguistic skills in other languages
  • Outstanding writing skills
  • Able to describe so that others can visualize
  • Promotional writing for funding purposes
  • Imaginative advertising and publicity programs
  • Flair for writing reports
  • Skilled speech-writing
  • Composing letters
  • Proofreading, editing
  • Love of reading
  • Relentlessly curious
  • Innovating and Intuitional Skills
  • Able to see commercial possibilities of concepts
  • Applying theory, research
  • Creating products


  • Willing to experiment with new approaches
  • Strongly committed to experimental approaches
  • Continually developing and generating ideas
  • Forecasting
  • Integrate diverse elements into clear coherence
  • Connect seemingly unrelated issues
  • Ability to improvise on the spur of the moment
  • Deriving things from others’ ideas
  • Model developing
  • Possessing imagination and the ability to use it
  • Spatial memory
  • Memory for design
  • Memory for faces

Traveling/Athletic/Outdoor Skills

  • Ease with traveling
  • Drawing samples from the earth
  • Oceanic interests
  • Physical coordination and agility
  • Horticultural skills
  • Skilled at general sports
  • Farming, ranching
  • Working with animals

Follow Through/Detail

  • Executing
  • Follow detailed instructions
  • Apply what others have developed
  • Explicit, systematic manipulation of data
  • Troubleshooting
  • Checking work of others
  • Classification and retrieval of data

Human Relations Skills/Helping Others

  • Works well on a team basis
  • Motivates fellow workers
  • Expresses appreciation faithfully
  • Ready willingness to share credit with others
  • Expertise in interpersonal contact
  • Keen ability to put self in someone else’s shoes
  • Effective in dealing with many different people
  • Expert in liaison roles
  • Unusual ability to represent others
  • Treating people fairly
  • Shaping the atmosphere of a particular place
  • Sensitive to people’s feelings in social situations
  • Helping people with their personal problems
  • Takes human failings/limitations into account
  • Handles difficult people well
  • Caring for/nursing
  • Understands family relationships and problems