No matter what degree program you are in, or what your career aspirations are, you will need to demonstrate excellence in a few key areas. As a Brandeis student, you have the opportunity to build skills not only in your academic program through research and teaching, but on and off-campus in internships, volunteer programs, organizing events, and through leadership roles. 

Not sure how to identify your skills, or even what skills you need? These are the six most important skills-areas for any industry, based on employer feedback and national surveys.


Strong communication is the ability to translate complicated content into something digestible and easy to understand.

How to build it:

  • Teach a class

  • Present at a conference

  • Share your ideas with non-experts at graduate events

Analysis/Critical Thinking

Your graduate program will help you develop analytical skills.

How to build it:

  • Develop your research questions and ask for adviser feedback

  • Write and review seminar and conference papers, and journal articles

  • Attend research workshops and scholar talks in the area


The ability to lead effectively, cultivating trust in your followers, and making strong decisions will allow you to excel in any career that you choose.

How to build it:

  • Chairing a panel

  • Running for GSA office

  • Serving as a graduate liaison for your department

Time/Project Management

Organizing your time effectively is key to success in any career, from academia to industry. You’ll need to meet deadlines, collaborate with large groups, and balance multiple responsibilities.

How to build it:

  • Organize a conference

  • Plan your department’s event schedule

  • Use our IDP to create a five year plan to keep yourself organized and on top of your deadlines and your professional development


The opportunity to teach is something that our students prize here at Brandeis. Not only does teaching classes help you to build your other skills, like communication and leadership, the ability to teach is skill on it’s own.

How to build it:

  • Attend TA/TF workshops to hone your classroom management skills

  • Practice new pedagogies and ask for feedback

  • Mentor students individually during office hours


All career paths have a degree of teamwork, even in the most independent of environments. Whether working on developing a product, coming to consensus in a staff meeting, or simply getting along with the other people in your office, teamwork is a vital skill that all employers look for when hiring.

How to build it:

  • Volunteer to serve on a committee

  • Join a collaborative reading group

  • Connect with colleagues at other area universities to plan events

Need other ideas for how to build these important skills? Make an appointment at the CCPD and let us brainstorm with you!