No matter what degree program you are in, or what your career aspirations are, you will need to demonstrate excellence in these seven 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 student leadership roles.

These are the most important competencies to have for any industry, based on employer feedback and national surveys.

Oral and Written Communications

Strong communication is the ability to translate complicated content into something digestible and easy to understand. It is important to be able to articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms (including public speaking) to internal and external constituencies.

Communication examples:

  • Wrote and edited emails/memos, papers and reports clearly and effectively
  • Presented at a conference
  • Started a professional blog
  • Wrote and reviewed seminar and conference papers, and journal articles
Data Analysis and Critical Thinking

Your graduate studies will help you to exercise sound reasoning to analyze, make decisions and overcome problems, manage data and interpret facts to solve problems.

Data Analysis and Critical Thinking examples:

  • Attended research workshops and scholar talks in the area to further research goals

  • Ability to frame a problem, critically read journal articles, interpret data, and make decisions through dissertation/thesis research.

Information Technology Application

Proficiency with computer software programs is an important skill that will be useful in any career path you choose after your graduate studies.

Information Technology Application Examples:

  • Able to learn new technology when needed to complete research projects

  • Able to use Excel (or similar spreadsheet application) to effectively track data, generate graphs to show the outcome of your work

  • Show a strong LinkedIn profile and connect with alumni for strong connections

  • Familiar with general internet searches and ways in which to find information you need for research


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.

Leadership Examples:

  • Held leadership role at Brandeis, such as chairing a panel, running for GSA office, or serving as a graduate liaison for your department

  • Demonstrated initiative at a job/internship by taking on a new project

Teamwork and Collaboration

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 in today’s workforce.

Teamwork and Collaboration examples:

  • Volunteer to serve on a committee

  • Join a collaborative reading group

  • Connect with colleagues at other area universities to plan events

  • Form a study group

  • Join a club or organization in your field of study

Project Management

Organizing your time effectively in your academic experience 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.

Project Management examples:

  • Organize an event at a conference

  • Plan your department’s event schedule

  • Create a plan to keep yourself organized and on top of your deadlines and your professional development

  • Manage volunteers during graduate research

  • Ability to manage multiple tasks with minimal time resources


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

Teaching and Mentoring Examples:

  • Work as an adjunct or visiting lecturer during your graduate studies to gain experience in curriculum development, teaching and mentoring students

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

  • Practice new pedagogies and ask for feedback

  • Mentor students individually during office hours

  • Mentor students individually during office hours

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