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Asked by Reed on August 29, 2017

I am a photojournalist intern for a local media organization. As part of a college class, and my internship, I am doing research about what employers are looking for in an intern or a new-hire fresh out of college. 1. What skills would be most important for an intern to have? 2. What skills would you aim at developing? 3. How important is it to be majoring in or have a degree related to the job?

Answered by Eddie, Hiring Expert at Quest Diagnostics, on October 1, 2017

1. I love this question! There are three basic skills that a majority of employers find valuable from any candidate:  communication, organization, and team work. I've worked with over 200 hiring managers in various industries and those three always come up. It's not really different for an intern. However, the indicators of how you have built these skills are found in how you have performed outside of the classroom in student organizations, part-time jobs, work study jobs, community service, and even other internships. Show employers how you have used your communication skills to excel as a leader, your organizational skills to execute tasks of the group or your team work skills to enhance to operations of the group.

2. See above--communication, organization, and team work! :-)

3. This depends on the field. For professions such as law, the sciences, finances, and medicine, employers will always look at candidates with those degrees. For other areas, employers may not be as rigid. That can be the magic of liberal arts. Majors such as psychology, mass communication, English, philosophy and sociology offer lots of flexibility because they sharpen candidates' people skills (what others may call soft skills). Emotional intelligence, which those kinds of majors enhance, is becoming a more precious commodity in the workplace because it heightens productivity.

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