May 6, 2016

A bonus of student employment? Transferable skills.

Jenny Watermill

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You may not think that your job as a dishwasher in Dining Services or as a tutor for a math class is preparing you for work outside of Mount Holyoke College. But it is! Virtually every job supports your professional growth through the development of transferable skills.

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are useful in any work situation; they are not limited to a specific academic discipline, industry, or job. Examples include communication, teamwork, organization, reasoning, professionalism, and leadership.

What’s more, employers really value this type of skill. In a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers selected leadership, teamwork, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and a strong work ethic among the most important qualities they seek in applicants.


So how do you show off your student employment work to its best advantage?

First, really consider what a prospective employer is looking for. Then determine how to best describe your job to highlight these aspects.

For example, say you work in Dining Services as a dishwasher and checker. Heading to a lab setting? You “meticulously follow procedures to maintain a sanitary environment.” Applying to a position at a community development organization? You “create a sense of community through warmly assisting the diverse patrons of the dining hall.”


We are here for you!

Learning to highlight your transferable skills—in application forms and in person—is an art. So don’t hesitate to ask for help! To work on this art form with an expert, make an appointment with the Career Development Center by calling 413-538-2080 at any time of the year. During the academic year, the CDC also offers 15-minute walk-in sessions:

At the CDC: 2:00–4:30 pm, Monday through Friday
At the MEWS: 10:00 am–noon, Thursday and Friday

Already graduated?

Alumnae who have graduated within the past five years are encouraged to connect with the CDC Alumnae Engagement Team for personalized professional development support. The team offers in-person, phone, and Skype appointments. Call the CDC at 413-538-2080 to schedule a time.

Encourage your professional growth. Learn More

Jenny Watermill is the associate director for internships and student employment at the Career Development Center. She supervises advising and programming that aim to improve students’ abilities to set goals, secure and succeed in experiential opportunities, reflect on the learning that takes place in and outside the classroom, and speak clearly and confidently about their achievements. She manages $900,000 in internship and research funds and steward-associated donor relationships.

Watermill has been critical in the implementation of the internship component of Mount Holyoke’s Lynk initiative, which connects students’ academic work with practical applications of the liberal arts and sciences. Before joining Mount Holyoke in 2008, Watermill managed the daily operations of a forensic accounting firm in Greenville, Rhode Island, and advised hundreds of families receiving state aid at TILL, Inc., in Dedham, Massachusetts. Watermill has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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