Soft Skills Rank at the Top of the List for In-Demand Entry-Level Professional Roles

Parker Dewey, which connects highly motivated college students and recent graduates with businesses via its Micro-Internships platform, today released the most in-demand skills for entry-level professional roles for the first quarter of 2019.

Based on Parker Dewey’s database of Micro-Internship project postings, the top skills were: attention to detail, communication (oral and/or written), dependability/reliability, empathy, flexibility, integrity, organization, problem solving, resilience, and self-starter.

All of the Micro-Internships posted in Q1 required these 10 skills. The data also showed that the top three areas in which employers required Micro-Internships – or short-term, professional, paid roles – were marketing (39%), sales (16%) and operations (11%).

“Our data is the latest in a growing body of industry research indicating that these skills are of critical importance when it comes to career readiness and success,” said Parker Dewey Founder and CEO Jeffrey Moss. “Given that over 90% of talent professionals ranked these skills as important per the recent Global Talent Trends report, we need to highlight that these are not just ‘Soft Skills’ but ‘Core Skills.’ And, of the top eight career-readiness competencies defined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), seven were these soft skills.”

This overwhelming demand for soft skills comes at a time when the gig-to-career model is gaining traction for hiring college students and recent graduates as companies increasingly recognize that major, academic pedigree, and GPA do not predict career success or fit for entry-level roles. Said Microsoft Director of Technology & Civic Innovation for Chicago Adam Hecktman, “Using Micro-Internships helped us identify a candidate who not only had the hard skills, but an incredible work ethic.”

Since launching in 2016, Parker Dewey has connected thousands of college students and recent grads from a wide range of schools – including Purdue, Illinois Tech, Colby, National Louis University, the University of Michigan and more – with companies in need of on-demand, short-term project support. Microsoft, CBRE, Advocate Health, Dell, Leo Burnett and Barilla and hundreds of others have hired Parker Dewey students to complete Micro-Internships.

“The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last year that more than 50% of recent college graduates don’t remain in roles after the first year,” added Moss. “Micro-Internships are helping change all that, as they offer companies and students alike an opportunity to try each other out in a low-risk way. Micro-Internships are especially effective in the face of the so-called talent shortage in which companies point to a lack of communications, analytical thinking, and creativity of recent grads, while failing to consider candidates with the philosophy, history, and English degrees that specifically develop those skills.”

Micro-Internships have numerous benefits for companies, including:

  • Enhancing diversity and inclusion: Companies can cast a wider net among students who might not have access to their on-campus and other recruiting efforts, increasing access to candidates from different backgrounds, GPAs, majors and colleges.
  • Driving retention: Micro-Internships provide a way for organizations and candidates to mutually audition one another upfront, leading to better hiring outcomes and retention.
  • Supporting brand development: As companies increasingly compete for talent, Micro-Internships help build or enhance brand with potential candidates. Irrespective of if a company has a strong consumer brand, Micro-Internships introduce college students to the professional opportunities of an organization.
  • Providing early access: Given the short-term nature of these assignments, Micro-Internships help companies gain early access to candidates prior to the traditional internships or full-time recruiting cycles. Furthermore, these relationships can be nurtured throughout a student’s post-secondary experience.
  • Increasing cost-savings: Companies spend billions annually to recruit college students; then, they face an additional $15-$30 billion in annual costs associated with attrition of their millennial employees. Yet $15,000 can provide 50 students with Micro-Internships, improving hiring effectiveness, while providing equitable access to high-wage, professional careers via hands-on experience.

Concluded Moss, “In an environment in which soft skills are a proven marker of professional readiness and fit, Micro-Internships offer companies an efficient, low-risk way to assess these difficult to discern traits.”

For more information on Parker Dewey and Micro-Internships, please visit

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