Author of ’10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College’ Says ‘Excel is Life’

Ah, it’s that time of year again when summer interns have gone back to their respective campuses but one thing’s for sure: Even though they’ve surely learned a lot this summer, chances are seasoned employees have learned from them, too.

There’s a lot we can learn from summer interns including a zest for making a splash in their careers. According to Bill Coplin, author of 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College, there are tips we can all learn from whether we’re a 20-year-old intern, recent college grad, or veteran editor.

He told The New York Post the most important skill encompasses taking responsibility.

“The first is taking responsibility — the ability to motivate yourself and organize your time and money. If you can’t do that, then you can’t really practice and develop the other skills. As far as importance, I would say working directly with people — building good relationships, working in teams. I’m a big fan of Excel. I like to tell my students, ‘Excel is life.’ It’s an interesting skill area, because you wouldn’t normally think of it as being applicable to a range of things — but it is. No matter what you do, you need spreadsheets.”

Another skill involves not resting on your laurels. In the intern case it’s your college and degree. He explained to the newspaper, “A lot of kids go to college as a very expensive summer camp. Those kids are hopeless. Those who want to develop something should be focusing on skills. And skills are not just taught in the classroom; in fact, they’re more taught outside the classroom.”

What’s most important and what interns and older folks alike can develop is thinking beyond putting skills on a CV. Instead, demonstrate the skill with colorful experiences. “For example, if you want to say you’re a good writer, you should have on your resume ‘reporter for the college newspaper for two years.'”

He added, “It’s the experiences you have that demonstrate the skills. Saying you have the skills is useless.”