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Soft Skills Can Give College Students Technical Opportunities

Oct 19, 2021 3 min read

At KLA, we develop early career talent just as much as we seek it. We’ve prioritized our sponsorship role with universities across the country with the intent to give students the education they need to become job ready. KLA’s University Relations team in the U.S., led by Tina Revels, oversees the connections built with students across state borders and specializations.

Tina said there’s a significant push to hire new college graduates across KLA because of their potential. Whether it be engineering or finance, human resources or philanthropy, new college graduates and entry-level employees provide new perspectives that keep us advancing humanity in new, innovative and sustainable ways.

The semiconductor industry is well established but constantly growing and moving forward. Fresh minds and ideas are what we need and how we keep things exciting – not only in the office but for the innovations KLA can offer chip manufacturers.

When searching for top talent at university career fairs, Tina said technical skills aren’t the only thing she’s looking for. Soft skills, which apply across disciplines, tend to be at the top of her priority list. These skills include the following:

Important Soft Skills

  • Collaboration and Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Learning Agility
  • Leadership Ability
  • Decision Quality
  • Problem Solving
  • Driving Results
  • Judgement

KLA considers factors such as graduation date, GPA and prior accomplishments when reviewing applications for entry-level positions. However, selecting talent based on soft skills allows our team to choose individuals who will thrive in our collaborative, inclusive and intellectually challenging environment.

Diversity of Thought, Experience and Education

We owe our success in team collaboration and innovation to our inclusion practices. To create high performing teams, our recruiters actively seek candidates from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Diversity of thought, experience and education benefit our ability to solve problems and provide solutions for some of the toughest technical challenges.

For example, Daniel Manwiller grew up in a hybrid learning environment. Being homeschooled for most of his life, he learned how to stay motivated and keep organized while rotating between in-person learning and virtual modules and tests.

Daniel attended University of Michigan’s career fair in 2019 and the day after, was brought back by KLA for an interview for our AI and algorithms division. Soon after, he joined us full-time as a machine learning software engineer and KLA offered to sponsor his master’s degree.

I knew how to learn in a variety of environments because I was homeschooled. Many of my courses were based online during my high school years, so when the pandemic hit, I was able to adapt easily to a remote workforce.

His positive experience has inspired him to share his story with others, particularly at his alma mater. He now helps University Relations with recruiting events and interviews. Daniel said he’s eager to share with students that you can be problem solver, collaborate on projects and complete meaningful research without going into academia and earning a PhD.

Visit our University Recruiting page for more information about our graduate and intern programs as well as upcoming recruiting events. And don’t forget to check out our careers page to browse the many opportunities ahead for you. To learn more about our inclusion practices, visit the inclusion and diversity page.

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