WHAT IS CAREER READINESS?
What do you need to know and do in order to be career ready? The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) worked with a group of college career services and HR/staffing professionals to develop a definition for career readiness. They define it as, “Career readiness is the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace.”
In order to be career ready, it’s important to know the competencies and skills employers are looking for. It’s also helpful to understand the importance of your personal brand and what you can do to develop it so employers will recognize you as a professional individual they are eager to hire. In addition, the UNT Career Success Program can help you become career ready through self-paced activities focused on all aspects of the career development process.
DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
A great way to think about personal branding is to remember that it includes many facets. Your professional dress, communication style, competence level and even your online presence all go into the professional impression that you are making. Your professional brand can be synonymous with your reputation. It is important to remember that it is not what you say about yourself but what people say about you, when you are not in the room. Even as a student, you can start building your personal brand today.
Some tips on how to do this is to establish a reputation as a new professional who is willing to learn, engage, and grow. Seek out opportunities to learn about professional norms for your prospective field. Join the campus chapter of a professional association or the honor society for your major. Attend a lecture series from a seasoned professional and ask questions in a class that is hosting a visiting employer. Get certified in Office Excel or some other tool that is relevant to your field. Position yourself as someone who is genuinely interested in your field and has a desire to learn more.
A Career Coach can help you fine tune your resume, identify target student organizations, develop an elevator speech, and optimize your LinkedIn profile.
COMPETENCIES AND SKILLS EMPLOYERS VALUE MOST
Employers are interested in hiring talented individuals who possess the skills and abilities that will bring value to their organization. Some of the skills employers seek are specific to an industry or type of company, but other skills are more general in nature and are valued by most employers.
NACE has identified eight competencies or skills associated with career readiness, which are listed below. You can learn more about these competencies and how they relate to career readiness by accessing this NACE resource: “Career Readiness Competencies or Skills.”
Eight Competencies or Skills:
- Career & Self-Development
- Critical Thinking
- Equity & Inclusion
To gain additional insight into what employers are looking for, read this Forbes article: “The 10 Vital Skills You Will Need for the Future of Work.”