Erica Emmich

Are You Career Ready?

Soft Skills: What Employers Want

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified the following core competencies as a measure of career-readiness.  Evaluate whether you possess these competencies and where you can improve.  When writing your resume and/or cover letter, be sure to highlight experiences that demonstrate these competencies.

Students networking with employers at the career fair.

Career & Self-Development

  • Identify areas for continual growth while pursuing and applying feedback. Display curiosity; seek out opportunities to learn.
  • Assume duties or positions that will help one progress professionally.
  • Establish, maintain and/or leverage relationships with people who can help one professionally.

Student delivering speech to class


  • Understand the importance of and demonstrate verbal, written and non-verbal/body language, abilities.
  • Employ active listening, persuasion and influencing skills.
  • Frame communication with respect to diversity of learning styles, varied individual communication abilities and cultural differences.

Students working in a science lab.

Critical Thinking

  • Make decisions and solve problems using sound, inclusive reasoning and judgement.
  • Gather and analyze information from a diverse set of sources and individuals to fully understand a problem.
  • Effectively communication actions and rationale, recognizing the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of stakeholders.

Large group from the peer leadership conference.

Equity and Inclusion

  • Solicit and use feedback from multiple cultural perspectives to make inclusive and equity-minded decisions.
  • Advocate for inclusion, equitable practices, justice and empowerment for historically marginalized communities.
  • Seek global cross-cultural interactions and experiences that enhance one’s understanding of people from different demographic groups that leads to personal growth.

Student directing broadcast during Lester Holt presentation.


  • Inspire, persuade and motivate self and others under a shared vision.
  • Use innovative thinking to go beyond traditional methods.
  • Plan, initiate, manage, complete and evaluate projects.

Nurse using digital tablet in hospital room


  • Act equitably with integrity and accountability to self, others and the organization.
  • Be present and prepared.
  • Demonstrate dependability (e.g., report consistently for work or meetings).

Students working together in a team.


  • Effectively manage conflict, interact with and respect diverse personalities and meet ambiguity with resilience.
  • Collaborate with others to achieve common goals.
  • Build strong, positive working relationships with supervisor and team members/coworkers.

student in ADP center


  • Navigate change and be open to learning new technologies.
  • Manipulate information, construct ideas and use technology to achieve strategic goals.
  • Identify appropriate technology for completing specific tasks.

Source: “What is Career Readiness?”; National Association of Colleges and Employers.