Erica Emmich

Are You Career Ready?

Soft Skills: What Employers Want

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified the following eight, 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 working in a science lab.

Critical Thinking / Problem Solving

  • Exercises sounds reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems.
  • Able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data.
  • Demonstrates originality and inventiveness.

Student delivering speech to class

Oral / Written Communication

  • Clearly articulates thoughts and ideas.
  • Able to express ideas to others.
  • Writes effectively and clearly.

Students working together in a team.

Teamwork / Collaboration

  • Builds collaborative relationships with colleagues and clients.
  • Able to work within a team structure.
  • Can negotiate and manage conflict.

Nurse using digital tablet in hospital room

Professionalism / Work Ethic

  • Demonstrates personal accountability and effective work habits (i.e., punctuality, time management, etc.).
  • Demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior.
  • Able to learn from mistakes.

student in ADP center

Digital Technology

  • Leverages existing digital technologies.
  • Adapts to new and emerging technologies.

Student directing broadcast during Lester Holt presentation.


  • Leverages the strengths of other to achieve common goals
  • Uses interpersonal skills to coach and develop others.
  • Organizes, prioritizes, and delegates work.

Students networking with employers at the career fair.

Career Management

  • Articulates personal skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences.
  • Identifies areas necessary for professional growth.
  • Takes the steps necessary to pursue opportunities.

Large group from the peer leadership conference.

Global / Intercultural Fluency

  • Values, respects, and learns from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.
  • Demonstrates openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individual differences.

Source: “Career Readiness Defined”; National Association of Colleges and Employers.