Are You Career Ready?

Learn what competencies employers are seeking in new hires

As the job outlook for new college graduate continues to improve, it is important to understand what employers are looking for in new hires.  Organizations find that hiring new college graduates is important in building their talent pipeline and offsetting upcoming retirements.  Often, job descriptions outline the specialized skills that are required, but what about the competencies that employers expect you to have when you enter the workforce?  Knowing these competencies and working to improve in these areas allow you to be more competitive and marketable as you prepare for employment.

In collaboration with a task force of college career services and HR/staffing professionals, The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) defined career readiness and identified seven competencies that employers expect new hires to have upon graduation. 

NACE’s definition of career readiness

“Career readiness is the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace.”

View the career readiness checklist based on the competencies below:

  1. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving:
  • I can exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems.
  • I am able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.
  1. Oral/Written Communications:
  • I can articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization.
  • I have public speaking skills and am able to express ideas to others.
  • I can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively. 
  1. Teamwork/Collaboration:
  • I can build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints.
  • I am able to work within a team structure.
  • I can effectively negotiate and manage conflict.
  1. Information Technology Application:
  • I am able to select and use appropriate technology to accomplish a given task.
  • I am able to apply computing skills to solve problems.
  1. Leadership:
  • I can leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others.
  • I am able to assess and manage my emotions and those of others.
  • I use empathetic skills to guide and motivate others.
  • I can organize, prioritize, and delegate work.
  1. Professionalism/Work Ethic:
  • I can demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, such as punctuality, working productively with others, and time workload management.
  • I understand the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image.
  • I can demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior.
  • I act responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind.
  • I am able to learn from my mistakes.
  1. Career Management:
  • I can identify and articulate my skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals.
  • I can identify areas necessary for professional growth.
  • I am able to navigate and explore job options.
  • I understand and can take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities.
  • I understand how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.

Career Services can help you prepare!

Career Services at Montclair State University offers a wide array of resources and programming designed to help you at all stages of your career development.  In collaboration with the Career Services Directors in each college/school, the Center for Career Services provides the tools, training, and exposure to opportunities that empower students and alumni to achieve career readiness and develop lifelong career management skills.

Need help?  Contact your Career Services Director.  Or, you can contact the Center for Career Services at 973-655-5194 or

Learn more about NACE’s definition of career readiness and the key competencies: