Auburn Engineering seeks to equip and empower you to discover, develop, and launch your educational and professional goals. As employers recruit Auburn Engineers, and college graduates across the country, they seek a foundation of skills and competencies that demonstrate you are prepared for success in the workplace and as a professional in your field. 

Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to know everything you’ll ever need for your job by the time you graduate! It means there are an identified set of skills and competencies that provide you the foundation to successfully navigate to your first destination after Auburn. You will also be prepared to offer significant contributions to your professional role and continue developing your skillset throughout your professional life.

What are career ready competencies and how do I develop them?

There are eight career ready competencies, identified by a National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) taskforce of employers and university career development professionals. Each of them are defined in the dropdown menu below.

Where and how are you already developing each competency? Think about all aspects of your experience: 

As you prepare for future interviews, identify specific experiences where you have developed these competencies and be prepared to share them with interviewers by using the STAR interview method.

Career Ready Competencies Defined

Proactively develop oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships inside and outside of one’s organization.

Ways to develop this competency

  • Gain knowledge of job search strategies from start to finish (strategies, relevant sites, application, negotiation, etc.).  
  • Write a professional resume, customized cover letter and reference list.  
  • Implement networking strategies to build an intentional network, including active use of sites like LinkedIn.  
  • Develop the skills necessary to successfully interview for jobs or internships.  
  • Identify resources to explore graduate/professional school.

Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with individuals inside and outside of an organization. 

Ways to develop this competency

  • Develop and deliver a presentation for a class.
  • Check for understanding by asking clarifying questions.
  • Proofread online and written communication.

Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situation context and logical analysis of relevant information. 

Ways to develop this competency

  • Develop an action plan with specific steps to solve problems.
  • Brainstorm solutions to a problem before bringing it to a supervisor / professor.
  • Activate your mind - read, do puzzles, write, etc.

Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-oppressive practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism and inequity.

Ways to develop this competency

  • Solicit and use feedback from multiple cultural perspectives to make inclusive and equity-minded decisions. 
  • Seek global cross-cultural interactions / experiences that enhance understanding of people from different demographic groups. 
  • Identify resources and eliminate barriers resulting from individual inequities and biases.
  • Keep an open mind to diverse ideas and new ways of thinking. 
  • Demonstrate flexibility by adapting to diverse environments. 

Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.

Ways to develop this competency

  • Take on a leadership role in a group or organization. 
  • Demonstrate initiative at your on-campus job / internship / co-op by taking on additional responsibilities. 
  • Motivate team members with a positive attitude and leverage their strengths when delegating work.

Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.

Ways to develop this competency

  • Use a planner or calendar to prioritize work / assignments and meet deadlines.
  • Reflect on a recent challenge and identify areas of growth and improvement for the future. 
  • Review your social media through the eyes of a future employer and determine appropriateness. 

Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.

Ways to develop this competency

  • Collaborate with others on a class project.
  • Handle difficult conversations in person with respect.
  • Consider others’ perspectives before making a decision. 

Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

Ways to develop this competency

  • Effectively use Excel or similar spreadsheet application to track data and generate tables and graphs. 
  • Create a strong LinkedIn profile, join groups of career interest, ask for recommendations. Connect with alumni through LinkedIn. 
  • Be comfortable doing Internet searches, using commercial databases, creating and administering surveys. 
  • Become familiar with the most relevant websites for your career field(s). 

Learn more about these competencies at NACE: What is Career Readiness? 

Adapted from NACE Career Readiness Competencies and Rice University Center for Career Development.