Next Steps for Career Readiness
Today’s world is complex and continuously changing. The world of work is evolving through technology advances, globalization and workplace diversification.
How we work and engage with each other is significantly different from the past.
To be ready for what awaits you, take the next steps to build the competencies you need to approach a wide variety of challenges and opportunities.
Once you know the eight core competencies, you need to identify where you are at in each area.
A good way to start is by reflecting on your experiences both in and out of the classroom. This will help you identify your strengths, knowledge, skills, abilities and personal attributes as well as reveal where you have room to grow.
Bonus: this sort of mindful reflection can help you be more confident in making and acting on decisions about your future.
Here are ways you can identify your competencies:
- Keep a career journal
- Study the position descriptions of your previous roles (worker, intern, volunteer, committee member)
- Read the learning outcomes for your classes, assignments, co-curricular programs
- Participate in a performance review
- Research requirements for professions
- Take a career assessment
Articulate & Demonstrate
While it’s great to know your level of competency, you also have to tell and show your skills to other people.
Communicate clearly about how you are developing and using your competencies to help your employers, admissions recruiters, and even your family understand how these skills are valuable in the professional world.
It’s best to share specific, detailed examples that show how you transfer your competencies into new experiences and roles.
Here’s how you can articulate and demonstrate your competence:
- Create a resume, portfolio and/or LinkedIn profile
- Network with professionals in your field of interest
- Create a business card that highlights your top competencies
- Interview (practice, practice, practice)
- Introduce yourself –try using an “elevator pitch”
- Pay attention to professional demeanor and visual appearance—including nonverbal behavior and the way you dress
- Intern and volunteer
You identified your competencies, demonstrated those skills and learned how to explain them to others. Now it’s time to really step up your skills.
Knowing when and how to advance your competencies is a critical part of your professional development.
Take the time to critically think about programs and activities where you can develop your skill-set. This will help you make good, informed decisions about the next step in your career path.
These are some ways you can advance your competence:
- Pursue an advanced degree (MS, MBA, MA, PhD, MD, JD)
- Join a professional association or special interest group
- Take continuing education credits
- Become certified in a competence (i.e. WSU L.E.A.D. program)
- Take on a new role or responsibility
- Make a commitment to a year-of-service project
- Travel to a new place