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Cornell University

Career Readiness Competencies

What is Career Readiness?

Career readiness is a foundation from which to demonstrate requisite core competencies that broadly prepare the college educated for success in the workplace and lifelong career management.” (NACE)

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), has identified eight key competencies (also known as transferable skills) that prepare students to launch and enter their careers. Students can develop all of them over time through a variety of experiences (community service, internships, student clubs, coursework). Competencies apply to many career fields.

Cornell Career Services is committed to helping students develop and strengthen these competencies. Our Canvas Career Readiness module walks through how to evaluate which are strengths and growth areas, and then how to seek additional experiences to build each skill. 


  • Career & Self-Development
    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 within and without one’s organization.
  • Communication
    Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.
  • Critical Thinking
    Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.
  • Equity & Inclusion
    Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.

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

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

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

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

Source: NACE.