Mastering the Career Competencies

The SPH Office of Career Services states, “college students and recent graduates who know how to use their talents, strengths, and interests are Career Ready.”

Great. It sounds simple enough. But how do I know if I am Career Ready?

I am glad you asked! The Office of Career Services has come up with 8 competencies, or skill sets that you should develop during your time in college. Below I list the competencies, provide a brief description (A), and offer examples of where you may acquire those skills (B). I also pose a question to get you thinking about your next move toward being Career Ready (C).

IU students pile onto Dunn Meadow to connect with hundreds of Campus Organizations at the Student Involvement Fair

  • Career Management 
    1. Being able to recognize and articulate skills, and being proactive in pursuing skill building, diverse, and/or professional opportunities.
    2. Shameless plug to the career services! There are monthly events, weekly workshops, and daily mentoring to help with resumes, interviews, and finding internships. Also I encourage you to go to the Activity fair in the Fall to see what clubs and activities IU has to offer!
    3. What does you current co-curricular or work experience look like? Can you highlight the following competencies within those experiences? What new experiences could you accept to help fill the gaps before you graduate?  
  • Professionalism / Work ethic
    1. Being respectful of people’s time, putting your best foot forward, and having integrity.
    2. College classes come with syllabi. These are like gold, but unfortunately they do not exist in the real world. However, practicing time management, paying attention in class, and providing quality work now, can prepare you for the future.
    3. Will a future employer accept the level of effort and quality of work you are submitting for your college classes? A little theater quote to consider, “we perform how we practice.”


  • Oral/Written Communication
    1. Being able to clearly and effectively talk to people, whether through email, formal papers, face-to-face interactions, or in front of crowds.
    2. Emails!!! They should be tailored to the person you are addressing, but should be respectful and formal for professors, potential employers, and anyone in which the message is professional in nature. Speeches may come up in class and a professional face-to-face interaction could be practiced here at the Career Services office.
    3. Will you email a future employer in the same manner you email your professor? Now is the time to practice the skills you intend to use in the future.


  • Critical thinking / Problem solving
    1. Being able to exercise sound reasoning and use knowledge, facts, and data to solve problems.  
    2. Problems are all around us! Does your sports team have a big game with two players being sick? Do you have three papers due on the same day along with a sorority chapter meeting and an appointment with your advisor? Is your toilet overflowing? All valid problems, in need of a solution.
    3. Think of a problem that has come to the surface recently. What did your path to finding a solution look like? How did you feel about the outcome? 

Collaborating with my team, to plan our rebuttal during a student debate at the 2017 American Public Health Association conference


  • Teamwork / Collaboration
    1. Being able to build collaborative relationships with diverse people and respectfully managing conflict.
    2. Group projects, especially when randomly assigned may be the perfect opportunity to learn about and work with people different from yourself. Or consider taking an opportunity that involves interprofessional collaboration, a very popular and important skill within the health field.
    3. What are others in the health field doing? How does their work compliment your field of study?

Attending a leadership conference as a member of my Panhellenic sorority.


  • Leadership  
    1. Being able to guide, motivate, and elevate your team and leveraging the strengths of each member to meet common goals.
    2. This could be informal or formal leadership. If you do not have time to be a member of an executive board in a co-curricular activity, group projects offer a great space to practice these skills. 
    3. Think of a project or event you would like to spearhead one day; it could be for your career or personal pleasure. What strategies will you use to motivate your colleagues or family/friends to ensure it is a success? 


  • Information technology
    1. Being able to ethically and efficiently use technology to meet goals, and being able to adapt to new technological advances.
    2. As Millenials and Generation Zers, this seems like an easy competency to achieve, but proficiency in Microsoft Office and Social Media will no longer set you apart. I am hoping to take a graduate course on computer and web-based instructional design in order to learn how to create online courses as a health educator.
    3. What computer program or data reading skill could supplement your major classes and benefit your future career?

Providing speech therapy to kiddos with disabilities in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on a study abroad experience.

  • Global / Intercultural fluency
    1. Being able to value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures and being culturally sensitive and understanding of individual differences.
    2. Having a study abroad experience is invaluable, but IU also has a diverse student body and plenty of opportunities to meet your colleagues. In January I was fortunate to attend the MLK Jr. Day Unity Summit held in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and learned a lot about diversity.
    3. Look around, who are the people that surround you throughout the day? What do you know about their culture or background and are you comfortable interacting with them? 


In conclusion, there are many competencies needing to be mastered. However, the opportunities to gain those skills are abundant, diverse, and right at the tip of your fingers. So reach out and join a club, audit a class, or attend a multi-cultural workshop because tomorrow you will be one step closer to being Career Ready!

For a more thorough definition of each Career Competency, you may access the Career Competency PDF or you can make an appointment with any one of our amazing Career Coaches through your SPH Career Link. Peer Tutoring is also available if you’d rather speak with a student.

I TRI for Longevity, so one day WE can Change the World. – Mackenzie Jones

By Mackenzie Jones
Mackenzie Jones Student Ambassador