Connect College to Career

Employers hire individuals, not majors. As you progress throughout your major, it is important to think about how you will demonstrate your competencies and qualifications for a wide variety of jobs to employers. Regardless of your major, the National Association of Colleges and Employers has outlined 8 career competencies that must be developed in order to attain “Career Readiness.” These competencies are:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Oral/Written Communication
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Digital Technology
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism/Work Ethic
  • Career Management
  • Global/Intercultural Fluency

Even as a college student you are developing competencies and your professional character. Do you attend class and submit assignments on time? Can you discuss complex, contentious topics respectfully? Do you offer multiple ideas for solutions to problems? As you reflect on your experiences thus far, both inside and outside of the classroom, consider how your employment experiences can translate to skills and career competencies.

Activity: Translate your experiences into career competencies

Using the attached worksheet below, try translating your experiences into tasks, skills, and accomplishments. These experiences could include employment opportunities, internships, volunteering, and even leadership roles or class projects that you may have had. Once you have done your initial assessment, reflect on what Career Competencies each particular experience helped you develop. This exercise is designed to not only help you articulate your experiences for future employers, but also to allow you to identify areas for growth. Translating Career Competencies Exercise (Printable)

The ability to demonstrate your potential contributions to an organization by translating the skills you possess is key to creating strong resumes and convincing cover letters. Just as you are now transitioning from an undecided student into a major, you will also transition from a college student into the workforce. The understanding you have of yourself and your abilities will help you adapt during these transitions in a purposeful way. How you tell your professional story matters.

Gain Experience to Develop Career Competencies

Your goal is to demonstrate for future employers that you have developed the skills and competencies that they desire. To do so, it is important to strategically combine your major coursework along with experience outside the classroom. Consider pursuing an internship in an area of interest and start familiarizing yourself with job search resources. In addition, informational interviews are an excellent way to learn more about a career or specific company and what skills they are looking for in future employees.


For more resources on connecting majors and careers, check out the Majors and Careers page on the Career Services Center website.