Career Readiness/Competencies

Career Readiness / Competencies

You may know them as soft skills, power skills, 21st-century skills, career competencies, or by some other name. The National Association of Colleges and Employers has defined a set of career competencies that broadly prepare new college graduates for early career success and lifelong career management. The career competencies identified by NACE can be demonstrated by students in a variety of ways because of the rich curricular and co-curricular offerings at Rice. The eight career competencies are Career & Self Development; Communication; Critical Thinking; Equity & Inclusion; Leadership; Professionalism; Teamwork; and Technology. While NACE has an array of support materials on its website, the Center for Career Development has developed a suite of materials to use with Rice students. These materials can be included in your syllabus, student worker job descriptions, internship, research, and experiential education programs.

Please read below for more information or contact to set up a consultation.

Internships, Research, Experiential Education, and Student Workers' Evaluations

The CCD makes available for all Rice students and campus partners an evaluation tool called Skill Survey. Skill Survey provides students with feedback following work and experiential learning opportunities so they can gain insight into how proficient they are in the skills necessary to be successful in early career and graduate school paths. For more information about using Skill Survey for your program, please contact Dr. Raylea Rideau at If you would like to preview how to make the most of the Skill Survey report, please view this link. You might also consider incorporating a reflection component to the application for your position or program. You can see an example of a reflection built into a program application at this link.

Syllabus Inclusion

As a faculty member at Rice University, you are already incorporating career competencies within your curriculum. However, students do not always make the connection between their academic experiences and the language that employers use as they look for their high-potential hires. The CCD encourages you to consider adding this career competencies insert to your syllabus to explicitly identify for students which career competencies they will develop through your coursework. Furthermore, if you would like to engage students with an exercise to reflect on their career competencies, consider including this worksheet. You can also view these ideas in the syllabus for UNIV 295, Careers through an Internship, at this link.

Example of Syllabus Language:
Career Competencies: As you consider how you will bridge your academic experiences to your next destination after Rice, the expectations in this course provide opportunities to demonstrate the following competencies sought for meaningful early career opportunities and top graduate programs:
Career & self-development: proactively develop oneself and one's career through continued personal and professional learning
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

Student Worker Job Description

Student workers at Rice benefit from rich experiences that allow them to develop their career competencies. The CCD encourages campus partners that hire student workers to consider identifying the career competencies in their job descriptions. Please see this sample job description for ideas. This can be amplified by using Skill Survey, described above, for the valuation of your student workers.