How do you prepare yourself to be successful? What skills are most valuable – for certain industries? among employers? – and how can you develop these? Review the sections below to learn more about universally valued skills in the marketplace, how to obtain them, and how to present your skills to potential employers.
NACE Career Readiness Competencies
The NACE organization (National Association of Colleges and Employers) maintains a list of top skills or “Career Readiness Competencies” based on the feedback of corporate university relations/recruiters and colleges. This list represents a core set of skills that are universally valued in today’s workplace. Focusing your skill development in these areas will ensure that you can be competitive in your chosen field, above and beyond your industry-specific or technical skills.
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.
Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.
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.
Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.
Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.
Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.
Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. 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.
For additional details on specific behaviors and habits that support these competencies, open the slideshow below.
What is a transferable skill?
Transferable skills are skills that are relevant no matter what position or career field you pursue.
Transferable skills can easily transfer from one job to another and across career fields. Some common transferable skills are time management, teamwork, problem-solving, communication skills, leadership, and research skills. (The previous section addresses a core set of these transferrable skills, in the form of the NACE Career Readiness Competencies.)
These can be developed in many settings. College students acquire technical skills related to their major, they work in teams on class projects developing teamwork skills, and they develop their leadership skills by leading student organizations. While working as an intern, students begin to build their professional skills as they help employers solve problems, meet customer needs, complete projects and meet deadlines.
Before your next job search, learn how to identify and develop your transferable skills.
- Make a list. Conduct an online search for examples of transferable skills and determine how many of them apply to you. Then, make your own list and include these skills in your resume.
- Review common interview questions. You can find many online resources of sample interview questions and examples of what prospective employers are looking for in the ideal candidate. Practice answering interview questions and reflect on the transferable skills you have to offer an employer.
- Build your transferable skills. Once you have identified your transferable skill set, develop these skills by asking for more responsibility, seeking more feedback, or looking for volunteer work or a student organization where you can make a contribution. You can develop new skills by adding a focused class or a minor to your education plans.
Build Your Skills
There are many ways to build your skills outside of a traditional job or internship, which necessitates the sometimes-elusive combination of opportunity and luck, which you cannot control. Take advantage of the options that ARE within your control to build skills across multiple disciplines at any time.
Participate in Extracurricular Activities
- Volunteer opportunities on campus
- ENGAGE @ GT
- Find a research opportunity with a professor
- Join a new club and participate in activities
- Start a club or an entrepreneurial business venture
- Manage a website or social media
- Get involved with Serve Learn Sustain, take advantage of professional development resources
In Your Community:
- Volunteer with a local non-profit
- Participate in an open-source coding project
- Work with a grassroots social justice or political campaign
Pursue Independent Activities
- Free classes and videos via YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, MOOCs offered by GT or sites like Coursera
- Join professional organizations and engage in professional groups on LinkedIn
- Apply for a fellowship or evaluate whether grad school is a potential path
- Learn a new language via Duolingo or Babbel
- Conduct informational interviews
- Build a portfolio or create a website
- Participate in a virtual work experience with Forage
- Prepare for technical and case interviews by working with a club or prep course to complete practice scenarios
- Review industry guides with Firsthand (formerly Vault)
- Review company websites for training materials or self-paced programs they offer
Communicate Your Skills to Employers
Now that you know what skills may be valued by your future employer(s), how can you communicate them effectively to an employer in your resume? We focus more broadly on resume guidance on our Resume page, but will focus on how to pull out transferrable skills from a job that may seem, on the surface, not to have relevance for your future career.
See resume examples below:
Server, Rest-Au-Rant, Charlotte, NC May 2021 – August 2022
- Prepared food, worked drive-thru line, ensured restaurant was clean, and cooperated with team members
- Conducted closing check, making sure all tasks were completed at the end of the night
FOCUS ON TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS:
Server, Rest-Au-Rant, Charlotte, NC May 2021 – August 2022
- Collaborated with team of 15+ staff to provide high-quality service to over 300 customers per shift
- Executed efficient operation of drive-thru lanes and ordering systems, leading to reduced wait times for customers
- Managed restaurant closing, verifying financial data and ensuring implementation of multi-step process to prepare restaurant for operation the next business day
In the updated version, it’s easier to see how the skills used in this job could be applied to a future (unrelated) role.
Teamwork, Professionalism, Communication, Technology, Leadership, Attention to Detail
Strategy for Career Readiness
You don’t have to do it alone. As a Georgia Tech student or alumni, you have access to tools, resources, and a dedicated team to help make your career goals a reality. Our Career Center helps you seek out potential employers based on your skills and interests, assists in refining your interview skills and enhancing your résumé, and educates you on how to successfully navigate professional environments.
Taking advantage of our exclusive career fairs, online job boards, workshops, and services, Tech students are well-positioned and well-prepared to achieve their career goals. Career Center staff are available for individual meetings daily and will work with you to develop a personalized job search based on your strengths and interests.
Don’t wait until graduation to unleash your potential! You can start today by following the Career Center’s Strategy for Career Readiness to get Jacket Job Ready! Throughout each phase of your undergraduate education, the Georgia Tech Career Center is here to assist you in taking steps to identify your strengths, explore your opportunities, and help you achieve your career goals.
The start of your career journey begins with exploration. As a student, you have the freedom and flexibility to discover and learn many new things. Most students achieve career success because they interact with the Georgia Tech Career Center early and often. becoming familiar with your resources and exploring your options is a great first step! If you are undecided, here is an opportunity to learn about which majors and minors might be a good fit by speaking to a Career Center staff member.
Prepare for your professional life by updating your social media accounts to present your best self-image to potential employers. The Georgia Tech Career Center can assist you in beginning to explore networking by creating a LinkedIn profile that highlights your experience and strengths.
- Register with CareerBuzz, Georgia Tech’s online job board.
- Take self-assessment tools such as TypeFocus and learn to use your interests, skills, and abilities when choosing a career.
- Schedule an appointment via CareerBuzz, meet with a staff member to review your career assessment, and begin to develop your resume.
- Meet with your faculty advisor to discuss your academic plan and your major. Bring your career assessment results to this meeting to add value to the courses you select.
- Meet with Career Center staff to learn about networking, opportunities to network, and create your LinkedIn profile
- Participate in virtual or in-person Career Events on campus including Career Fairs.
- Pursue a summer or part-time job, preferably within your field of interest.
- Check and read emails from the Georgia Tech Career Center and follow us us on LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up-to-date!
Build upon your exploration, by learning about ways to further understand your areas of interest – take advantage of experiential learning opportunities such as internships, a study abroad trip, or undergraduate research opportunities. With more than 100 student organizations to choose from, you can also explore and gain invaluable leadership skills which will enhance your résumé while allowing you to grow your network on campus.
- Focus on attaining a strong GPA (ideally 3.0+). Study hard!
- Consider the NACE Competencies; the areas you are strong in as well as the areas you would like to improve.
- Update your resume and your profile LinkedIn.
- Continue to build your network by attending our Career Events, including Career Fairs and Employer Information Sessions.
- Attend Career Center workshops to learn best practices for all aspects of the job search and take advantage of existing Career Center resources to build your job-search and interviewing skills.
- Connect with alumni using the Georgia Tech LinkedIn Alumni tool to gain insights about career options relevant to your major.
- Meet with a Career Center staff member to review your resume and cover letter before applying to positions and get tailored insight into how to conduct an internship/co-op job search.
- Explore experiential learning opportunities such as:
- Co-op, Internship, and Global Internship opportunities on the Georgia Tech Career Center homepage
- Undergraduate Research Opportunities with the Office of Undergraduate Education
- Study Abroad options through the Office of International Education: Education Abroad
- Get involved in a Club or Organization related to your professional area(s) of interest or personal interest(s).
- Remember: Be intentional about your time management and level of involvement within student and professional organizations– You are a student first! If you are having trouble with this, please schedule an appointment with a Career Center staff member to get tips on staying organized and making efficient use of your time.
As you begin to narrow down your career goals, it’s time to get experience in the “real world.” Complete an internship or research experience to learn what it’s like working in your field of interest. Career Center staff and academic advisors within your major can help identify ways to further experience your target profession outside of the classroom.
- Visit the Career Center website to keep up-to-date with programs and career-related events.
- Search career opportunities through CareerBuzz, corporate websites, and other job board sites. (LINK)
- Attend virtual or in-person Career Events to network with recruiters, learn about company culture, and learn about potential employment opportunities.
- Set up appointments to refine your documents (resume and cover letter) and/or participate in employer-staffed Resume Reviews or Mock Interview programs at the start of each semester.
- Attend Fall and Spring Career Fairs.
- Use Big Interview or schedule Mock Interviews with a Career Advisor/Educator to practice interview skills and get feedback to improve before you meet with employers.
- If you are planning to attend graduate school, sign up for standardized practice tests (GRE, GMAT, etc.); meet with faculty regarding letters of recommendation and graduate school applications. Meet with PGPP to make sure you are on track. Be aware of all graduate school application deadlines.
- Continue to develop your network of professional contacts by joining a professional association connected with your career interests. Request a mentor!
- Google yourself to monitor and polish your online presence.
Jacket Job Ready Challenge
Participate in the Jacket Job Ready Challenge, to take advantage of existing resources to learn job readiness skills and gain insight into what it takes to secure the internship, co-op, and full-time job opportunities you want. Visit the Jacket Job Ready Challenge page to learn about the 3 levels of the challenge, offering benefits up to and including early access to the All-Majors Career Fair.