Career Readiness Competencies | University of Portland

Career Readiness Competencies

The Career Education Center recognizes 10 Career Readiness Competencies that demonstrate your ability to successfully transition from college to career. You develop these competencies inside the classroom by engaging in rigorous coursework, participating in group projects, and completing assignments and academic papers. Internships, community engagement, leadership, clubs & organizations, and student employment are also important ways to develop your career readiness. We encourage you to reflect on your experience using RATE to understand where you have developed your career readiness competencies and practice successfully articulating them for employers and graduate schools. 

career competencies wheel visual

Analytical & Critical Thinking comprehensively explores issues, ideas, knowledge, evidence, and values before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion. Those competent in Analytical & Critical Thinking: 

  • Recognize there may be more than one valid point of view. 
  • Evaluate an issue or problem based on multiple perspectives, while accounting for personal biases. 
  • Identify when information is missing or if there is a problem, prior to coming to conclusions and making decisions. 

Applied Problem Solving is the process of designing, evaluating, and implementing a workable strategy to achieve a goal. Those competent in Applied Problem Solving: 

  • Recognize constraints. 
  • Generate a set of alternative courses of action. 
  • Evaluate alternatives using a set of criteria. 
  • Select and implement the most effective solution. 
  • Monitor the actual outcomes of that solution. 

Ethical Reasoning & Decision Making recognizes ethical issues arising in a variety of settings or social contexts, reflects on the ethical concerns that pertain to the issue, and chooses a course of action based on these reflections. Those competent in Ethical Reasoning & Decision Making: 

  • Assess their own personal and moral values and perspectives as well as those of other stakeholders. 
  • Integrate these values and perspectives into an ethical framework for decision making. 
  • Consider intentions and the short- and long-term consequences of actions and the ethical principles that apply in the situation before making decisions. 

Innovation & Creativity generates new, varied, and unique ideas, and makes connections between previously unrelated ideas. Those competent in Innovation & Creativity: 

  • Challenge existing paradigms and propose alternatives without being constrained by established approaches or anticipated responses of others. 
  • Employ their knowledge, skills, abilities, and sense of originality. 
  • Have a willingness to take risks and overcome internal struggle to expose their creative self in order to bring forward new work or ideas. 

Oral & Written Communication intentionally engages with an audience to inform, persuade, or entertain. Those competent in Oral & Written Communication: 

  • Consider relationships with the audience and the social and political context in which one communicates, as well as the needs, goals, and motivations of all involved. 
  • Have proficiency in, knowledge of, and competence with the means of communication (including relevant language and technical skills).
  • Ensure that communication is functional and clear. 

Teamwork & Leadership builds and maintains collaborative relationships based on the needs, abilities, and goals of each member of a group. Those competent in Teamwork & Leadership: 

  • Understand their own roles and responsibilities within a group, and how they may change in differing situations. 
  • Are able to influence others without necessarily holding a formal position of authority, and have the willingness to take action. 
  • Leverage the strengths of the group to achieve a shared vision or objective. 
  • Effectively acknowledge and manage conflict toward solutions. 

Engaging Diversity cultivates awareness of one’s own identity and cultural background and that of others through an exploration of domains of diversity, which may include: race, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation, ability, class, gender, age, spirituality, etc. This requires an understanding of historical and social contexts and a willingness to confront perspectives of dominant cultural narratives and ideologies, locally, nationally, or globally. Those competent in Engaging Diversity: 

  • Understand how culture affects perceptions, attitudes, values, and behaviors. 
  • Recognize how social structures and systems create and perpetuate inequities, resulting in social and economic marginalization and limited opportunities. 
  • Commit to the fundamental principles of freedom of thought and expression, equality, respect for others, diversity, and social justice; and to participate in society as conscious global citizens. 
  • Are able to navigate an increasingly complex and diverse world by appreciating and adopting multiple cultural perspectives or worldviews. 

Active Citizenship & Community Engagement develops a consciousness about one’s potential contributions and roles in the many communities one inhabits, in person and online, and takes action accordingly. Those competent in Active Citizenship & Community Engagement: 

  • Actively engage with the communities in which they are involved. 
  • Build awareness of how communities impact individuals, and how, in turn, an individual impacts, serves, and shapes communities. 
  • Evolve their awareness of culture and power in community dynamics. 

Digital Literacy leverages knowledge of information and communications technology and media literacies, and utilizes the interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in a digital space. Those competent in Digital Literacy: 

  • Assess sources of information. 
  • Use technologies responsibly. 
  • Adapt tools to new purposes. 
  • Keep up with the evolving technology landscape. 

Career Management is the active engagement in the process of exploring possible careers, gaining meaningful experience, and building skills that help one excel after college and lead to employment or other successful postgraduation outcomes. Those competent in Career Management: 

  • Understand their values, interests, identity, personality, skills, strengths, and Core Career Competencies. 
  • Are able to articulate how those characteristics, combined with and shaped by a liberal arts education, lead to career success.