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Career Readiness Competencies

Based on extensive research with employers, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified eight competencies associated with career readiness. In addition to the specific skills required for your career, these are the basic areas in which employers will expect you to be competent for any job requiring a college degree, regardless of your major or career field. These competencies are used widely by colleges and employers across the nation.

Many of your course assignments at Boise State are intended to help you develop these competencies, but keep in mind that employers ALSO want to see how you’ve successfully demonstrated them in experiences outside the classroom, such as internships, part-time jobs, volunteer experiences, or extracurricular activities.

In your career preparation plan, seek out experiences that will give you opportunities to practice these competencies. Keep track of the outcomes you achieve while doing so, and turn these into action statements for future resumes and stories for future interviews!

For addition information, visit NACE’s Career Readiness Competencies page.

Competencies and Sample Behaviors

Career and 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.

Employers will expect you to:


Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

Employers will expect you to:

  • Understand the importance of and demonstrate verbal, written, and non-verbal/body language abilities.
  • Employ active listening, persuasion, and influencing skills.
  • Frame communication with respect to diversity of learning styles, varied individual communication abilities, and cultural differences.
  • See additional sample behaviors on NACE’s website

Critical Thinking

Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

Employers will expect you to:

  • Make decisions and solve problems using sound, inclusive reasoning and judgment.
  • Gather and analyze information from a diverse set of sources and individuals to fully understand a problem.
  • Proactively anticipate needs and prioritize action steps.
  • See additional sample behaviors on NACE’s website

Equity and Inclusion

Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures.

Employers will expect you to:

  • Solicit and use feedback from multiple cultural perspectives to make inclusive and equity-minded decisions.
  • Demonstrate flexibility by adapting to diverse environments.
  • Keep an open mind to diverse ideas and new ways of thinking.
  • See additional sample behaviors on NACE’s website


Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.

Employers will expect you to:


Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.

Employers will expect you to:

  • Act equitably with integrity and accountability to self, others, and the organization.
  • Maintain a positive personal brand in alignment with organization and personal career values.
  • Have an attention to detail, resulting in few if any errors in your work.
  • See additional sample behaviors on NACE’s website


Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.

Employers will expect you to:

  • Effectively manage conflict, interact with and respect diverse personalities, and meet ambiguity with resilience.
  • Be accountable for individual and team responsibilities and deliverables.
  • Exercise the ability to compromise and be agile.
  • See additional sample behaviors on NACE’s website


Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

Employers will expect you to:

Will you be career-ready? Schedule an appointment with Career Services today to start working on your career preparation plan!