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  • NACE Ties Behaviors to Career Readiness Competencies

    BETHLEHEM, PA—The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified key behaviors that allow college students preparing to enter the workforce to demonstrate their career readiness to prospective employers.

    “The sample behaviors are a crucial tool because they provide a broad range of ways each of NACE’s eight career readiness competencies can be demonstrated,” explains Shawn VanDerziel, NACE’s executive director.

    “This is important because the competencies align with the attributes employers most want to see in the college graduates they hire for full-time positions and the college students they bring on board for internships.”

    Recent NACE research shows that employers are seeking to hire candidates with an ability to work in a team, and with strong problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills.

    College students can use the sample behaviors—which have been validated through research—to provide evidence of their proficiency in NACE’s Career Readiness Competencies, a set of skills and attributes college students can develop to help launch successful professional careers.

    Furthermore, colleges and employers can use these behaviors to identify and develop career readiness competencies in college students.

    NACE’s Career Readiness Competencies and their definitions are:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Leadership—Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.
    • Professionalism—Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.
    • Teamwork—Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.
    • Technology—Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

    About NACE’s Career Readiness Competencies: NACE launched its Career Readiness Initiative in 2015 to address a fundamental need for new college graduates and the professionals who serve their career development needs and recruit them into the workforce: a shared understanding of what is needed to launch and develop a successful career, a common vocabulary by which to discuss needs and expectations, and a basic set of competencies upon which a successful career is launched. In 2020, a member task force undertook to review and revise the competencies as needed, while NACE and SkillSurvey completed a key phase of its validation effort to identify sample behaviors. More information about NACE’s Career Readiness Competencies—including the sample behaviors—is available on NACEWeb

    To arrange an interview with Shawn VanDerziel, NACE’s executive director, to discuss the NACE Career Readiness Competencies, please contact Kevin Gray at   

    About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.