Career readiness is such an important concept in the field of career development, and by applying the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) eight core competencies, you will grow as a future professional and increase your career readiness levels.

An integral competency that engineers will want to acquire is leadership. According to NACE (2021), leadership is the ability to “Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.”

My peer career coaches have served as leaders in several roles. One of my former peer career coaches, who was a computer science major, stated that he was a member of an on-campus student organization in which he held a leadership role. He has led meetings and conducted presentations to teach students new skills and information. Additionally, he was an undergraduate teaching assistant and stated that he gained valuable leadership skills through assisting students with understanding concepts and conducting presentations so that the students are better prepared for upcoming exams.

Another one of my peer career coaches, who was a computer systems engineering major, provided a good example of how leadership can be applied through teamwork. He mentioned that the leader of the team project needs to step up by holding the group together, providing hope, and brainstorming new ideas as the group establishes momentum in their academic project. He was also an undergraduate teaching assistant and was one of the organizers of a hackathon as well. He reported that the hackathon was a success with more than 400 participants.

Now, reflect on what type of leader that you would like to become. Researching different types of leadership styles would be a great start in this process. I believe engineering students are capable and very bright. While you are inventing the future and being innovative in the work that you do, think of the most effective leaders in your life. Ask yourself, “What made them great?” Also ask yourself, “What steps do I need to take to be a great leader in my future organization?”

Remember that we are all a work in progress. As you are thinking about the topic of leadership, I’m now going to ask you to reflect on and internalize one of the greatest quotes from Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Reference Cited: 

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). (2021). Retrieved from https://www.naceweb.org/career-readiness/competencies/career-readiness-defined/

**Former peer career coaches Prashant Mokkapati and Arnav Kasturia assisted with providing examples for the blog.