Career readiness is such an important concept in the field of career development, and by applying the National Association of Colleges and Employers, or NCE, eight core competencies, you will grow as a future professional, and increase your career readiness levels. Last week, I illustrated the concept of professionalism/work ethic. This week I am going to illustrate an integral competency that will assist you with professional growth and opportunities: career and self-development.

According to NACE (2021), career and self-development is the ability to “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.”

I believe this competency will take some self-reflection. What I would like for you to do is to take some time to reflect and think before you navigate and explore your job options. Since this competency is about the steps one takes to pursue opportunities and how to advocate for opportunities in the workplace, think about your experiences and extract the things that you like and reflect on your strengths and weaknesses.

One of my peer career coaches mentioned that he does some self-reflection on how to “stand out” to a future employer. For example, he recognizes that he can be prepared to discuss leadership skills to an employer by being involved in the executive board of a professional diversity club. He also has organized club meetings and made the activities interactive so that the members can gain as much information as possible. Another really important example that he learned from a former peer career coach was to make at least one new connection per day on LinkedIn and maintain those conversations through the chat function. I cannot stress how important this is to your professional growth and to being one step closer to that dream internship or job!

Another peer career coach provides examples of the career amd self-development competency. She stated that prior to her interviews she determines what skills she has that will make her “stand out” from the other candidates. Additionally, her sustainability concentration within her major as well as the biomimicry certificate has allowed her to work on various projects that she can expound on in her interviews. This is a great example of tailoring her experience and making it her own by immersing herself in other disciplines. She also states the importance of networking and connections, staying in consistent contact and how important it is to take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities. When she first made a resume appointment at the Fulton Schools Career Center, her peer career coach was a former peer career coach, and they got along right from the start. By the end of that appointment, the peer career coach she saw told her that she should apply to be a peer career coach. If she had not utilized her great networking skills that day, she would not have obtained the peer career coach position when there was an opening.

The idea is to advocate for yourself and be assertive when pursuing those opportunities. You do not want to miss out on future opportunities because you didn’t take the necessary steps to manage your career. If you don’t put yourself out there, you will never know!

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 Coach Brittany Vidic and Current Peer Coach Keene Patarakun assisted with providing examples for the blog.