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Career Center for faculty

Denise E. Williams

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The Career Readiness Project

While our students are preparing themselves academically, they should simultaneously be preparing themselves for a life of work and being able to find work. The populations that we serve are not necessarily established in their careers and need all of us to support them in their college to career transitions. Whether in government, nonprofit, or for-profit organizations, the competencies that employers look for are similar.

The Career Readiness Project strives to plan, build, and evaluate programs and processes that weave career education as the common thread throughout the Metro State student journey. A Career Readiness framework provides a way for faculty, advisors, and students to reflect on how coursework can prepare students for the next steps in their professional journeys. The goal is to establish Career Readiness as a university-wide effort that encourages faculty and staff coming together to foster a culture of career development, cross-disciplinary collaborations and a community of practice. Universities are integrating this approach institution-wide by infusing intentional student learning mapped to career competencies into the curriculum and co-curriculum.

We are grateful to our faculty for helping to share these ideas with students in the context of their curricula. The Faculty Workgroup is taking the lead in coordinating this important work, members include:

Miriam Nkemnji-Enohnyaket, CNHS

Eric Fotsch, Urban Ed

Ismail Bile Hassan, COS

Susan Hilal, CCSPA

Andrew Carlson, CLA

Denise Williams, COM

Dean Rassule Hadidi, COM

Bill Baldus, Career Center


What we are trying to do is infuse career development into the curriculum so that it is built into students’ college experience rather than tacked on as an optional component if time permits. A culture of career readiness will be the hallmark of a Metro State education and ongoing career management could be what keep our alumni returning to campus and giving back to their professional community. Drawing on both our Career Competencies and Career Steps (see below), we could weave at least one career component into every course creating a common language and building career readiness directly into students’ academic work.

Cindy Harley

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What Employers Want – Career Competencies

This list of 10 career competencies can be thought of as a skill set that, in theory, students should be able to put on a résumé or talk about in an interview by the time they graduate. The idea is that, as students work toward their degree, they can gain clarity and confidence to be able to describe how specific classes — as well as internships and other college experiences — helped develop a palette of skills, personal qualities, and strengths.

Susan Hilal

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Professional Communication

The ability to articulate thoughts and ideas clearly with people both inside and outside the organization. Strong communicators are proficient in interpersonal conversations, public speaking, and writing effectively. They are also great listeners which we think is at least as important as verbal abilities.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

This interlinked set of competencies involves analyzing issues, making decisions, and overcoming problems. Since there are usually multiple valid points of view, interpretations, and/or solutions; there is room for originality and inventiveness here. People good at thinking critically and solving problems know how to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data to reach a goal or outcome. They then use their communication skills to clearly and concretely explain their contributions to others.

Ethical Decision Making

Often, conforming to a high standard of conduct is not about clear-cut right and wrong decisions. Acting ethically is always the right thing to do, but it’s not always easy to determine and then explain what that “right thing” is. Growing your ability to collect and evaluate information, develop alternatives, and foresee potential consequences will be a career-long progression. Some key skill sets for ethical decision making are: assessing the moral implications of a course of action; generating and sustaining trust; demonstrating respect and responsibility; valuing fairness and caring; and being consistent with the requirements of good citizenship.

Innovation and Creativity

Cultivate the practice of looking at the world differently, generating new ideas, and making connections between things that seem to be unrelated. This competency engages your originality and requires energy to take a leap, try new things, and go beyond conventional approaches.

Leadership and Followership

In organizations, most everybody is both a leader and follower depending upon the circumstances. Leadership is the ability to leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals. A good leader guides and motivates; they often serve to organize, prioritize, and delegate work. Followership is the ability to take direction well; to be part of a team and to deliver on what is expected. Good followers are diligent, motivated, and pay attention to detail.

Teamwork and Collaboration

The cultivation of positive, collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers and an understanding of their perspectives, insights, and diverse viewpoints. This competency requires a person to consider the needs, abilities, and goals of each group member. The individual is able to work easily within a team structure, and can negotiate and manage conflict civilly.

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Cultural Agility, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism

Human beings are a complex species, and no one person will ever have complete mastery of the myriad dimensions of cultural competence. Yet, curiosity about the worth, dignity, and potential of everyone by honoring diversity and promoting social justice is critical to being equipped for the 21st century. Creating an inclusive environment involves not only respecting multiple worldviews, but also challenging individual biases, and participating in what may be difficult dialogues. Working toward anti-racism means grasping the subtle role of race in our personal and professional everyday life. Effective community and institutional change can only happen when those who serve as agents of transformation understand the foundations of race and racism.

Community Engagement

Actively build an awareness of how communities impact individuals, and in turn, how individuals then impact, serve, and shape communities. Professionally, your Community Engagement involves creating or participating in partnerships and coalitions to help serve as catalysts for identifying and addressing issues affecting well-being, and to influence change in policies, programs, and practices for the good of all.

Digital Literacy

The effective use of existing technologies to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. Someone who demonstrates this competency is willing to learn to utilize new tools, adapt, and keep up with emerging technologies.

Continuous Learning and Career Management

Actively engage in an ongoing process of exploring opportunities, gaining experience, and building skills. Being effective at career management will help you know and be ready to articulate how personal strengths and qualities, combined with and shaped by their liberal arts education, lead to career success. A curiosity about the world of work and a willingness to invest in networking connections, will lead to growing confidence and a meaningful, resilient career.

Michael Stein

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Ismail Bile Hassan

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We started with two sources to develop our own set of career competencies – thanks to U of M CLA and the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Career Readiness

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Maureen O'Dougherty and Erica Berte

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Resources to Weave Career Competencies into Your Classes

There is already a great deal of career-related activity happening in classrooms across campus – let’s elevate it. Building capacity in this area is the next phase of the Project.

Faculty Teams Site: we are collecting ideas and practices already underway: Teams site for faculty.

Career competency resource documents

Career Steps: Top 10 Things to do Before Graduation

We developed a no fee, no credit LinkedIn Learning workshop that provides students with a career-focused to-do list of specific, action-oriented steps to point them in the right direction and help them move efficiently down their post-college career paths. Career Steps takes the often-daunting career transition process and breaks it down into manageable pieces.

Faculty, we built Career Steps with you in mind. There you will find learning assessments, assignment ideas, and discussion topics. If you would like to work some or all of the Career Steps into your courses, excellent. We have the same tool in LinkedIn Learning and D2L. If you need D2L help, just contact the Center for Online Learning:

Bill Baldus

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