Are You Career Ready?

As an Arts and Sciences major the depth and breadth of your coursework, along with the experiential learning activities you engage in, allow you to develop a set of core skills that will be advantageous moving forward. Read below for more information on how the Career Readiness Competencies are your key to success!

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) broadly defines career readiness as the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace.   

To be “career ready” you need to develop the professional competencies listed below. These competencies are developed through a tiered process that involves exposure, engagement, and mastery. As you move through your time at Ohio State we challenge you to increase your awareness of these career readiness skills and determine ways to add to your tool kit!

Oral and Written Communications

A student who excels in this competency is able to articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. A student engaged with this competency has individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.

Employers, when recruiting through our Center, repeatedly mention communication skills as one they value highly.  As an Arts and Sciences student you are exposed to a variety of ways to improve upon this skill through your coursework.  

Specific ways to develop this competency:

  • Take a course on public speaking, business writing, or any other course focused on communication skills.
  • Consider blogging or creating a podcast addressing a topic you are passionate about.
  • Join a student organization and volunteer to create and edit reports for the group.
  • Sign up for a mock interview to practice talking about yourself using self-promotion tactics.
  • Take at least two writing intensive courses and work with the Writing Center staff to address writing issues noted by the instructors.
  • Join Toastmasters, a group devoted to increasing the public speaking skills of its membership.
  • Apply to work as a tour guide for Undergraduate Admissions.

Teamwork and Collaboration

A student who excels in this competency is able to build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints. The student is also able to work within a team structure, and can negotiate and manage conflict.

In addition to the ideas listed below, think of other ways you’re part of a team.  Do you have a part-time job that involves teamwork?  Have you played sports in your past?  There are a variety of ways a student can succeed at being a team player.  

Specific ways to develop this competency:  

  • Collaborate with others on a class project that requires shared responsibility. Talk through any differences of opinion.
  • Create your own team by forming a study group with peers.
  • Handle difficult conversations in person, showing respect for other(s).
  • Seek out team-based volunteer opportunities like Habitat for Humanity. A good starting point to find such opportunities is Buck-I-SERV (
  • Join a student organization that utilizes committees; volunteer to serve on one of the committees.
  • Any student group/team/organization can do one of the teambuilding programs offered by Ohio State’s Outdoor Adventure Center. Consider signing your group up:!


A student with strong leadership skills can leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. This student is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.

Remember that leadership can be demonstrated in many ways, both through formal roles and informal roles.  Think of ways outside the classroom that you’re a leader.  At your workplace?  In your community?   
Specific ways to develop this competency:

  • Take on a leadership role in a student organization. Request feedback from the members on your leadership skills.
  • Observe the leadership styles of supervisors at your place of employment.
  • Consider volunteering to serve on a student advisory council.
  • Enroll in an undergraduate leadership course ( 

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Students with critical thinking and problem-solving skills can exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. These students are able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.

Within the classroom, and outside of it, Arts and Sciences students engage in a variety of problem-solving activities.  Whether it’s via a research project finding solutions for your employer, students can add to this scale across the spectrum.

Specific ways to develop this competency:

  • Develop an action plan with specific steps to solve a problem.
  • Offer to assist a work site supervisor with brainstorming solutions to a problem.
  • Be a volunteer tutor, assisting peers or K-12 students in the community with various academic subjects.
  • Consider helping a faculty member with a research project. Learn about projects via OSU’s Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry ( Involved.aspx).
  • Join a student organization that is focused on addressing a problem that you feel passionate about.
  • Track the information published by Ohio State’s Discovery Themes programs (

Professionalism and Productivity

A student possessing professionalism can demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time/workload management. These students can demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior, act responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and are able to learn from his/her mistakes.

Being a “professional” is far more than simply being a model employee at work. Professionalism can be observed in all facets of your educational career and also outside the walls of Ohio State.  Being professional allows you to make positive impressions on those you interact with which, in turn, will lead to success in the future.

Specific ways to develop this competency:

  • Review tutorials on writing with a professional tone, and then practice professionalism in your emails to faculty.
  • Use a calendar to prioritize work/assignments and meet deadlines.
  • Evaluate your social media through the eyes of an employer and determine appropriateness.
  • If you have the opportunity to attend a dining etiquette event, consider yourself lucky!
  • Ask a supervisor or mentor to provide you with feedback on how you could be more professional and/or productive.

Digital Technology

We live in a digital world, and students who excel in this competency can leverage existing digital technologies ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. These students demonstrate effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies.

Many employers, especially those recruiting Communication, English or Journalism majors, look for students with a firm understanding of the technology available to them.  These employers are also looking for students who have the ability to learn new technologies as they are developed.

Specific ways to develop this competency:

  • Engage with the resources available through the Digital Union ( How can you use their resources to complete course projects? If you’re a leader of a student organization, consider setting up a video conferencing meeting for your members-especially if a large percentage of your organization lives off campus.
  • Maintain social media pages for a student organization or small business owner.
  • Create and write a blog while studying abroad, doing ongoing volunteer work, etc.

Global/Intercultural Fluency

A student who has a global perspective values, respects, and learns from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. This student can demonstrate openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individual differences.

A benefit of being a student at Ohio State is the sheer volume of diversity on our great campus. Take advantage of what this University has to offer. Get out. Meet new people. Learn from others.  

Specific ways to develop this competency:

Career Management

Students invested in the career management competency have the ability to think about the other competencies and how they interact with one another to form the complete puzzle of growth, experiences and opportunities.

Thinking about career management is actively engaging in the process – exploring careers, understanding your own personality and interests, building your resume through experiential learning and articulating those experiences, and meeting with industry professionals and alumni that can help to guide your discovery and search.

Specific ways to develop this competency:

  • Actively engage with programming, events, and courses offered by the Center for Career and Professional Success
  • Participate in experiential learning opportunities like internships, externships, research, study abroad, and part-time/full-time jobs
  • Search Handshake, Ohio State’s internship and job portal

Active Citizenship and Community Engagement

Students who succeed within this competency do their best to embrace differences and share common goals that ensure our society will move forward together.  These students are conscious about their contributions and roles in the community, become aware of the cultures around them, and take a stand for change.

Specific ways to develop this competency: