Are You Career Ready?

Career competencies are the skills employers rate as the necessary foundation for a successful career. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), through a task force of select professionals, identified eight competencies associated with career readiness.

Career Services is here to ensure our students understand the competencies and provide the resources to develop these throughout your education at ACC. Request access to join Career Ready 101, a Blackboard extension with learning modules to help you understand and integrate the core competencies. Career Ready 101 is designed as a supplement to your education and allows you to learn on your own time. Schedule an appointment with a Career & Transfer Specialist for one-on-one career coaching on developing your career plan. Watch the Career Ready 101 video preview and request access below.

Career Ready 101 Access Request

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  • Critical Thinking
      • Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.
      • Ways to improve critical thinking skills
      • Participate in research projects.
      • Practice making step-by-step plans to solve problems.
      • Brainstorm various ways you could solve a problem.
      • Ask yourself, "What's missing here?" when analyzing a situation.
      • Ask questions. Avoid accepting ideas as fact.
      • Practice gathering information that will help you solve problems.
      • Join a debate club or write an opinion piece for your student newspaper.
      • Monitor your emotions during decision-making.
      • Participate in class discussions and debates.
      • Join a club that requires problem-solving.
      • Be inquisitive and take initiative to solve problems. Seek out solutions to problems.
      • Join a club that engages in problem-solving activities such as debate, robotics, chess, entrepreneurial club, etc.
  • Communication
    • Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

      Ways to improve oral/written communications skills:
      • Take a variety of writing classes such as Technical Writing and Creative Writing.
      • Check for understanding by asking clarifying questions.
      • Proofread your papers to avoid errors.
      • Participate in class discussions and debates.
      • Practice your interviewing skills. Complete a mock interview with Career Services.
      • Get your professional job and transfer school documents reviewed with Career Services.
      • Ask for feedback about your writing and public speaking.
      • Develop your elevator pitch which is a professional-sounding introduction about yourself.
      • Take a speech or public speaking class.
      • Record your voice. Eliminate "filler words" such as "um" and "like."
      • Review and clean up your social media accounts--employers will check these.
      • Ask for feedback on your writing and speaking skills.
      • Videotape or watch yourself in a mirror speaking on a topic then watch it to assess your verbal and non-verbal strengths and areas for improvement (Tip - use Big Interview).
      • Attend a networking event.
  • Teamwork
    • Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.

      Ways to improve teamwork/collaboration skills:
      • Work with others on a class project with shared duties.
      • Work with your teammates to develop guidelines of each team member’s responsibilities.
      • Practice being respectful of people’s viewpoints even if you do not agree with them.
      • Work with your team members to develop a detailed plan on how to approach a project.
      • Come to a group decision on how team members will communicate and when.
      • Look for campus involvement opportunities to enhance teamwork skills.
      • Join campus groups or clubs to engage in more team-oriented environments.
      • Join a sports team, student organization, or intramural team.
      • Get involved! Contact Student Life and engage in service-learning.
      • Respectfully and professionally address any issues regarding team members' contributions and workload.
  • Technology
    • Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

      Ways to improve digital technology skills:
      • Try using new technology for a project.
      • Search job postings in your intended field to see what types of technologies are essential and recommended for your future career and focus on developing your skills in those areas.
      • Use online tutorials to expand knowledge of software used in your industry/career area.
      • Help a club/organization build a digital presence.
      • Use an online calendar such as Microsoft or Google to keep up with all appointments, meetings, classes, tests, and due dates.
      • Learn how to use Microsoft Excel effectively.
      • Create a LinkedIn profile and use LinkedIn regularly. Seek out social media responsibilities in a student organization.
      • Take a computer & digital literacy class or Intro to Computer Information systems class.
      • Look for opportunities in internships and jobs that use new technology.
      • Subscribe to trending technology-related Twitter feeds.
      • Put your digital resume on LinkedIn and explore the information LinkedIn sends back to you based on your likes and interests.
      • Practice using technology tools to develop presentations, communicate on-line, and coordinate group projects.
      • Learn about personal branding and how to do so effectively.
      • Research what tools & technologies are important for your specific field of study.
  • Leadership
    • Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.

      Ways to develop your leadership skills
      • Offer to be a team leader for a group assignment or organization.
      • Take on leadership responsibilities in a club, work, internship, or student group.
      • Think about how to maximize people’s strengths when managing a project.
      • Seek a leadership role in a student organization.
      • Take a Leadership class.
      • Explore blogs and webinars on leadership.
      • Run for a campus office or become an officer of a campus club or organization.
      • Understand your preferred leadership style.
      • Seek opportunities to learn from people you see as leaders and use those lessons to hone your own leadership.
      • Assess yourself on a team. Identify ways you can be a better leader by understanding those around you.
  • Professionalism
    • Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.

      Ways to develop your professionalism:
      • Reflect on how you have handled conflict at work or at school. How could you have acted more professionally?
      • Work on being transparent and taking concerns directly to individuals.
      • Avoid engaging in negative interactions in school and in the workplace.
      • Listen and reflect on what other people are saying before you talk.
      • Review your social media presence. Would you want to share your social media image with your employer?
      • Keep a positive attitude and be cordial. In a tough situation or when dealing with negativity stay positive and proactive.
      • Work in a part-time job and observe workplace behavior.
      • Look for/ask for opportunities to contribute at work if you have finished your tasks rather than sitting around waiting for your next assignment.
      • Be punctual for all classes, meetings, and work shifts.
      • Join a professional association to learn industry-specific professionalism.
      • Welcome and use constructive criticism as a growth opportunity.
      • Arrive on time for work or class and communicate when you cannot attend appropriately.
  • 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.

      Ways to develop your career management/self-awareness skills:
      • Make an appointment with Career Services to discuss your assessments and review results.
      • Meet with a Career & Transfer Specialist and your AoS advisor throughout all your college years.
      • Participate in a mock interview - Big Interview. Use a job description to practice connecting your skills to the needs of an employer.
      • Stay aware of trends in the job market.
      • Conduct informational interviews. Job shadow. Seek mentors.
      • Find out what types of jobs exist in a career area that appeals to you.
      • Do volunteer work, internships, or summer jobs in fields that appeal to you.
      • Review your social media through the eyes of a future employer and determine appropriateness.
      • Develop a resume or a functional resume with Career Services.
      • Join a professional association.
      • Get involved in campus professional organizations to further develop and test out career interests.
      • Read professional journals that relate to your chosen career.
  • 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.

      Ways to develop your Global/Intercultural Fluency skills:
      • Talk with people with who you may not necessarily agree and try to understand their perspective.
      • Attend events with people who have different politics, religion, race, or sexual orientation.
      • Volunteer to help people in need.
      • Do Harvard’s Implicit Bias Curve to learn about your biases.
      • Read books or listen to podcasts by authors with different backgrounds and perspectives.
      • Take cultural diversity courses and/or attend campus events.
      • Attend events with people who have different politics, education, religion, ethnicity, race, affectional or sexual orientation.

Career Planning

A career plan lists short- and long-term career goals and the actions you can take to achieve them. You’ve already completed the first part of your planning by starting your degree at ACC! Career plans help you make decisions about your future career and identify the extracurricular activities, research, and internships that will make you a strong job candidate.

Why Career Planning is Necessary

In today's rapidly changing world, new career paths are constantly unfolding, traditional ones are being changed, and shifts are taking place in occupation skills and educational requirements. Career Planning will help you identify early in your education any gaps in skill attainment and help you learn how to articulate these critical skills to employers. Get involved in activities to expand your skills and build your career competencies now. When you graduate, you'll be better prepared to land your dream job.

Career Planning Checklist

  • 0-15 Hours
      • Explore career options at
      • Take self-assessments to determine your strengths and abilities. These tests will give you direction for careers to explore or help you confirm you selected the right major.
        • FOCUS-2 Assessment
        • Career Coach Assessment
      • Start learning about the skills and competencies needed for career success.
      • Connect your assignments to your career.
      • Activate your CareerLink Account and complete your profile
      • Join on-campus student organizations (Check with Student Life for a list of organizations)
      • Attend a career exploration event and participate in other virtual networking activities.    
      • Schedule an appointment with a Career & Transfer Specialist to start your career plan
  • 16-30 Hours
      • If you are considering changing majors or are still undecided about your major, schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor for in-depth assessment and guidance
      • Gather information on salary and regional labor market research through Career Coach
      • Explore the job market to learn about trends that affect your field
      • Consider career-related volunteer opportunities to develop your skills and experience
      • Search job and internship postings through your ACC CareerLink Account and research the skills needed for each position
      • Created a LinkedIn profile and learn how to optimize your career opportunities (LinkedIn for College Students)
      • Develop strong relationships with faculty in your department—they can be critical to your success
      • Attend a job fair or networking event and conduct an informational interview with an employer hiring in your field. 
      • Familiarize yourself with the career services website—a good source of tips and articles to help with your career development and job search
  • 31-45 Hours
      • Review the skills (competencies) employers want and plan for how you will acquire these skills before graduation
      • Join organizations that offer you a chance at leadership roles
      • Attend local association meetings to meet potential employers
      • Use online social networks (follow your favorite employers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, others). You can learn about trends and meet people in your field.
      • Meet with a Career & Transfer Specialist to prepare your resume and find an internship or other experiential learning opportunity in your field of interest
      • Complete your CareerLink profile and upload your resume, update your LinkedIn profile
      • Practice your interview skills with Big Interview
      • Check with your instructors to find out if there is an internship tied to any of your current or next semester courses
  • 45+ Hours
      • Assess your skills development and stay current with the technology used in your field
      • Review and update your LinkedIn profile
      • Google yourself! Check your social media presence and clean up inappropriate or outdated posts
      • Update your resume and have Career Services optimize your resume for your job search
      • Identify strong references from your professors who know your scholarly abilities
      • Identify strong references from supervisors who know your real-world experience and work skills
      • Attend networking events and job fairs to see what types of organizations are hiring and which positions are offered
      • Develop your job search strategy
      • Utilize Big Interview to master your interviewing skills
      • Report job offers and acceptances to Career Services or use the "I Got a Job" reporting feature in CareerLink
      • Enroll in Strategies for Today’s Jobs