Current Students

Career Readiness

The Center for Career & Professional Development uses Southwestern’s Mosaic approach to intentional development of the whole student. As you shape your professional identity and construct a well-managed professional life, we can help you cultivate and articulate the 21st century career-readiness skills essential for long-term professional success. 

“Career readiness is the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace.”

- The National Association of Colleges and Employers

The National Association of Colleges and Employers, through a task force of college career services and HR/staffing professionals, defined career readiness based on extensive research among employers, and identified eight competencies associated with career readiness:


You can’t hide in the back of an SU class. Class discussions, frequent and lengthy writing assignments, and regular presentations beef up your oral, written, and nonverbal communication as well as listening skills. Showcasing your ability to articulate clear, concise, and compelling ideas is essential in marketing yourself and succeeding in your personal and professional life.


All those group projects you do are great preparation for the world of work’s frequent team assignments. On an athletic or IM team? Part of a student org? These roles develop your abilities to collaborate with diverse individuals and to manage conflict.


“Effective thinking”—it’s at the heart of all our research and inquiry. Whether you’re using specific analytical tools, such as SPSS, or winning a King Creativity Grant, interpreting facts or data and creating original ideas are essential to the complex problem-solving and innovation that 21st-century employers value.


Team settings are also great opportunities to exercise leadership skills. Although you might not step into a leadership role on day 1 on the job, you’ll definitely want to demonstrate empathy, interpersonal skills, and an ability to motivate others to achieve common goals.


You don’t need to be a programmer, but you’ll need to apply technical skills to accomplish many goals. Every job requires some familiarity with today’s digital technology. But don’t stop there; new technologies emerge daily, and you must be able to adapt.


It doesn’t matter how hard you work if you don’t play nice with others. A professional must demonstrate integrity, personal accountability, fairness, respect, and a powerful work ethic, including punctuality, time- and workload-management, and a professional image. You won’t get it right every time, but take responsibility, and learn from your mistakes. Your cover letter is a great place to talk about these qualities.


In a global world, you must be able to work with a diverse array of people. Study abroad, courses exploring difference, and student orgs such as the Coalition for Diversity and Social Justice all cultivate key skills such as inclusiveness and sensitivity toward diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.


Channel your inner entrepreneur and serve as the CEO of “You & Co.” Learn to navigate and explore career opportunities; identify and articulate your relevant strengths, skills, and experiences to market yourself; identify growth needs and pursue professional development; and develop a realistic path but adapt and adjust as necessary.