In the last decade or so, defining the extent to which graduating students are prepared to enter the workforce has become an important discussion shared by the students themselves, educators, and legislators. Career readiness was quickly coined as a term used to quantify the value of one’s education, but little had been done to break down the components of career readiness and what it means for all involved parties in a clear, concise way. The National Association fo Colleges and Employers (NACE) has responded to the need for clarity surrounding career readiness by developing well-defined core competencies based on research conducted by employers, college career service departments, and human resource and staffing professionals. Here are the key competencies associated with career readiness, and how ePortfolios play a role.
Defining NACE Competencies
The broad definition of career readiness is the attainment and demonstration of competencies that prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace. NACE put together eight areas where students can show they are ready to embark on a career, including:
- Critical thinking and problem-solving: Students can exercise sound reasoning to evaluate issues, make decisions, and overcome problems by utilizing knowledge, facts, and data in the process.
- Written and oral communications: Students can share thoughts and ideas in a way that is clear and effective in both written and oral methods, they have proven public speaking abilities, or they are able to develop complex written reports in an easy to digest way.
- Teamwork and collaboration: Students can create collaborative relationships with customers, colleagues, and supervisors from various cultural, ethnic, religious, and lifestyle backgrounds.
- Digital technology: Students are able to use existing digital technologies efficiently in the course of solving problems, completing assignments, and achieving personal and work goals.
- Leadership: Students can identify and leverage the strengths of others to work toward accomplishing shared goals, and they are able to reflect on their own emotions, strengths, and weaknesses in order to effectively delegate, organize, or prioritize work tasks.
- Work ethic and professionalism: Students can demonstrate personal accountability and strong work habits, including working with others, managing workflows, and being punctual. They must also be able to demonstrate integrity in their work and act responsibly and ethically on the job.
- Career management: Students know and can share their skills, knowledge, and experiences, and use these to identify areas where professional growth is wanted to needed. Students have the ability to navigate career opportunities as well as advocate for themselves in and outside of the workplace.
- Global and intercultural fluency: Students show respect for and ability to learn from a diverse set of cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religious affiliations.
Each of these competencies offers a method to evaluate how prepared a student is to enter the workforce, and how successful they may be in accepting and championing challenges they may face both in and out of a specific job.
The Power of ePortfolios
Having core competencies defined has been a crucial step in the right direction in the higher education arena, but being able to showcase those competencies is even more pressing. That’s where ePortfolios come in.
The use of ePortfolios through a platform like Portfolium gives students a quick and easy way to highlight their abilities in the eight core areas of career readiness. Similarly, educators can clearly see how students are performing in and outside the classroom based on the details they add to their ePortfolio, while legislators have the opportunity to analyze how well a college or university is preparing students for the workforce. Employers can use digital portfolios to search for and connect with potential hires who are highly qualified, based on evidence like work samples, published writing, completed projects, and digital badges. Instead of relying on text-heavy traditional resumes, ePortfolios give all players in the higher education universe a way to evaluate career readiness based on the core competencies defined by NACE.
Photo Courtesy of: Sebastiaan ter Burg