Career Competencies

In the 21st Century, it is more important than ever for individuals to develop soft skills along with their hard skills during their educational journey in order to ensure career success after graduation. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) defines these essential skills in eight specific Career Competencies. These competencies include Communication, Critical Thinking, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Leadership, Professionalism, Self-Awareness, Teamwork, and Technology. These competencies are the skills that employers across all industries are specifically looking for in highly qualified candidates.

critical thinking

Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of the situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

Expected Behaviors:
• Gather and analyze information from a variety of sources to fully understand a problem.
• Accurately summarize and interpret data.
• Make decisions and solve problems using sound reasoning and judgment.
• Proactively anticipate needs and prioritize action steps.
• Effectively communicate actions and rationale to stakeholders.


Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and opinions with persons inside and outside of an organization.

Expected Behaviors
• Effectively use public speaking and presentation skills in front of various-sized audiences.
• Demonstrate verbal/non-verbal abilities, such as oral and written communication skills.
• Ability to use active listening, persuasion, and influencing skills.
• Effectively address and resolve disagreements.
• Promptly inform relevant others when needing guidance with assigned tasks.


Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively with others toward common goals while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibility.

Expected Behaviors
• Allow your strengths, knowledge, and talents to complement those of others.
• Be accountable for individual contributions and team responsibilities.
• Listen to and consider the range of team member ideas and experiences.
• Effectively manage conflict, diverse personalities, and ambiguity with resilience.
• Exercise the ability to compromise, be agile, deal with ambiguity.


Understand and leverage digital technologies ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

Expected Behaviors:
• Navigate change and learn new digital solutions.
• Enhance organizational, professional, and personal efficiencies through the use of technologies.
• Recognize impact of personal/professional brand and engage responsibly across social platforms and technologies.
• Use technology to synthesize information and data to improve performance.


Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve individual and organizational goals.

Expected Behaviors:
• Lead by example.
• Seek out and leverage resources and feedback from others to inform direction.
• Understand and contribute to achieving current and future individual, team, and strategic goals.
• Monitor and manage one’s own work and the work of others.
• Inspire, persuade, and motivate self and others under a shared vision.


Understand and demonstrate effective work habits, learn from mistakes, and act in the interest of the larger community.

Expected Behaviors:
• Act with integrity and accountability to self, others and the organization.
• Be punctual, prepared, and respectful of others’ time.
• Adapt to evolving needs and take initiative.
• Manage time efficiently and effectively.
• Manage personal brand.

Self Awareness

Identify, articulate, and promote one's skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to personal growth and professional success.

Expected Behaviors:
• Identify areas for continual growth and pursue and apply feedback.
• Seek and embrace development opportunities.
• Professionally advocate for one self and others.
• Be mindful of other perspectives as it relates to your journey.

diversity, equity, & inclusion

Understand and appreciate the importance of diverse perspectives and demonstrate consideration for individual, community, and organizational viewpoints.

Expected Behaviors:
• Encourage expression of and celebrate differences.
• Perceive, respect, and engage with differing viewpoints.
• Recognize and address potential personal biases.
• Accept feedback and willing to make necessary change.


Read more about NACE Career Competencies


competency compass

Using the Career Center’s Competency Compass, UNC Charlotte students can explore campus activities and courses that align will the eight different career competencies. By engaging in these campus activities and courses, students can grow in these skill areas, which will prepare them for life after college.

Freshmen and Sophomores:
Competency Compass helps you…

  • explore the unique activities, organizations and classes you can become involved in while attending UNC Charlotte
  • try out some interest areas you may be considering for major/career choices
  • build your resume by allowing you to see what you want to get involved in
  • gain leadership experience!

Juniors and Seniors:
Competency Compass helps you…

  • explore ways to stand out for an employer
  • see examples of ways to include your on-campus experiences on your resume
  • learn about new ways to build experiences on your resume
  • explore potential interview questions you may be asked about your experiences
  • understand what competencies you did learn or can learn within different activities