Career Competencies

In the 21st Century, it is essential that individuals learn how to navigate the ever-changing career environment by adopting a new mindset towards skill development (Chang, Feng, & Shyu, 2014). A new area of research revolves around the incorporation of Career Competencies into individuals’ career development process (Akkermans, et. al, 2013). Competencies play a major role in promoting an employee’s overall wellbeing (Akkermans, et. al, 2013; Valickas & Pilkauskaite-Valickiene, 2013), ability to adapt to changing situations, career motivation as well as their sense of purpose in a particular career path (Francis-Smythe, et. al, 2012). While career service professionals actively incorporate career competencies into their regular programming and resources, it is also essential that faculty know how to integrate these competencies into their academic curriculums. 

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) defines career readiness as the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace. The Career Success Story model incorporates these competencies as a foundation to create programming for students, employers, and faculty/staff. Career Competencies include Communication, Critical Thinking, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Leadership, Professionalism, Self-Awareness, Teamwork, and Technology

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.

To enter Competency Compass, go to and enter your NinerNet credentials.


If you have any questions about adding a campus acitivity of academic course to Competency Compass, please contact Dr. Suzanne Voigt, Associate Director of the University Career Center,

career competency institute

The Career Center invites UNC Charlotte faculty and staff to partner on the integration of career competencies into their current campus activities and academic courses in order to support students in their overall skill development. We are not looking for faculty and staff to create new assignments, but rather assist them in making the career competencies found in current activities and curriculum to be more visible to students. 

This institute began in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences by engaging faculty in a process of rethinking the activities and assignments in one of their courses to enhance the visibility and transfer of career competencies; the long term goal is to work towards a “competency-integrated” major. In such a major, students would build competencies in an intentional and scaffolded fashion as they progress through the curriculum, and they would also be encouraged to take advantage of co-curricular opportunities and to build their capacity to showcase these competencies by taking full advantage of Career Center resources. 

The need for this effort is clear. Elevating competencies puts value on the very qualities and capabilities that are developed by academics while simultaneously taking advantage of the fact that employers are focusing less on a students’ major and more on the skills and competencies. Reimagining the major to take advantage of this duality is particularly important for equity.  Low income and first-generation students are less likely to have the social capital that helps them to translate their college education into job-ready talking points and less likely to have access to the connections and resources to get a foot in the door and learn from experience. Graduating, often times with debt, UNC Charlotte students need to be able to move seamlessly from college to career if we want them to become active and thriving members of the active engaged citizenry we are educating. 

The Career Competency Institute's goals are to:

- Showcase what the research is saying about preparedness of graduates after college

- Identify what students, employers, and faculty/staff are saying about competency development

- Provide information regarding where our Career Center and University as a whole is heading towards competency development integration

To learn more about the Career Competency Institute and participate about future trainings, please contact Dr. Patrick Madsen, Director of the University Career Center, at


Akkermans, J., Schaufeli, W. B., Brenninkmeijer, V., & Blonk, R. W. B. (2013) The role of career competencies in the job demands – resources model. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(3), 356-366.

Chang, H. T., Feng, C. Y, & Shyu, C. L. (2014). Individual management and counseling as moderators in achieving career competencies and success. Social Behavior and Personality, 42(5), 869-880.

Francis-Smythe, J., Haase, S., Thomas, E., & Steele, C. (2012). Development and validation of the career competencies indicator (CCI). Journal of Career Assessment, 21(2), 227-248.

Valickas, A. & Pikauskaite-Valickiiene, R. (2014). The role of career competencies on subjective well-being. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116, 2736-2740.