Career Readiness

CLA student Jilian Koski stands outside of City Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

CLA student Jilian Koski stands outside of City Hall in downtown Minneapolis.
CLA student Jilian Kolksi stands outside of City Hall in downtown Minneapolis, where she worked as an intern with the Minneapolis Police Department.

Career Readiness - The Liberal Arts Advantage

At the College of Liberal Arts, our goal is that “CLA alumni will be the most desirable graduates available.” To accomplish this, CLA is focusing on career readiness through the acquisition of ten Core Career Competencies. Nine of these competencies represent the very essence of liberal arts education - and the competitive advantage it represents in today’s uncertain and dynamic economy. Career management, the tenth competency, gives you the necessary tools to seek and obtain the career you desire.

Career Readiness means you can articulate how a liberal arts education prepares you for your future career to yourself, and to your family and future employers.  


Core Career Competencies

  • Analytical & Critical Thinking
  • Applied Problem Solving
  • Ethical Reasoning & Decision Making
  • Innovation & Creativity
  • Oral & Written Communication
  • Teamwork & Leadership
  • Engaging Diversity
  • Active Citizenship & Community Engagement
  • Digital Literacy
  • Career Management

An education in the liberal arts is a springboard to lifelong career success” -- Dean John Coleman

We asked employers what they most valued in recently-hired and experienced employees. We also asked alumni what made them successful in their careers. Overwhelmingly, they reported that it was the liberal arts education generally and competencies such as thinking critically, communicating clearly, and solving complex problems, specifically. They also told us that the core competencies are more important than specific undergraduate majors. In other words, these employers are telling us is that a liberal arts degree, with its emphasis on a well-rounded education, is the foundation for a productive career.

The Career Readiness Experience

You can expect to be thinking and talking about your career readiness in the First-Year Experience program and with your academic advisor through graduation. CLA will be highlighting the Core Career Competencies through our communication, student experiences, academic advising, and career services as we roll out elements of CLA’s Career Readiness Initiative.

CLA has several short-and long-term projects in development that will help you plan, experience, and reflect upon how a liberal arts education prepares you for what comes next. Before your first job or graduate school interview, you will be able to reflect, articulate, translate, and evaluate your readiness for the workplace and make the case that you are, in fact, the most desirable candidate available.

Ascan F. Koerner
Faculty Director, Career Readiness Initiative
Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies, Communication Studies
Johnston Hall #106
(612) 301-1606
Judith Anderson
Career Readiness Coordinator
Johnston Hall #106