Career Readiness

CLA's Career Core Competencies

The core competencies you develop in a liberal arts education prepare you to thrive in your career and in life, even during uncertain and dynamic times.

CLA's Core Career Competencies

When you are able to demonstrate these core competencies, that gives you a competitive edge in any job market.

  • Analytical & Critical Thinking comprehensively explores issues, ideas, knowledge, evidence and values before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.
  • Applied Problem Solving is the process of designing, evaluating and implementing a workable strategy to achieve a goal. 
  • Ethical Reasoning & Decision Making recognizes ethical issues arising in a variety of settings or social contexts, reflects on the ethical concerns that pertain to the issue, and chooses a course of action based on these reflections.
  • Innovation & Creativity generates new, varied and unique ideas, and making connections between previously unrelated ideas.
  • Digital Literacy leverages knowledge of information and communications technology and media literacies, and utilizes the interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in a digital space. 
  • Engaging Diversity cultivates awareness of one’s own identity and cultural background and that of others through an exploration of domains of diversity, which may include: race, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation, ability, class, gender, age, spirituality, etc. 
  • Active Citizenship & Community Engagement develops a consciousness about one's potential contributions and roles in the many communities one inhabits, in person and online, and takes action accordingly. 
  • Teamwork & Leadership builds and maintains collaborative relationships based on the needs, abilities, and goals of each member of a group. 
  • Oral & Written Communication intentionally engages with an audience to inform, persuade, or entertain.
  • Career Management is the active engagement in the process of exploring possible careers, gaining meaningful experience, and building skills that help one excel after college and lead to employment or other successful post-graduation outcomes.

No matter which major you choose in CLA, your liberal arts courses combine to build all 10 of these Core Career Competencies. This makes you stand out as a candidate for jobs and graduate programs. They'll also give you the intellectual tools to adapt and advance professionally throughout your career.

Developing and Articulating Your Competencies

CLA career coaches and your CLA advisors can help you make a plan to intentionally strengthen your competencies and accelerate their development through a broad range of experiences inside and outside the classroom, such as:

  • Academics
  • Internships
  • Research
  • Volunteering
  • Learning abroad
  • Student groups
  • Leadership
  • Part-time jobs, on or off campus

Although every CLA student develops the 10 competencies, every student does it differently. CLA has created online tools that will help you tell the story of how you did it.

As a result, you'll be able to connect what you’ve experienced across your liberal arts education and translate its value into any professional context. So when life brings a pivotal opportunity, you'll be ready to take advantage of it!