Preparing for the Search

What does it mean to be career-ready? Before searching for jobs or graduate school, you will need to get career-ready. This means securing experiences and skills related to your career of choice, and learning how to articulate those experiences and skills to employers.

The Eight Career Competencies

Eight specific career competencies have been consistently identified by employers worldwide to be the most critical skills for recent graduates. These are the skills that employers consider to be most important for new hires. Career-readiness involves the identification, attainment, and demonstration of the eight competencies.  

Informational Interviews

Informational interviewing is the process of meeting with a professional in the field you are interested in to gain valuable information about their career, industry, company/organization, and/or geographic location. It is the opportunity to learn how to prepare to be competitive to enter the field as a professional upon graduation. It is also a great way to connect with employees of a company you are hoping to work for one day. 

Internships, Co-Ops, and Other Types of Experiences

The eight career competencies can also be developed through a wide range of extracurricular, academic, or professional
experiences. Some examples include:

Handshake for Gaining Experience

Handshake is not just for finding your job after graduation. It should be used early on for:

  • Finding part-time jobs, volunteer experiences, and internships or co/ops
  • Registering your internship or co/op
  • Researching companies in the employer database under the Employers tab
  • Requesting informational interviews with company contacts listed on Employer pages
  • Networking with alumni or current students who have had experiences that you are interested in
  • Reviewing job requirements to get an idea of the career competencies and skills you need to work toward
  • Building out your Handshake profile to market yourself to potential employers