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Get Career Ready

Aims student sitting at a desk across from career coach Ty Thompson with a paper packet on the desk between themDeveloping these eight Career Ready Competencies will set you up for success in your career no matter what industry or field you pursue. These skills, experiences and attributes prepare you to transition from college into your work, whether it’s a full-time position, an internship, a fellowship, an entrepreneurial venture or continuing your education beyond Aims. For the rest of your life, this foundation will help you succeed in every job you hold.

You can use the Career Ready Tracking Tool to help you:

  1. Understand the skills you’re expected to develop
  2. Assess your level of competency in each of the skills
  3. Communicate the skills clearly in an applied context

Download the Career Ready Tracking Tool to your computer or save a copy to your Google Drive and use it to review, assess, and track your growth in each of the eight competencies. Visit the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) website to learn more about career readiness competencies and how they can help you succeed in your career and life.

Career and Self-Development

You can enhance your career and self-development through continual personal and professional learning, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, navigating career opportunities and networking to build relationships.

Reflect on the below questions:

  1. Can I identify areas for growth?
  2. Do I regularly ask for feedback? 
  3. Do I use feedback to improve?
  4. Can I confidently answer an interview question asking me to describe my strengths and weaknesses?
  5. Can I explain how my interests, skills, and gifts connect to my short- and long-term career goals?
  6. Do I have a mentor(s)?
  7. Do I regularly reflect on situations where I’ve made mistakes? 
  8. Can I articulate what I learned and how I will make changes in the future?
  9. Do I step out of my comfort zone and seek out opportunities to learn and develop?

Develop this competency further through these experiences at Aims:

  1. Make an appointment with your career coach
  2. Apply for on-campus positions via Handshake (Aims Online Student Job Board). 
  3. Complete a career and personality assessment:
    1. Strong Interest Inventory™
    2. My Next Move
    3. O*NET Interest Profiler
  4. Join a student club or organization.

Additional Resources:

Learn about best practices for Self and Career Management from seasoned professionals who have successfully navigated their own careers and are here to help you navigate yours.

There are lots of ways you can communicate your ability to self-develop to employers through your resume, cover letters, interviewing, etc. Here are a few examples:

  1. During a job interview: One area of growth is ___________, and I am currently doing _______________, _______________, and _______________ to develop those skills.
  2. During a conversation with a supervisor, peer, or mentor: I would like to develop ______________ skill, can you help me? Are there any other areas you would recommend I spend time developing?
  3. During a meeting with your supervisor: I would like to develop ____________ skill, are there opportunities available for me to work towards this goal?

Use the Career-Ready Tracking Tool to keep track of your efforts and progress. You will need to download the Google sheet to your desktop or your Google Drive. 


You need to have the ability to successfully build and maintain collaborative relationships, work effectively together as a team toward common goals and appreciate diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities. 

Reflect on these questions:

  1. Am I a good listener to others on my team? 
  2. Am I comfortable sharing my thoughts in a team setting? 
  3. Do I let others share their point of view and seek to understand them?
  4. Do I fulfill my responsibilities when working on a team?
  5. Do I willingly help other members with their work even if it creates more work for me? 
  6. Do I make sure my work is done on time? 

You can develop this competency further through these experiences at Aims: 

  1. Participate in Intramural Sports through the Physical Education and Recreation Center (PERC) 
  2. Join Campus Activities Programming Board (CAP) or Student Government Association (SGA) 
  3. Join a student club or organization 
  4. Apply for an on-campus job where you work in a team setting 
  5. Actively participate in group projects in class

Additional Resources:

Discover the proven qualities that contribute to results-driven Teamwork.  

There are lots of ways you can communicate your ability to work on a team and collaborate with others through your resume, cover letters, interviewing, etc. 
Consider where and when you have utilized or developed these teamwork skills:

  • Built alliances and teamwork
  • Managed conflict
  • Formed good rapport
  • Listened well
  • Provided services
  • Shown respect
  • Collaborated
  • Encouraged others
  • Handled problems/complaints
  • Mediated
  • Related well to others
  • Showed service-orientation
  • Communicated well
  • Facilitated group process
  • Helped others
  • Provided instruction/input
  • Demonstrated reliability 
  • Demonstrated sympathy 
  • Reflect and make note of the following: 
  • Awards or recognition you've received

Specific examples of actions you have taken as a team member and the successful outcome

  1. List your teamwork qualities (ex. active listening, honesty, responsible)
  2. How you've helped a team grow and progress through constructive contributions
  3. How you helped a team that wasn't accomplishing their goals get back on track
  4. How you supported other employees in accomplishing their tasks in addition to your own  

Use the Career-Ready Tracking Tool to keep track of your efforts and progress. You will need to download the Google sheet to your desktop or your Google Drive. 


To demonstrate strong leadership skills you need to have the ability to recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.

Reflect on the below questions:

  1. Do I want to be a leader?
  2. Can I empathize with different types of people?
  3. Can I change how I communicate depending on the situation?
  4. Can I think critically and offer constructive criticism?
  5. Can I cope with stress or utilize my resources so I can work well even when facing stressful situations?
  6. Am I flexible when it comes to different tasks?
  7. Can I work with my fears and anxieties in a way that allows me to respond effectively in a variety of situations?

Develop this competency further through these experiences at Aims: 

  1. Apply for an internship on Handshake.  
  2. Apply for an officer position in a student club or organization
  3. Apply for student employment positions in Enrollment Management,  Pathway Advising,  Student Life, Transitions Center, Physical Education and Recreation Center (PERC), and Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) on Handshake.
  4. Volunteer at the Weld Food Bank or check out other opportunities through Weld County United Way. Seek out other volunteer opportunities off-campus or at Aims. 
  5. Take the lead on a group project.

Additional video resource:

Learn more about the qualities of a strong leader.  

There are lots of ways you can communicate your leadership skills to employers through your resume, cover letters, interviewing, etc. Consider where and when you have utilized or developed these leadership skills:

  • Accepted responsibility
  • Built teams
  • Demonstrated integrity and values
  • Managed meetings
  • Monitored progress
  • Set work/committee goals
  • Adapted to new situations
  • Created learning opportunities
  • Identified direction
  • Managed organization
  • Motivated
  • Advised
  • Delegated
  • Identified problems and offered solutions
  • Managed self
  • Set priorities
  • Worked well independently
  • Provided and received positive and constructive feedback

Craft results-oriented statements similar to the ones below to demonstrate your leadership skills:

  1. Organized and executed X event, an X performance written and performed by members of X organization. Participating included  X amount of people over X nights. This was an X% increase over the previous year’s event.
  2. Founded X student organization which held regular weekly meetings facilitating discussion and planning activities between club members to develop X event.
  3. As a student officer of X organization, I led X members responsible for the planning and execution of over X campus events while managing a budget of X dollars. 

Consider the following to help you craft your statements:

  1. Share how you delegated responsibility for a large project
  2. Provide examples of how you motivated your team to keep moving forward, even if there were obstacles to overcome
  3. Address how you managed conflict  within your team
  4. Explain the importance of good communication as a leader and how you listened to your team members 
  5. Demonstrate your problem-solving skills as a leader and how you utilized them to come to solutions within your team 

Use the Career-Ready Tracking Tool to keep track of your efforts and progress. You will need to download the Google sheet to your desktop or your Google Drive. 


You need to be able to understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

Reflect on the below questions:

  1. Can I follow along in class with the technology I’m using?
  2. Do others in my class seem to have more knowledge than me?
  3. Are others in my classes able to get work done more quickly and efficiently using technology?
  4. Do I think about how I can do this more efficiently with a technology tool or do I just work on projects as I always have?
  5. Do I want to put in the time to learn and become more skilled with technology?
  6. What technology should I know to help me succeed in my career path? 

Here are ways you can develop your technology competency while enrolled at Aims:

  1. Take CIS 1018, Introduction to PC Applications, a technology-based course at Aims. 
  2. Visit the Learning Commons for computer/technology assistance. 
  3. Join or create a technology-focused student club and organization
  4. Apply for an on-campus job in Information Technology (IT) or other departments that use technology on Handshake
  5. Take a Continuing Education class at Aims.

Additional video resource:

Technology continues to evolve, and so too must job candidates and employees. Keeping up with current trends and improving your tech skills will undoubtedly set you up for career success. 

There are many opportunities to communicate your experience with digital technology to employers through your resume, cover letters, interviewing, etc. Consider the following digital technology skills you may have used:

  • Code
  • System networking
  • Used databases and/or spreadsheets
  • Adapted to new and emerging technologies
  • Visualized and communicated data
  • Utilized specific software programs
  • Data management platforms
  • Word processing
  • Web design
  • Graphic design
  • PowerPoint or other presentation software

Below are some sample statements to build on:

  1. Provided networking/desktop support and performed mainframe and account maintenance tasks.
  2. Earned praise for teamwork and flexibility in providing IT support to students and faculty.
  3. Exceeded issue-resolutions targets and received X %  positive customer feedback.
  4. Handled database and website programming tasks (Java, C, C++, HTML and SharePoint), working an average of "X" hours per week while maintaining an "X" GPA. 

Use the Career-Ready Tracking Tool to keep track of your efforts and progress. You will need to download the Google sheet to your desktop or your Google Drive. 


You need to know that work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.

Reflect on the below questions:

  1. Am I aware of my personal branding, that is, the process of defining what you stand for as an individual and how you project that to the wider world? 
  2. Do I understand business etiquette?
  3. Am I aware of professional dress requirements?
  4. Do I have a polished resume?
  5. Do I know how to write professional job search correspondences?
  6. Do I have quality professional references?
  7. Is my social media presence (e.g., LinkedIn, Handshake) professional or do I need to reassess my online presence?
  8. Am I prepared for the transition from college to the workplace? 
  9. Do I understand how to navigate workplace politics?
  10. Do I have a  professional mentor(s)?

Here are ways you can develop your professionalism while enrolled at Aims:

  1. Use a planner or calendar to prioritize work/assignments and meet deadlines in your courses.
  2. Reflect on a recent challenge related to professionalism and identify areas of growth and improvement for the future. Review with a family member, your mentor, or a professor.
  3. Review your social media through the eyes of a future employer and determine appropriateness. Have it reviewed at Career Services .
  4. Demonstrate personal accountability and integrity.
  5. Ask for feedback from your supervisor, an instructor, or a peer on your day-to-day written correspondence (text and email).
  6. Observe those in the career you wish to go into at a level or two above you during an internship or with other young professionals you meet.
  7. Contribute positively to your classes, student organizations, clubs, and work.
  8. Take responsibility for and learn from your mistakes.
  9. Keep your personal life private in your work environment.
  10. Find a volunteer position where your skills and expertise are utilized. Volunteering is a great opportunity to develop professionalism and there are opportunities right here at Aims. 
  11. Ask one question in every class and/or at every meeting you attend.

Additional video resource:

Learn more about professionalism. Regularly demonstrating professional behaviors, while still honoring your authentic self, will catch the eye of management at any organization. 

There are many opportunities to show professionalism through your resume, cover letters, interviewing, networking, etc. Consider when and where you’ve developed or practiced these behaviors of professionalism:

  • Accepted responsibility for behaviors and actions
  • Showed commitment to personal and organizational values
  • Showed follow through
  • Exhibited integrity
  • Practiced self-care to manage personal and professional stress
  • Managed time well
  • Exhibited punctuality
  • Reacted appropriately and showed emotional intelligence
  • Ensured quality in a project or task completion
  • Demonstrated honesty
  • Planned effectively
  • Maintained confidentiality
  • Ensured written communication was free of grammatical errors, slang, and lack of punctuation
  • Set goals and met them

Below are other ways you can demonstrate how you’ve developed professionalism throughout the job search process: 

  1. Resume: Include any certifications you have and any clubs and organizations you belong to. 
  2. Cover Letter: Demonstrate how you have grown professionally through continuous study and participation.
  3. Interviews: Articulate your knowledge about the industry, organization, and recent trends or innovations.
  4. Elevator Pitch: Be able to speak clearly and concisely about your professional expertise. In your pitch, demonstrate the connection between where you are currently and the professional direction you are heading or the position you are seeking.
  5. Internships: Show interest in professional improvement; quality of work reflects your professional standards; maintain high standards of professional conduct.
  6. Class Projects: Strive to grow professionally through continuous study and participation; display hard work and effort in coursework and projects. 
  7. Service: Demonstrate civic engagement and concern for the well-being of other community members.
  8. Student Organizations and Clubs: Demonstrate your involvement and competence in career-related skills.

Use the Career-Ready Tracking Tool to keep track of your efforts and progress. You will need to download the Google sheet to your desktop or your Google Drive. 


You need the ability to clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

Reflect on the below questions:

  1. Can you follow the writing rules commonly used in your field?
  2. Do you know how to write academically? This includes essays, research papers, etc.
  3. Do others seem to have to often ask you to repeat yourself or clarify your comments when speaking?
  4. Do others ask clarifying questions in your written communication, or are you clear and concise?
  5. Can you recognize when enough is enough when writing an email or communication rather than making it longer than necessary?
  6. Do you feel comfortable speaking in front of others?
  7. Do you ensure your written communications are error-free before submitting them?
  8. The flip side of communicating is listening, do you truly listen when others are speaking?
  9. Do you take the time to think before you speak?

Here are ways you can develop your communication skills while enrolled at Aims:

  1. Work with tutors at the Learning Commons to strengthen your writing skills.
  2. Ask faculty for feedback and tips on your writing.
  3. Proofread online and written communication to avoid errors, keeping your audience in mind.
  4. Look for opportunities to share your work at conferences and departmental events, e.g., poster presentations.
  5. Take COM 1150, Public Speaking, or COM 1250, Interpersonal Communications, at Aims.
  6. Build digital communications skills, including PowerPoint, Canva or similar presentation software.
  7. Develop and effectively deliver a presentation for a class.
  8. Check for understanding when speaking with others by asking clarifying questions.
  9. Conduct informational interviews.
  10. Develop a strong professional online presence on Handshake and LinkedIn.
  11. Create professional job search documents such as resumes and cover letters
  12. Attend networking events and employer information programs and talk to at least three new people at each event.  
  13. Practice interviewing/speaking skills with a career coach

Additional video resource:

Learn about the do’s and don’ts of workplace communication

Throughout the application process, your ability to communicate will be showcased in various ways. This includes crafting a compelling cover letter, creating a polished resume, sending thoughtful follow-up notes, and demonstrating effective communication during interviews with potential employers. Reflect on any instances where you’ve had the chance to use these communication skills:

  • Showed proficiency in business analysis
  • Spoke to new people easily
  • Showed proficiency in editing
  • Persuaded others
  • Communicated verbally with clarity
  • Communicated creatively
  • Wrote in an expository manner
  • Summarized information
  • Communicated clearly in writing
  • Facilitated meetings/groups
  • Performed technical writing

Begin by expanding on statements similar to the examples provided below:

  1. Class Project – Initiated collaborative relationships with X organization to develop X initiative for X stakeholders
  2. Internship – Prepared and delivered presentation for X group.
  3. Student Organization – Developed a social media campaign for X club, increasing membership by X percent.
  4. Service – Taught conflict resolution skills to local middle and high school students using X resource.
  5. Job – Provided excellent customer service, assisting customers with X. 

Use the Career-Ready Tracking Tool to keep track of your efforts and progress. You will need to download the Google sheet to your desktop or your Google Drive. 

Critical Thinking

You need to be able to Identify and respond to needs based on an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

Reflect on the below questions:

  1. Have you written a paper recently? 
  2. Can you easily assess and make decisions based on conflicting information?
  3. How good are you at making a case for your point of view?
  4. Do you assess a suggested solution using data or facts?
  5. Have you helped resolve a problem in your student club or organization?
  6. When solving problems, do you analyze the situation and use different information to find a solution?

Here are ways you can develop critical thinking skills while enrolled at Aims:

  1. Take a class that analyzes and compares two or more points of view on the same topic.
  2. Suggest new resolutions to solve a problem in your student club or organization. 
  3. Identify patterns and trends behind a statistical/quantified statement about a current affair.
  4. Write a critique paper on a viewpoint/issue/policy that you do not necessarily agree with.
  5. Apply a problem-solving technique you use in one class or topic to an entirely different class or topic.
  6. Present your critique of an idea or author in a class discussion or presentation.
  7. Do independent research or a final project on a challenging topic, involving evaluation and synthesis.
  8. Analyze and recommend organizational solutions through projects with student groups.

Additional video resource:

Learn more about critical thinking.

You can showcase your critical thinking and problem-solving skills in various ways, such as your resume, cover letters, interviews, brief professional introductions, and networking opportunities.

Think about when you've used these critical thinking/problem-solving skills:

  • Handled ambiguity
  • Analyzed ideas
  • Developed new approaches
  • Identified trends
  • Learned by processing in the moment
  • Observed
  • Adapted to new ideas
  • Created
  • Experimented
  • Imagined multiple possibilities
  • Retained facts and details
  • Conducted research
  • Demonstrated foresight
  • Considered and compared different scenarios
  • Interpreted information
  • Learned by listening
  • Reasoned logically
  • Summarized and synthesized information

Begin by using statements similar to the examples below as a foundation:

  1. Developed and presented X initiative that integrated student and administration concerns.
  2. Identified and appropriately referred clients/customers to resources and support services based on expressed needs.
  3. Administered event surveys and recommended changes based on reported outcomes.
  4. Researched, developed, and implemented a Veterans mental health awareness campaign.
  5. Analyzed engagement metrics and user feedback to assess the effectiveness of social media content.

Use the Career-Ready Tracking Tool to keep track of your efforts and progress. You will need to download the Google sheet to your desktop or your Google Drive. 

Equity and Inclusion

You need to be able to demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.

Reflect on the below questions:

  1. Have you actively engaged in a class discussion on a sensitive topic, demonstrating respect for differing opinions?
  2. When did you actively try to see things from someone else's perspective?
  3. Do you value and acknowledge cultural diversity and preferences within your peer group?
  4. Have you considered an issue you're passionate about from someone else's perspective?
  5. Have you become a part of a student group or club where you engage with peers holding different perspectives?
  6. Have you embraced another person's viewpoint while collaborating on planning or organizing an event?

Here are ways you can develop the skills of equity and inclusion while enrolled at Aims:

  1. Experience and engage in a cultural activity outside your familiar background.
  2. Rather than expressing your perspective, inquire about the other person's viewpoint by seeking more information.
  3. We all carry biases shaped by our upbringing; recognize your own by taking the Implicit Bias Test
  4. Join a club, group, or team dedicated to embracing, comprehending, and incorporating a diverse array of viewpoints, perspectives, and beliefs.
  5. Write about a belief or practice different from your own.

Additional video resource:

Learn several tips to expand your knowledge around Equity and Inclusion and prepare for a diverse workplace.

Share your experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion in various ways—on your resume, in cover letters, during interviews, in a brief professional introduction, and through networking. Reflect on how you've demonstrated your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion:

  • Understood cultural identity
  • Displayed empathy
  • Learned from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions
  • Understood individuals’ differences
  • Demonstrated openness sensitivity, and inclusiveness with all people
  • Possessed knowledge of other cultures
  • Examined your beliefs
  • Valued and respected diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions

Begin by using statements similar to the examples below as a foundation:

  1. Co-facilitated a discussion session involving X number of student organizations affected differently by university policies.
  2. Arranged a panel with X number of speakers from different perspectives to encourage a thoughtful discussion and analysis of immigration policy.
  3. Helped create X policy that student groups found agreeable and important. 

Use the Career-Ready Tracking Tool to keep track of your efforts and progress. You will need to download the Google sheet to your desktop or your Google Drive.