Last week I met with some alum from my university. While it was fun to meet and catch up, we were discussing serious business – preparing students for the future.
I’m a strong advocate of internships and mentoring, so this was a perfect conversation in which to be involved. Dr. Katherine Hawkins, dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences at Radford University, mentioned the “C” competencies for life success, and I followed up with her by email for more explanation.
“Employer surveys consistently demonstrate employers do not care so much about your major as they care about whether you have the competencies to do the job,” she said later.
While she preaches this sermon to all incoming students and their parents at orientation, the “C” competencies are critical at any stage. If you haven’t perfected them yet, it’s worth doing.
The “C” competencies include communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
Communication: Both oral and written communication, as well as something about how to use visual imagery to make messages more impactful. The top-ranked competency desired by employers is consistently excellent communication skills. If you are still developing this skill be sure to have someone else proof and edit your resume and cover letter.
Collaboration: Ability to work well with others in groups, as well as the ability to provide leadership as appropriate. Employers consistently state the ability to be an effective member of a work group is a highly desirable skill set. I don’t have a day go by in which I’m not collaborating with others.
Critical thinking: The ability to determine what the problem really is, identify what kind of information is needed to solve the problem, navigate through information universe to find the most accurate high quality information relevant to the problem, and use that information to make a good decision about how to solve the problem. “If you don’t have high quality information as a basis for decision making, you’re not likely to make a very good decision,” Hawkins said.
Creativity: Displaying resourcefulness and persistence in the face of resistance or initial failure. “Keep researching and attempting different approaches until you find a way to make it work,” Hawkins said.