Career Competencies


The EXCEL+ Career Readiness plus Leadership program is based on career readiness competencies from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), with student participation in courses, programs, and activities leading to digital badges. Students earn points for participation in activities they are already doing, find new campus experiences to enhance their learning, and are better able to articulate how their participation increased their career readiness skills to future employers.

What is career readiness?

Career readiness supplements and adds to college students’ breadth of knowledge in providing skills and knowledge necessary for meaningful employment, regardless of students’ field of study.

What is leadership?

NACE defines leadership as “The ability to leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate and organize, prioritize, and delegate work”. Leadership isn’t defined by a title held at an organization, it is someone who is able to organize, inspire, empower, and maximize the effort of others. Anyone can be a leader.

What do we mean by competencies?

A competency is a skill, task, strength, or personal quality that allows you to do a specific job role well. When a worker has shown competence in a skill, they have demonstrated they can perform specific tasks at a certain level of proficiency that can be measured by an employer. Completing any of the competencies listed below allows you to gain clarity and confidence in that skill and be able to clearly articulate that to an employer through your resume or interview.

What if I want to go to graduate school right after graduation? Do these competencies still matter?

YES!! The question is, do you want to take advantage of achieving these career competencies now, as an undergraduate, or when you're a graduate student? Because you WILL need these skills to be competitive in whatever job market you eventually hope to end up in.

Many graduate students are so focused on developing expertise in their field that they may neglect to realize how important it is to actively work on skills like communication, time management, or conflict resolution. These skills are critical in the workplace, and being able to demonstrate them can really help a student stand out in today's competitive job market.
—Stephanie Miller, MS Environmental Science & Research Trainee at US EPA

Competency Worksheets.

Keep track of the activities you completed on these worksheets (Record as much data about your participation as possible):

The EXCEL+ Career Readiness plus Leadership program is based on the following ten UCR career readiness competencies. If your plan is to go to graduate school, THINK about how these same competencies will make you a better student who is more successful at your studies AND helps prepare you for when you are ultimately job hunting after your program end.

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Career & Self Development
  • Self-awareness
  • Set effective priorities and goals
  • Growth mindset
  • Awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Navigating career opportunities
  • Listens attentively to others and responds appropriately
  • Use of effective grammar and syntax
  • Ability to adapt communication style to the situation
  • Asking questions when necessary
Community Engagement & Social Responsibility
  • Engage in collaborative work to increase the community’s good
  • Recognize social systems and how they affect people
  • Affirm the value of individuals and communities
Critical Thinking
  • Question assumptions
  • Gather and properly analyze relevant information
  • Manage ambiguity
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Open-mindedness
Equity & Inclusion
  • Challenge biases within oneself and others
  • Understand diversity in the workplace
  • Respect multiple social identities
  • Promotion of civility
  • Promotes a collaborative workplace
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Leadership Development
  • Achieve organizational goals through personal and team strengths
  • Takes initiative
  • Provides motivation and encouragement
  • Shapes a positive workplace environment
  • Empowers others
  • Understand your strengths & skills
  • Understand and demonstrate effective work habits
  • Accepts personal accountability
  • Demonstrates integrity, honesty, dependability, and ethical responsibility
Research Literacy
  • Assess and interpret multiple sources of information
  • Solve problems and create new insights
  • Explore issues, objects, or works through the collection and analysis of evidence
  • Effective communication of research
  • Focus on solutions
  • Works cooperatively with others
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Collaborate with others to achieve common goals
  • Identify and manage misunderstandings
Technological Literacy
  • Ethically and effectively uses technology to communicate
  • Leverage technologies to complete tasks and accomplish goals
  • Gain the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information for a variety of purposes


learning outcomes

There are 3 areas within each competency that are required for earning badges; Learning ActivitiesExperiential Activities, and Career Management Activities. By completing tasks in each of these areas, students gain mastery over each competency and learn valuable skills and self-knowledge that will assist them through their careers and beyond. In essence, students are learning leadership competency by learning about, experiencing, and reflecting on their activities and experiences, similar to other high-impact practices such as service-learning and community-based learning.

EXCEL+ Career Readiness plus Leadership program information
Career competencies
Career Competencies

What are the career-ready competencies and why are they important for your future career?



Badging Requirements

Understand how the program operates and how you can meet the competency requirements.



Campus Activities

Find all of the campus activities that count towards the competency and badge requirements.