Cutting-Edge Skills

As you prepare for your future, developing a range of transferrable skills is essential to help you succeed in your chosen field. One valuable resource to help guide your growth is the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) Career and Self-Development Competencies. These competencies are a set of skills and behaviors that employers consider essential for workplace success. Focusing on these competencies improves your marketability and Career Success.

Career and Self-Development Competency

By taking ownership of your career development, you position yourself for success and make the most of your talents and potential.

Behaviors that Demonstrate this Skill
  • Be aware of your strengths and areas for development
  • Set SMART goals for personal and professional growth
  • Participate in professional development activities
  • Assume duties or positions that will help you progress professionally
  • Network with professionals in your field and seek feedback from peers and supervisors
  • Adapt to changes and challenges in the workplace

Activities to Develop this Skill

Communication Competency

Strong communication is a highly sought-after skill essential for navigating team dynamics and projects, solving problems, managing your career, and more.

Behaviors that Demonstrate this Skill
  • Listen actively and respond appropriately to others
  • Adapt communication style to fit respective audiences and situations
  • Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using verbal and nonverbal communication skills
  • Demonstrate sensitivity and respect for diverse perspectives and backgrounds
  • Give and receive constructive feedback in a professional manner
  • Demonstrate conflict resolution abilities
  • Use communication technologies effectivel

Activities to Develop this Skill

Critical Thinking Competency

Employers rate critical thinking as the most important skill they seek in job candidates. Critical thinking is the ability to “identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.”

Behaviors that Demonstrate this Skill
  • Identify and evaluate relevant information from multiple sources
  • Use logical reasoning and evidence-based thinking (data) to make decisions
  • Recognize and challenge assumptions and biases
  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation in problem-solving
  • Evaluate the potential impact and consequences of decisions
  • Continuously improve processes and strategies based on feedback and outcomes

Activities to Develop this Skill
  • Participate in a Club/Organization case competition
  • Compare your resume with a desired job description and identify skill gaps
  • Meet with your Career Specialist for a Mock Interview
  • Work with the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the Analytics Solutions Center
  • Collaborate with a faculty member to conduct original research

Equity and Inclusion Competency

As you navigate an increasingly diverse and globalized world, developing skills and behaviors that promote equity and inclusion in the workplace is essential.

Behaviors that Demonstrate this Skill
  • Be respectful and sensitive toward individuals from diverse backgrounds such as culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, abilities, etc.
  • Challenge your biases and assumptions by participating in diverse cultures and activities
  • Advocate for and promote diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion
  • Speak up against discrimination, harassment, and inequity
  • Understand the impact of power dynamics and privilege in the workplace

Activities to Develop this Skill

Leadership Competency

Leadership involves more than just managing people; it's about creating and implementing a vision, motivating and inspiring others, and driving results.

Behaviors that Demonstrate this Skill
  • Lead by example and model positive behaviors and attitudes
  • Make responsible and ethical decisions
  • Take the initiative and ownership of tasks and projects
  • Build and maintain positive relationships with team members and colleagues
  • Innovate and identify opportunities for growth by seeking feedback

Activities that Develop this Skill


Professionals strive for excellence, create a positive work environment, and contribute to the overall success of their team and organization.

Behaviors that demonstrate this skill
  • Act equitably with integrity and accountability to yourself, others, and the organization
  • Maintain a positive personal brand in alignment with organizational and individual career values
  • Show accountability and take responsibility for mistakes
  • Demonstrate dependability, be present and prepared for work, and adhere to workplace policies and procedures
  • Dress and behave appropriately in the workplace

Activities to Develop this Skill
  • Engage with employers at the Huntsman Career Expo or a USU Career Fair
  • Practice interviewing at the Huntsman Mock Interview Day
  • Request feedback from an employer and set goals accordingly
  • Complete an internship or co-op experience
  • Participate in a case competition or professional development opportunity through an HSB Club or Organization
  • Watch the Backpack to Briefcase: Dress for Success video


You can learn a great deal from working in teams and other collaborative settings. The ability to "contribute to a team structure, balance roles of leading and following, and effectively negotiate and manage conflict" will come into play many times throughout your academic and professional career.

Behaviors that Demonstrate this Skill
  • Build strong, positive working relationships with your supervisor and coworkers
  • Listen to others, take time to understand, and ask appropriate questions without interrupting
  • Manage conflict with respect for diverse personalities and work styles
  • Be accountable for individual and team responsibilities and deliverables
  • Celebrate team successes and acknowledge individual contributions
  • Reflect and evaluate team performance to identify areas for improvement

Activities to Develop this Skill


Employers seek candidates that "understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals." They want and need professionals to demonstrate effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies.

Behaviors that Demonstrate this Skill
  • Develop and maintain a positive online presence as a professional tool
  • Update and develop technical skills through training and self-learning
  • Use technology to enhance efficiency, quickly adapting to new or unfamiliar technologies
  • Understand how to protect sensitive information and data through the secure use of technology
  • Identify and implement technological solutions to improve processes and solve problems
  • Use technology to research and analyze data to inform decision-making

Activities to Develop this Skill
  • Attend events such as Silicon Slopes and consider the role of technology in your desired industry
  • Earn technical certifications such as MS Excel, Tableau, Python, etc.
  • Research technology frequently used within your industry of interest
  • Participate in a technology-based project (i.e., create a website, use advanced Excel, etc.)
  • Learn new technology using resources such as LinkedIn Learning, W3Schools, Pluralsight, or Udemy

Learn More

Learn more about the NACE Career Competencies on their website

NACE Website