Though valued by employers, a college degree in and of itself does not automatically lead to a good job. Employers want assurance that you can help them solve problems and reach their goals. They want to know that you have developed and demonstrated competencies considered essential in the workplace.   A recent survey of employers found that 91 percent agreed that "a candidate's demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than his or her major." (Association of American Colleges & Universities 2015 Survey)  These crucial skills are referred to as career readiness skills.

The Gies Professional Pathway is a framework for students to tell their story and serve as leaders in our shared future.  They were created to better connect the skills employers value in college graduates with the ability of students to demonstrate proficiency in those skills. Your Gies education equips you with these 10 highly desirable Career Competencies.

While at Gies, you will be intentionally developing professional competencies and career readiness skills through the Gies Professional Pathway.   Use GPP to connect all of your classroom experiences and to translate what you've learned into the language of employers.

Benefits of the Gies Professional Pathway

  1. Focusing on developing your career readiness now will help you enter the world of work with the transferable skills necessary to adapt and grow throughout your career.You'll be able to strategize how to continue growing: Reflecting on your career readiness can help you identify areas of growth as a professional. This type of reflection can be a powerful tool to help you target experiences that will serve as professional development.
  2. You'll be able to strategize how to continue growing: Reflecting on your career readiness can help you identify areas of growth as a professional. This type of reflection can be a powerful tool to help you target experiences that will serve as professional development.
  3. You'll be able to tell your story: Being able to effectively communicate your strengths and "connect the dots" for employers and other professionals in your network can assist you in showcasing that you are the best fit for a specific position, organization, industry or network.

Gies career advisors will engage you throughout your journey so that you get on and stay on a pathway that fosters personal and professional growth--whether you're deciding on a major or adding graduate-level skills. They will help you identify the choices that will make you a competitive candidate in the job market and set you up for career-long success.  We've created a process for you to track and reflect on your journey and accomplishments both inside and outside the classroom. It will guide you through key learning objectives and incentivize you to record and reflect on your coursework and high impact activities, such as internships, research, community service, study abroad, and more.

Capture it. Connect it. Communicate it.

The Gies Professional Pathway Competencies

Career Competency Video and Resource Library

Faculty and Departmental Toolkit

Gies faculty and staff are an integral part of the Gies Professional Pathway.   Supporting our students in developing the skills and competencies to prepare them for successful careers is vital.    Students need assignments and occasions designed to help identify and develop career readiness skills.  By mapping curriculum and co-curricular learning and activities to competencies, you are enabling students to advance their skillsets and to successfully transition into the workplace.

Tools for Teaching Career Competencies

Instructors teach career competency skills every day. However, for students, these skills are not always nameable and translatable. The goal is for students to be able to 1) name competencies and translate them to new contexts, 2) practice and reflect on their growing competencies and 3) translate their academic uses of the competencies into relevant careers.

Using Shared Language with Students

Students develop career competencies throughout curricular and co-curricular experiences. However, recognizing these competencies within different contexts can be challenging. Developing a shared understanding, language, and iconography across within Gies can support students in making these connections and reflecting on how they can translate their skills toward relevant careers.  We encourage you to download the Gies Professional Pathway imagery and use them in assignments, syllabi, slides, and in communicating with students about the relevance of these competencies toward their career development.

Transparent Design

Transparent design aims to make the knowledge and the skills practiced in an assignment clear to students so they can better identify and articulate their own skills. Transparently designed assignments explicitly call out the purpose, skills, tasks, and criteria for success associated with your assignment. Incorporating transparent assignments improves students academic confidence and self-rating of career competencies.

Students Practice and Reflect on their Developing Competencies

Students need multiple opportunities to practice, and importantly, reflect on their growing competencies. Instructors can provide metacognitive and reflective activities to help students be able to articulate how they have developed career competencies and which competencies they want to continue to develop.


Resources for Departments

Below are some steps departments can take to help embed career readiness into every student's academic experience.

Broaden Awareness of Gies Professional Pathway

Consider using a department meeting or faculty retreat to broaden your unit's understanding of the career competencies and discuss which are most important for your students and what coursework and experiences in our major are most important for preparing students for careers.

You can invite Gies Professional Pathway Committee members or the Office of Career and Professional Development to facilitate the conversation.

Adopt a Career-Readiness Learning Objective

Adopting a Gies Professional Pathway learning objective in your major helps move beyond individual course experiences. It supports alignment and coordination of career-competency development across the curriculum.

Adopting a specific career readiness outcomes paves the way for the next steps for you department, mapping how students develop that career competency through the curriculum, and providing an opportunity to assess how well your department is meeting its objective.

Map your curriculum.

How do the career readiness experiences students have in your courses build upon each other as students progress through the courses in your major? Are there gaps in which competencies students develop? Use a curriculum mapping process to identify where students are developing competencies and how those experiences may build on each other from one course to the next.

Utilize this tool to map your courses to specific competencies.