Building Career Competencies: Communication and Career & Self-Development

No matter what your major is or what your post-grad job might be, all employers have 8 specific skills they look for in potential employees. This week, we are taking a deep dive into the first two career competencies: career & self development and communication. But what does this mean, exactly? And how do we highlight that we possess these strengths? Read below to find out more about these career competencies and how you can grow as a young professional.

What are these two competencies?

Career & Self Development defined: 

Proactively develop oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one’s organization. 

Communication defined: 

Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

What do they mean? 

It’s important as a young professional to build upon the hard skills you need to perform well, but it’s just as important to grow your soft skills and inner-awareness, too. Just like the career and self development competency explains, continual learning and a desire to learn is a strength all employers look for. We can always improve as individuals and employees. Another key attribute is communication. Communication encompasses how we make connections, maintain relationships and actively listen to others. It’s important to know how to communicate professionally and how to articulate your ideas, comments, concerns, and questions. 


Career & Self Development looks like:

  • Developing plans and goals for your future career
  • Professionally advocating for yourself and others
  • Displaying curiosity and seeking out opportunities to learn
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with people who can help you professionally or in the future

Communication looks like:

  • Communicating in a clear and organized manner so that others can easily understand
  • Asking appropriate, detailed questions for specific information from supervisors, coworkers and others
  • Framing communication with respect to diversity of learning
    • In other words, keeping others’ communication styles and abilities, cultural differences, and learning processes in mind

How do I improve my skills in these two competencies? 

Tips for Career & Self Development improvements: 

  1. Conduct informational interviews. Job shadow. Seek mentors.
  2. Get involved in campus professional organizations to further develop and test out career interests.
  3. Find out what types of jobs exist in a career area that appeals to you.

Tips for Communication improvements: 

  1. Participate in class discussions and debates.
  2. Develop your elevator pitch which is a professional sounding introduction about yourself.
  3. Get your resume and cover letter reviewed at the MU Career Center.

How do I express my skills in these two competencies in my resume?

Example of Career & Self Development resume wording: 

  1. Eagerly seek out new learning opportunities and constructive feedback. 
  2. Highly involved in campus professional organizations to further develop career interests and build professionalism.

Example of Communication resume wording:

  1. Excel at establishing rapport with others and making them feel at ease
  2. Gifted at leading conversations and gathering feedback from multiple perspectives

By articulating these two skills, employers will get a sense of how you communicate and seek growth. No matter the industry, these competencies are amazing strengths to build in your personal and professional life. To take a deeper dive into your strengths and areas in need of some attention, take the Focus2 quiz available at Mizzou Career Tools for a full rundown on your skills and where you’re at.