Building Career Competencies: Critical Thinking and Equity & Inclusion

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 next two career competencies: Critical Thinking and Equity & Inclusion.

These two go hand in hand, according to Associate Professor of Chemistry, Steve Keller. “As a scientist, it’s important that I gather data from diverse sources to fully understand a problem or phenomenon.” If you “fail to include different perspectives, your analysis is incomplete. The critical thinking skills developed in college are critical to one’s ability and willingness to be inclusive and open to new possibilities.”

What are these two competencies?

Critical Thinking defined: 

Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information

Equity and Inclusion defined: 

Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from historically marginalized communities, as well as different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist and social justice practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of discrimination and oppression.

What do they mean? 

All new professionals, whether in marketing, hospitality, education, healthcare or any other industry, must make decisions and solve problems using sound judgment and inclusive reasoning. Critical thinking consistently is ranked as the #1 skill employers are seeking in their hires. Likewise, interns and new hires need to keep an open mind to diverse ideas and new ways of thinking.

Here are some sample behaviors that employers are looking for:


Critical Thinking:

  • Gather and analyze information from a diverse set of sources and individuals to fully understand a problem.
  • Proactively anticipate needs and prioritize action steps.
  • Accurately summarize and interpret data with an awareness of personal biases that may impact outcomes.
  • Effectively communicate actions and rationale, recognizing the diverse and lived experiences of stakeholders.

Equity & Inclusion:

  • Solicit and use feedback from multiple cultural perspectives to make inclusive and equity-minded decisions.
  • Advocate for inclusion, equitable practices, justice, and empowerment for historically marginalized communities.
  • Demonstrate flexibility by adapting to diverse environments.
  • Identify resources and eliminate barriers resulting from individual and systemic racism, inequities, and biases.

How do I improve my skills in these two competencies? 

Tips for Critical Thinking improvements: 

  1. Practice making step by step plans to solve problems
  2. Get involved in research or join a club that engages in problem solving activities (chess, entrepreneurship, etc.)
  3. Participate in class discussions and debates.

Tips for Equity & Inclusion improvements: 

  1. Participate in study abroad and/or alternative break trips.
  2. Attend events with people who have different politics, religion, race, or sexual orientation.
  3. Volunteer to help people in need.

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

Example of Critical Thinking resume wording: 

  1. Analyze social media analytics and generate reports with suggestions on how to improve reach, engagement, and meet brand strategy goals.
  2. Contributed to market research report, effectively communicating consumer purchasing habits with team lead.
  3. Efficiently multitasked greeting and seating customers, responding to phone calls and managing online reservation system while assisting wait and kitchen staff with tasks during peak periods.

Example of Equity & Inclusion resume wording:

  1. Led focus group in class project, intentionally gathering opinions form diverse student groups, leaders and varied majors and class years.
  2. Developed new organizational charter by soliciting feedback from all members.
  3. Organized a canned food drive for local community members in need that included $500 and 200 pounds of food donations.

By highlighting these two skills, employers will better understand how you problem solve, analyze the world and include unique perspectives. These competencies are key to having success in both your personal and professional life. Want to learn more? Take the Focus 2 quiz available at Mizzou Career Tools to assess your career readiness and find suggestions for improving your skills!