Build My Professional Skills

The work environment is changing rapidly and demands a variety of relevant skills and experiences that enhance your degree and professional marketability.
Become "workforce ready" by investing in a micro-credential or certification, applying your learning through a variety of experiences, and clearly articulating your readiness through demonstrated performance of essential work skills.
The below tools, trainings, methods and information will help get you started.
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What does it mean to build my professional skills?

Essential to becoming career ready is the development of  WCSU Professional Competencies that you might also think of as skills or behaviors.

The main value that all competencies have in common is that they are important to employers.

Your experiences at WCSU and beyond offer many opportunities to develop and enhance these competencies, including participation in classroom learning,  internships, co-ops, research, virtual experience, on-campus involvement, work experience, micro-internships and volunteering.

Why is it essential to become career ready?

WCSU Professional Competencies have been identified through extensive research and observations conducted by the opens in a new windowNational Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), with input from employers across all industries, as necessary skills for success in today’s workforce and other post-collegiate pursuits.

If you want to prepare yourself for success and set yourself apart from your peers, it’s important to not only to learn more about Building Professional Skills and the WCSU Professional Competencies, but to take action and intentionally build on the competencies you already have and enhance those that need more development.

Take the first step!

Explore below to discover the ten Professional Competencies and click on any icon to start developing skills that employers want today

Feel free to schedule a meeting with the Career Success Team in the Career Success Center or walk-in to our Career Success Center located in the Westside Campus Center, Suite 300 .

The entire campus community is committed to your success-all you need to do is take that first step!

Explore the many ways to skill up!

Click on an icon to start developing skills that employers want today

Open online courses/workshops

Language-learning resources

Parker Dewey Micro-internships

Parker Dewey is a platform that offers micro-internships, primarily remote, for students and alumni. These internships are sponsored by various companies and are paid opportunities. The duration of these micro-internships is time-bound, typically ranging from 2 to 40 hours. This provides a flexible and rewarding way for students and alumni to gain professional experience.

The Forage Virtual Experience

The Forage Virtual Experiences is a platform that provides simulations for students and alumni. These virtual experiences are sponsored by Fortune 500 companies and are not paid opportunities. The duration of these experiences is fully flexible, typically ranging from 2 to 8 hours, and can be completed anytime. All of these experiences are remote, offering a convenient way for students and alumni to gain professional experience.

Extern Externships

Extern is a platform that offers practical experience, exposure, and familiarity through externships for students. These externships are sponsored by Fortune 1000 companies and are not paid opportunities, although some do offer a stipend. The duration of these externships is specified, typically ranging from 2 to 8 weeks with 10 to 15 hours per week. All of these externships are remote, providing students with a flexible and convenient way to gain professional experience.

WCSU Internship Program

The WCSU Internship Program offers semester-long internships for students. These internships are usually paid and offer academic credit. The internships, which provide a semester-long experience, are sponsored by a variety of employers. The duration of these internships is a semester, typically ranging from 50 to 150+ hours. These internships can be both in-person and remote, providing students with a flexible and practical way to gain professional experience.

Flex jobs/Gigs

Flex Jobs/Gigs is a platform that offers full-time, part-time, and gig employment opportunities for students and alumni. These jobs are paid and are sponsored by a variety of employers. The platform provides flexibility in terms of commitment, allowing individuals to choose from full-time, part-time, or gig work. All of these opportunities are remote, providing a convenient way for students and alumni to gain professional experience.

Online volunteer opportunities

What Is Upskilling and How Can You Use It to Get the Career You Want?

This article dives deep into the importance of Upskilling and how you can Upskill yourself!

Flex jobs/Gigs

Open online courses/workshops

Language-learning resources

Online volunteer opportunities

The Forage Virtual Experience


The Forage Virtual Experience

Discover the 10 WCSU Professional Competencies

In this new world of work, mastering these ten essential skills is vital to demonstrate your worth and thrive as a professional.These competencies are termed "essential skills" as they encompass fundamental abilities necessary across diverse occupations. Effectively conveying these competencies is crucial for securing interviews and, ultimately, your desired job. Gain a profound understanding of what it truly means to be "career ready" by reflecting on your educational background and experiences. Learn to express with clarity how you have cultivated these essential skills:

In this new world of work, there are ten basic competencies that will help you both show your value and help you succeed as a professional. Learning how to communicate those skills is critical to landing an interview, and hopefully the job. Understand what it means to be "career ready" by reflecting on your experience and education, and learn to clearly articulate how you developed these competencies:


Use social and organizational influence to maximize the effects of others towards achieving a goal

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems

Equity & Inclusion

Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures

Sample Behaviors

  • Inspire, persuade, and motivate self and others under a shared vision.
  • Seek out and leverage diverse resources and feedback from others to inform direction.
  • Use innovative thinking to go beyond traditional methods.
  • Serve as a role model to others by approaching tasks with confidence and a positive attitude.
  • Motivate and inspire others by encouraging them and by building mutual trust.

Sample Behaviors

  • Make decisions and solve problems using sound, inclusive reasoning and judgment.
  • 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 perspectives and lived experiences of stakeholders.

Sample Behaviors

  • Solicit and use feedback from multiple cultural perspectives to make inclusive and equity-minded decisions.
  • Seek global cross-cultural interactions and experiences that enhance one’s understanding of people from different demographic groups and that leads to personal growth.
  • Actively contribute to inclusive and equitable practices that influence individual and systemic change.
  • Advocate for inclusion, equitable practices, justice, and empowerment for historically marginalized communities.


Ability to adjust to changing situations and work requirements

Teamwork & Collaboration

Work well with others to achieve a joint outcome and understand the need for give-and-take toward a shared goal


Able to effectively listen, understand and actively connect with others to solve a problem

Sample Behaviors

  • Challenge yourself when your circumstances change. Face problems, pivot among distractions, and politely proceed forward. Think ahead and consistently focus on improvement.
  • Be eager to investigate solutions, explore issues efficiently, from a functional perspective, and across all angles.
  • Instead of seeing mistakes or failure, try seeing opportunities instead. Don’t have one solution set in stone. Have a wide variety of ideas and resources to pull from.
  • Criticize less and do not point fingers. Soak-in information, analyze, and adjust. Don’t fixate on the temporary, seek to understand, not explain.

Sample Behaviors

  • Listen carefully to others, taking time to understand and ask appropriate questions without interrupting.
  • Effectively manage conflict, interact with and respect diverse personalities, and meet ambiguity with resilience.
  • Be accountable for individual and team responsibilities and deliverables.
  • Employ personal strengths, knowledge, and talents to complement those of others.
  • Exercise the ability to compromise and be agile.

Sample Behaviors

  • Actively contribute to inclusive and equitable practices that influence individual and systemic change.
  • Advocate for inclusion, equitable practices, justice, and empowerment for historically marginalized communities..
  • Keep an open mind to diverse ideas and new ways of thinking.

Career Management

Understand and practice your developmental skills, using tools and knowledge relevant to your personal growth

Professionalism & Work Ethic

Demonstrate accountability, effective work habits, and understand the impact of nonverbal communication on your professional work image

Oral & Written Communication

Express thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms, inside and outside of organizations

Sample Behaviors

  • Show an awareness of own strengths and areas for development.
  • Identify areas for continual growth while pursuing and applying feedback.
  • Develop plans and goals for one’s future career.
  • Professionally advocate for oneself and others.
  • Display curiosity; seek out opportunities to learn.

Sample Behaviors

  • Act equitably with integrity and accountability to self, others, and the organization.
  • Maintain a positive personal brand in alignment with organization and personal career values.
  • Be present and prepared.
  • Demonstrate dependability (e.g., report consistently for work or meetings).
  • Prioritize and complete tasks to accomplish organizational goals.

Sample Behaviors

  • Understand the importance of and demonstrate verbal, written, and non-verbal/body language, abilities.
  • Employ active listening, persuasion, and influencing skills.
  • Communicate in a clear and organized manner so that others can effectively understand.
  • Frame communication with respect to diversity of learning styles, varied individual communication abilities, and cultural differences.
  • Ask appropriate questions for specific information from supervisors, specialists, and others.

Digital Technology

Use current and appropriate technologies to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals

Sample Behaviors 

  • Navigate change and be open to learning new technologies.
  • Use technology to improve efficiency and productivity of their work.
  • Identify appropriate technology for completing specific tasks.
  • Manage technology to integrate information to support relevant, effective, and timely decision-making.
  • Quickly adapt to new or unfamiliar technologies.

Connecting Competencies to your Experience

In three easy steps, you can create powerful bullet points that convey your worth. Follow instructions 1 through 3 then combine all portions into one short concise phrase. Write that phrase out like shown in the example (step 4). Remember to think like an employer and give them examples that would show them how you have gotten your current/past job done efficiently. Which competencies did you use to achieve your goal?

Here's an example:

Use a powerful action verb.

(past tense if in the past)

Include the job activity/action, plus how you did your job.

(Which of the competencies did you use?)

Include the end result and//or accomplishment

Conducted... school project: market research team leader (6 students) used excel, survey monkey... to evaluate impact of career workshops on student internships.


End result: "Conducted market research while leading a six-member school project team; through the use of excel and survey tools, evaluated the impact of student career workshops on student internships"

In conclusion, this bullet point includes four of the eight competencies. The goal is to do this for all bullet phrases you write.

Most In-Demand Technical Skills

In addition to the essential skills that make up the professional competencies, employers will be looking for you to have hard skills. Also known as technical skills, these are teachable and job-specific abilities that can easily be quantified.

On your resume, we recommend highlighting your professional competencies in your summary or profile section and listing your hard skills in their own section called technical skills. Visit our key resume sections page to learn more.

Hard Skills

Below is a menu of the 6 main hard skill categories. Click one to learn more about that category and see a list of its most in-demand examples that you can put on your resume.