No No No: This is not about your abs. Don’t worry. 🙂

This is about the attributes you DO have, but might need reminders about. 😉 The “core” I’m referring to is Core Competencies. We educate undergraduate and graduate students about them, and as lifelong learners, it applies to you too! 

This month and next, we’re going to provide Emerson alumni with an overview of the core competencies we bring to our careers, called “Rebuilding Your Core” in two parts.

This year has been a tough one, so we owe it to ourselves to make this a yearly, if not monthly practice. This is the time to come from a place of strength and resilience. This is the time to revisit what allows us to thrive.

Some of you may be familiar with these, as they’re key to setting the foundation, or resetting the foundation for the key areas that make you a strong candidate for a job. There are eight in total:

  • Career & Self-Development
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Leadership 
  • Professionalism
  • Teamwork
  • Technology

Focus on what you bring to the table, even after an unpredictable, and challenging year. Better yet, when you consider them, think about scenarios, experiences, projects, challenges, etc., that reflect them in action. See below for your first four examples.

Career & Self-Development

EXAMPLE: Rick, a comm studies alum working in marketing for tech, is feeling out of sorts after a year of remote work and homeschooling two children. Because he was trying to transition from his current job before the pandemic, he’s decided to do some self-reflection, combined with informational interviews with people he’s worked with and new folks he recently discovered on Emerge. After five meetings, he not only clarified the types of jobs best suited for him, but he was able to fully revise his LinkedIn profile for recruiters.


EXAMPLE: Jenna is working with a small team of youth volunteers with her local non-profit dedicated to addressing issues of inequity and social justice. She wants to do this work full time, but needs to sharpen her communication skills. After hearing program ideas from her volunteers, she put together an after school arts program proposal that incorporated their insights and a description of how and when to execute the program for the summer of 2022. She followed up with each volunteer to generate feedback, and listen to their questions and ideas to better communicate with them internally, before promoting the program externally. She decided to add this to her resume. Ultimately she was able to get more experience as a communicator, while also communicating the experience to hiring managers.

Critical Thinking

EXAMPLE: Kerry, who is about three years into his career, has taken on a recruiting role, and will be looking for marketing interns at local schools for his company. The challenge he runs into are outdated ideas within the intern program about what marketing actually is, coming up against new ideas from colleagues, many of whom just graduated from college and do far more than post to Facebook. Using his new white board, Kerry began to map out some of the highest priorities he identified for the company, using a combination of research, observation, and digging deeper with his colleagues when leading brainstorming sessions. This not only informed new internship descriptions, but strategies for recruiting at his alma mater, Emerson College. It would be a couple of years later, when Kerry would talk about this situation at a networking event, that two job opportunities opened up for him.

Equity and Inclusion

EXAMPLE:  After a few years on her job, Lynette, a bi-racial, first generation college grad noticed that while her company remained predominantly white, she was learning about local social and professional events that her colleagues of color were going to and decided to join in. She noticed that attending these events helped her feel less isolated and more in community with folks like her. While a few conversations with folks during lunch and after hours were great, she decided to collaborate with her Asian, Black and Latinx colleagues to create an employee resource group. After a year they had a solid lineup of panels and gatherings, and garnered the interest of allies and support from leadership. It was through this work that Lynette was able to later articulate her values and experiences about diversity and inclusion in a job interview.

Your turn! Think about these four competencies and how they apply to where you are now in your career.

Categories: Tuesday Tips