What Is Career Readiness? (Definition, Benefits And Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 28 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you are a young professional who is ready to enter the workforce after a college degree, it is important to determine how career-ready you are. Career readiness is a practical way of learning real-life skills that are necessary for making a successful transition from being a student to an employee. Understanding how to become career-ready can help fresh graduates develop the skills to perform efficiently in the workplace. In this article, we understand what career readiness means, explore its benefits and review steps that can help you be career-ready.

What is career readiness?

The answer to the question 'What is career readiness?' in simple terms is your preparation to join the workforce as a full-time employee. You may undergo this process as a high school or college student who is ready to graduate. Career readiness involves learning new skills, understanding how to create goals and preparing in advance can help you get hired quicker when you apply for jobs. Ensuring career readiness can help you find success in your workplace, teach you how to manage your career and equip you to apply the skills you have learned.

Career readiness helps employers understand your abilities and experience in the field. Equipping students with career-ready skills can demonstrate which candidates have certain skills and abilities required for the workforce. When employers notice a candidate has prepared themself to enter the workforce, this may influence their hiring decision. Career readiness can happen through a variety of ways, which include reading, staying updated with industry trends and joining peer groups. Students can also prepare to enter the workforce through career fairs, where employers meet graduating students and source talent directly. Other ways that one can build career readiness include:

  • mock interviews

  • internships

  • volunteer opportunities

  • resume-writing workshops

  • networking

    Related: 20 People Skills To Use In The Workplace And Include On A Resume

What are the benefits of career readiness?

Being career-ready is helpful to both the professional and the employer. Some of the major benefits of being career-ready are:

Enables successful transition from college to the workforce

Switching from student life to the workforce can be a challenge. Being career-ready can help your transition from academia to employment be effective and successful. It can help them sustain their job, grow professionally and manage their career better. Committing time to become career-ready can help overcome challenges one faces while making a shift to the industry. You may learn career readiness skills like interviewing, communication and other relevant abilities to feel equipped and prepared for success. College students will especially benefit from skills such as teamwork, networking, critical thinking and diplomacy for building career readiness.

Leads to a fulfilling career

Career readiness involves conducting detailed research on various job types and positions available in the industry. Exploring suitable skills and learning them can help you discover your ideal job type. Finding one's ideal job is critical to finding fulfilment in a particular field. When students work on being career-ready, they can increase their chances of finding work that suits them best and in an area that truly interests them.

Preparing for multiple job types prepares them to explore different options and choose what is best for them by making informed decisions. It can also result in quicker promotions, leading to a better financial future.

Helps build foundational skills

One of the major benefits of becoming career-ready is that it helps you build essential skills. These skills, also called foundational skills, help the overall growth of an individual in a professional setting. Foundational skills are not particular to a particular job position or type, but transferrable across multiple job roles. Having these skills can equip you to have positive working relationships with people and achieve success in any career you choose. Students must learn some of these important skills before entering the workforce. They include:

  • leadership

  • teamwork

  • communication

  • adaptability

  • problem-solving

  • critical thinking

  • reasoning

  • collaboration

  • attention to detail

Helps gain confidence

Confidence is essential for a successful career. It can help professionals resolve conflicts better, improve communication, increase satisfaction and build professional relationships. With career readiness, students can gain considerable confidence to tackle real-life scenarios in the workplace. The right attitude and confidence can help a student successfully apply and interview for jobs and help them communicate better about their abilities and expectations with the employer. The skills and training gained while building career readiness can help a student feel confident and enable them to perform better than peers during the initial stages of their careers.

Helps both job applicants and interviewers

Preparing a student to face the workforce can have benefits for both the employer and the candidate. It can help them save time, energy and resources and decide if either is a right fit for the company or position. An employer can better identify key skills, abilities and aptitude when the candidate has the foundational skills required for employment. Sourcing talent is easier when candidates are clear about their expectations and abilities. For candidates, career readiness is important for performing well in job interviews. It helps them communicate their skills, expectations and ideas clearly to the employer.

Related: 11 Qualities Of A Good Employee For Success In The Workplace

How to become career-ready

Here are some helpful steps you can undertake to be career-ready before joining the workforce:

1. Start training early

Starting early training can contribute significantly to one's career readiness. There are well-developed programmes that train students for career-specific skills from as early as high school. Taking part in extra-curricular activities can help students cultivate essential workplace skills. Starting early training can give an individual enough potential and time to broaden and improve their skills before they join the workforce. Being trained from a young age allows certain essential skills to ingrain themselves into your personality.

2. Stay committed to constant learning

Another way to develop career-ready skills is to stay on a constant path of learning. An individual committed to learning newer skills develops additional knowledge, allowing them to grow professionally. New and diverse experiences and knowledge can help you imbibe new work skills and broaden your perspective on many subjects. If you are already in a workplace, you may still contribute to your professional growth through continuous learning efforts. The strategies you can use to adopt learning are:

  • getting an advanced professional degree

  • getting a professional certification

  • learning practical skills

  • growing one's professional network

  • finding a guide or mentor

3. Learn to create milestones and goals

It is important to know the significance of goal-setting to become career-ready. You can learn how to create and set various goals even before you join the workforce. Learning goal-setting can help you learn other important work-related skills such as prioritisation, organisation, self-motivation and continuous development. You can practise setting goals while still in college to ensure that you study, pass exams and submit assignments on time.

4. Actively collaborate with other individuals

Collaboration with others is an essential aspect of professional life to help you grow your network and be successful. Learning various types of collaboration can also help you learn other skills needed for the workplace. The skills one can learn through active collaboration are teamwork, interpersonal communication, active listening, leadership, diplomacy and responsibility. Collaborating with like-minded peers and growing one's professional network can help you grow this skill significantly.

Related: Top 7 Networking Skills (How To Develop And Highlight Them)

5. Learn to use technology

Employers expect basic technological familiarity for most positions. Different jobs require various levels of proficiency with technology. Hence, it is important that one knows the basic aspects of technology to enable themselves to be career-ready. Though the level of proficiency varies based on the job, there are still some basic skills one can learn to gain technological fluency. Here are some basic computer skills required by most employers:

  • typing skills

  • spreadsheet proficiency

  • email etiquette

  • internet navigation

  • virtual meeting skills

  • basic computer knowledge

6. Learn to think critically

It is important to learn how to think critically to function in a workplace. Critical thinking ability can help you have an objective and dynamic approach and judge a situation per its merit and make beneficial and ethical decisions. You can learn to think critically by considering various decision outcomes before choosing one. Performing adequate research, considering only relevant details and acknowledging any feedback constructively is crucial to a critical approach. Learning how to identify what the problem is and deconstructing it to solve it efficiently are important strategies for critical thinking.

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