Professional Readiness is a Core Learning Outcome for all Virginia Community Colleges. At NOVA, we seek to prepare students for the next step in their life plan—whether it is joining the workforce or transferring to a four-year institution. Individuals exhibiting professional readiness work well with others and display situationally and culturally appropriate demeanor and behavior. “Soft skills” such as communication, motivation, leadership, work ethic, and teamwork are a part of professional readiness, as are the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing, the ability to take responsibility for actions, arrive on time, and treat others with respect. The following are some “soft skills” that are outcomes or components of Professional Readiness:
Oral Communication: Oral Communication skills include maintaining open, ethical, and professional interactions with others. Persons possessing effective oral communication skills share ideas and express opinions effectively on a team, one-on-one, and during a presentation.
Digital Technology: Using technology ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals is essential in the twenty-first century. Individuals with skills in digital technology adapt to new and emerging trends to create effective digital projects.
Teamwork: Solving complex problems or creating something innovative often happens in groups/teams. Maintaining constructive interpersonal relationships is essential to working effectively in groups or teams. This entails negotiating and managing interpersonal conflict among team members with diverse perspectives.
Ethical Reasoning: This aspect of professional readiness requires people to assess their values and behaviors inside a given social context. Persons employing Ethical Reasoning will recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how diverse ethical perspectives may be applied to those settings, and consider the ramifications of alternative actions.
Leadership: Leadership skills entail three essential abilities:
- Effective interpersonal skills to coach and develop others’ professional skills and utilize the strengths of others to achieve common goals.
- Emotional intelligence, which is the ability to assess and manage one’s emotions in order to guide and motivate others.
- Effective management skills to organize, prioritize, and delegate work.
Cultural Awareness/Sensitivity: Cultural awareness allows people to recognize the implicit norms and rules of their society which in turn allows them to understand that differences in behaviors stem from differences in culture.” Cultural Sensitivity also involves the ability to value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures and groups (e.g., age, gender, race). Such persons would demonstrate openness, inclusivity, and sensitivity.