Career Readiness 101: How to Tap into your Potential & Landing your first Job

Welcome to the first of many post that will land you your dream job!

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well it is.

See, you don’t need this blog or this post to teach you how to get a job. Despite what you’ve heard or what you’ve experience, landing yourself a job or even you dream job is quite simple and the potential to do so lives within you. 

The hardest part is getting started. Often times its lack of self-confidence. You may look at yourself and think, well who would want to hire me? Or I shouldn’t apply to that, I don’t even qualify!

I know the feeling, because I’ve been there. But I recognize that I am privileged to attend a notable institution, which has provided me with opportunities to professionally develop my skills and teach me how to utilize my potential to obtain a degree and land my dream job. But just because this is my reality, it doesn’t mean it can’t be yours.

That is why today I wanted to share and discuss what career readiness means, why it matters and how to tap into your own potentials to prepare you for your first job search and future career.

To begin, I wanted to share with you some quick facts:

Issues Facing First Generation College Students provided by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE):

The reason why I wanted to highlight these common issues faced by first generations college students, is because as a first generation college student myself, I’ve dealt with each and every one of these issues without having the knowledge that they could help me tap into my professional potential. Often times I thought of myself as unprepared, too busy, or unqualified because of the many barriers discussed above.

And perhaps you’re reading this and asking yourself, how does this apply to me if I’m not a student? Maybe you’ve worked all your life and school never caught your attention? Maybe you feel hopeless because now you’re stuck working overtime at a low-paying, overburden job? Does this sound familiar?

Truthfully, we all have our barriers. But what I want you to do for me is rethink the obstacles you’re facing and imagine them being highlights to what makes you a potential employee at someone’s company.

Let’s take Omar for example:

Omar got his GED after working for four years at the steel mill company in the northern side of Chicago. He works first shift and just last year he was able to buy his first home. He is the bread winner in his family, where he supports his two younger siblings, mother and Rottweiler Bruce. Occasionally in the summer he does side jobs for his friends and family members in construction work. Omar is hard working and knows how to budget his money. Despite how tired he may be, he takes pride in being able to provide for his family. Omar is a goal setter. Despite having to pay for his mother’s medications, help pay for his sibling schooling, and other miscellaneous bills, Omar knows he could make more money and ultimately enjoy life more if he obtained a salary job. Omar wants to go back to school, get his associate’s degree and ideally apply for a job that will help him get his foot in the door. But Omar feels stuck.

Omar’s story isn’t uncommon, and despite how little we know of the details of his life we know that he feels stuck but has goals for himself, just like each and every one of us.

Reading over Omar’s story I can tell you that he’s on the right path to being career ready. You may ask why? Well here’s why:

The NACE developed a definition and additionally identified seven competencies associated with career readiness based off research implemented by employers all across the country.

They defined Career Readiness to be the achievement and demonstration of necessary capabilities that prepare a college graduate for a successful transition into the workforce.

In relation to the definition, here are the seven competencies associated with career readiness:

  1. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  2. Oral/Written Communications
  3. Teamwork/Collaboration
  4. Digital Technology
  5. Leadership
  6. Professionalism/Work Ethic
  7. Career Management

Now if we refer back to Omar’s story and apply what the NACE tells us about career readiness, then we can say that based off this information, Omar is:

  • A Critical Thinker because he knows how to budget his money, which allowed him to buy a house.
  • A Leader because he supports his family and takes initiative by setting goals and obtaining his GED.
  • Has Work Ethic because he works full-time at the steel mill and also works side jobs in construction.
  • Has Teamwork attributes because despite how tired he may be from working, he takes pride in being able to support his family and work with his family & friends in side jobs.


Already off this list, Omar touches four out of the seven competencies!

Now, I know what you may be thinking, so what if Omar meets these competencies, he’s still stuck?

Well you have a point, and this is where I was stuck myself. But this is where the beauty of time and resources come in.

Like Omar, we all have the potential to meet all seven of the career readiness competencies, which will prepare us for our dream career and you don’t need a college degree to do so.

Whether you’re a student or someone in Omar’s situation, once you’ve looked into what qualities you carry, are able to explain these qualities and apply them to the expectations or requirements sought out by employers; with some self-confidence, you can sell yourself and LAND THAT DREAM JOB. It’s that easy!

Now that we know what Career Readiness means, let’s move into what’s next?

It’s important that you organize yourself in order to understand and explain your professional potential. Self-assessments are a great resources in taking what you know and connecting them to what matters. Once you’ve done that, the next step is creating a resume. I will talk about resume building in a later post this month. But for now, I ask that you take the first step and tap into your hidden potentials. Push yourself to see passed your barriers as negatives and think about all the amazing qualities you have.

I will share a couple of links below that will help you get started. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment below or just shoot me a message. I would be glad to help to the best of my abilities.

Career Readiness Resources:


More on Career Readiness:

Who Is the NACE?