NACE's Competency Symposium

New for Fall 2023!

Employer Track

Employer Track

You asked, and we listened! We’re excited to bring a full program dedicated to Competencies and Talent Acquisition to address the unique challenges employers face.

Peer Networking

Peer Networking

Exchange insights, ideas, and questions with other attendees in our new Coffee and Connect session – a casual conversation in themed breakout rooms to close out your day.

Product Showcases

Product Showcases

Get a peek at what’s on the market. Explore cutting-edge, career readiness business solutions that can help you and your organization operationalize your competency initiatives.

Take Note:

For those who’ve come to know and love NACE’s annual Competency Symposium, this signature event will be held each fall.

Program Themes

The Fall 2023 Competency Symposium features four program themes:

Learn from subject matter experts about how to establish a culture of awareness and learning among students, campus collaborators, and partners and the importance and impact competencies have on student success, institutional effectiveness, and graduate outcomes.

Hear from expert colleagues about assessing competency proficiency among students, approaches to sharing assessment results with students to enhance proficiency development over time, tactics to measure the overall proficiency of student cohorts, and methods to gauge the impact of an organizations competency program.

Employers now prioritize competency proficiency as more important than GPA, and in some cases, major when engaging candidates. Learn how to coach students to contextually articulate their competency proficiency to employers in cover letters, resumes, interviews, and other interactions with employers.

Hone strategies and practices that leverage competencies/skills within the talent acquisition life cycle including diversifying your internship and entry-level workforce, internship programs, candidate selection, interviewing process, etc.

What You'll Learn

Explore strategic approaches to competency implementation, including:

  • integrating career readiness competencies on campus
  • working with faculty to help students connect classroom to career
  • partnering with internship employers to provide real-world experience to students.

You'll come away with practical and tested strategies and tactics that can help you prepare your students or early career talent for successful and fulfilling careers.


Break out your coffee mug, tea, or other caffeinated beverage of choice, and jump start the day with us in this high-energy welcome session! Join the dynamic Matthew Brink, Chief Content and Programs Officer of NACE, as he provides a preview of what you can anticipate throughout the event.


  • Matthew Brink, Chief Content and Programs Officer, NACE

Details coming soon!

How do you know you’re funny? People laugh at your jokes! How do you know if your students are career ready? Employers tell you! In 2015, surveyed hundreds of employer members to assess the importance of various competencies in the workplace, resulting in the eight we know today. Today, career centers mostly ask employers for feedback on students’ career readiness toward the end of an internship when the information is least useful. The key word is readiness, so it is critical that career centers understand how employers are perceiving their students before they are hired. This knowledge would better inform our programming and communications around career readiness competencies. To do this at Santa Clara University, the Career Center implemented a successful new post–Career Fair assessment strategy of asking participating employers to rate our students’ level of career readiness compared with other college-level candidates. We focused on three competencies—Career and Self-Development, Communication, and Professionalism—which employers could more easily observe and assess in the context of a career fair. We used a five-point scale ranging from Far Above Average to Far Below Average, with an additional sixth option of N/A, meaning I did not interact with enough students. Across five career fairs, we collected this feedback from 65 employer participants (26.2% response rate). This presentation will focus on what we learned from the feedback, how we responded to the feedback, and our future plans for assessing career readiness when it matters, which is before a student starts their career!


  • Dylan Houle, Executive Director, Career Center, Santa Clara University

Robert Brondo states, "Over the past few years, the need for business acumen skills as a…competency has become a critical focus of most CEOs." Yet, some studies show that 90% of professionals don’t understand the key components that are important to CEOs and the overall success of the company. This webinar will explain what business acumen is and how many of NACE’s career readiness competencies are incorporated into it. It will also provide ways for trainers and coaches to teach business acumen to students/new hires in order to help them become recognized, valued, and respected members of an organization.


  • Patricia Simpson, Director of Academic Advising and Career Services - School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

At the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), we recognized the need for early career-related interventions for our students. To address this, we embarked on a transformative journey to revise the UAB Blazer Core Curriculum. Our innovative approach involved integrating two career-related learning objectives into all First-Year Experience courses across every academic program. This initiative ensures that every first-year student at UAB receives a career-related intervention in their first semester, fostering a culture of awareness and learning. Our presentation will delve into the process of this curriculum revision; the partnerships formed with faculty, campus partners, and external collaborators; and the significant impact this initiative has had on student success, institutional effectiveness, and graduate outcomes.


  • Dr. Brandon Wright, Director of UAB Career Center Internship Coordinator, UAB College of Arts and Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham

In the summer of 2021, the Texas A&M Career Center created new pathways and launched a Career Readiness Bootcamp Badge program to help students to prepare for the fall recruiting season. Through benchmarking other certification and badge programs, we developed a program that requires students to complete a series of activities and attend five virtual workshops during a six-week period. At the conclusion of our bootcamp, 43% of students who engaged in the program completed over half of the program and 11% obtained their badge.

During this presentation, we will cover the following as it relates to a summer certification program:

Overview of Our Program

  • Brief Intro to Conceptualization- Benchmarking Other Badge Programs and Developed Learning Objectives
  • Planning Topics, Workshops, and Tasks
  • What We Learned, Changed, and Implemented in our Second Year
  • Assessment, Data, and Outcomes
  • Future Idealizations

We will empower attendees to create their own version of a certification/badge program on their campus.


  • Amarette Renieri, Assistant Director Career Services, Texas A&M University Career Center
  • Caitlin Dartez, Associate Director Career Services, Texas A&M University Career Center

In this dynamic and interactive session, we’ll establish a culture of awareness and learning by seamlessly integrating competencies into the technology curriculum. Together, we'll collaborate with faculty, campus partners, employers, and alumni to discover practical strategies that have a positive impact on student success, institutional effectiveness, and graduate outcomes.

Throughout the session, we'll engage in interactive discussions, share real-life examples, and draw from experiences in presenting to diverse audiences, including NACE, Wharton MBA Students, Temple University Alumni Association, and MBA CSEA. Your participation is vital as we create a space for exchanging ideas and insights.

This session will provide actionable takeaways and a roadmap for effectively integrating competencies into your tech curriculum. These strategies will drive enhanced student success, boost institutional effectiveness, and contribute to positive graduate outcomes.

This session is designed for career services professionals, talent acquisition specialists, faculty, and employers seeking practical solutions to enhance competency-based programs and attract top early career tech talent. We’ll address the unique challenges faced in the ever-evolving tech industry, ensuring the content is relevant, actionable, and tailored to your specific needs.

This session will guide you toward success in fostering a competency-driven culture within your tech programs.


  • Rebecca Krick, Recruitment Advisor, Early Careers Recruiting Technology Development Program, The Cigna Group

As for all student success outcomes, the assessment of students’ core career competency development is a critical component of career readiness initiatives that enables program planning and evaluation. The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) at the University of Minnesota developed a self-assessment that is grounded theoretically and validated empirically to help students in the development of their core career competencies. Regular and ongoing assessment of competencies is essential to helping students understand the trajectory of their growth across their curricular and co-curricular educational experience. It also helps faculty and staff to guide and support students in their educational journey and to successfully integrate competency development in academic and non-academic programming and activities.

To do this efficiently, reliably, and with scale in mind, CLA designed 10 unique self-assessment instruments that are an integral part of RATE (Reflect, Articulate, Translate, Evaluate), a learning process and tool that facilitates teaching and assessment of career competency development and provides valuable feedback on the process to both students and faculty/staff.

With over 70,000 RATEs completed, CLA has established the reliability, validity, and utility of this approach and students have received feedback on their competency development. Ultimately, the process helps students translate their liberal arts education to achieve career success.


  • Judith Anderson, Director of Career Readiness, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Ascan Koerner, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota

In this presentation, we will explore such practical strategies as visual goal setting and guides to help visual learners imagine and shape their career paths. With a focus on the unique learning style of visual learners, we will provide actionable insights and tools to support their career exploration and decision-making process. Visual learners, who comprise a significant percentage of college students, often face challenges in traditional career planning approaches that primarily cater to auditory and reading/writing learners. We believe that by tapping into their visual strengths, visual learners can find clarity and inspiration in envisioning their ideal career paths. By the end of this session, participants will have practical resources and strategies to help visual learners imagine their careers and make informed decisions based on their unique learning style. They will leave with a renewed sense of confidence and empowerment in pursuing their professional goals.


  • Nora Gnabasik, Career Counselor, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Faculty are in a unique position to support the career readiness, mobility, and occupational wellness of students. Yet faculty don’t always feel equipped to embed career readiness skills into their courses. Designed and facilitated by faculty, in conjunction with the Office of Career & Professional Development, the Career Readiness Academy is a cohort-based course developed to address this need. The Academy offers faculty some clear insight, new ideas to use in the classroom, a chance at scholarly activity, and practical tools for embedding career readiness into the curriculum. The Career Readiness Academy is a joint effort supported by the Provost’s Office, Teaching Center, Faculty Senate, and Office of Career & Professional Development. Although the Academy highlights all eight of the major career readiness competencies, the primary focus of this presentation is the Equity and Inclusion competency. The Career Readiness Academy supports faculty who are preparing a Diversity Impact Statement for New Courses & Proposals. The goal of this workshop is to equip participants to enhance their ability to teach career readiness and to prepare students for success in the workplace. We plan to achieve these ends by providing a framework with tools and strategies to embody a posture of belonging through a deeper understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This presentation will provide an overview of the Career Readiness Academy while showcasing practical strategies for embedding career readiness into the curriculum. Participants will benefit from resources that can be used beyond the presentation, including course materials and activities.


  • Dr. Devin DeLaughter, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Belmont University
  • Dr. Sally Barton-Arwood, Professor, Belmont University
  • Mary Claire Dismukes, Director, Career & Professional Development, Belmont University

The field of Career Services continues to evolve and change rapidly in light of the future of work. Students and recent graduates need clarity and a vision but don’t know where to begin. Many students struggle with the differences between interests and passions and also don’t know how to connect them to purpose. We believe every student has a purpose and begin with the WHY. We help transform passions into skills because skills are the new currency. To move the needle on career readiness, UC San Diego introduced 12 career competencies and a co-curricular record (CCR) that serves as a career readiness badge and is tied to every student’s story and transcript.

This fall, we are intensifying our efforts by launching the Triton Career Readiness Passport (pilot), a brand-new innovative career readiness tool that helps students begin their career and life journey toward meaningful work. The digital passport engages students through a plethora of career-related preparedness activities, reflections, and events. It serves as a personal and professional development checklist. We mention "personal" first, as we begin with the person. It is intended to help students build confidence and skills that further develop their personal brand. Students build a career profile, align a portfolio of experiences, and attain Triton Stamps for attending career and life design activities that help them better understand themselves and the situations that bring out the best in them. Using the institution’s competencies as the foundation of this robust career readiness framework assessment, the passport is a dynamic framework intended to thread collective impact efforts and integrate learning across the entire campus.


  • Hassan Akmal, Executive Director, Career & Professional Development, UC San Diego
  • Tod Oliviere, Director, Student Employment & Career Development, UC San Diego
  • Megan Martinez-Montano, Senior Associate Director, Career & Professional Development (STEM), UC San Diego
  • Bianca Portal, Associate Director, Career Development & Industry Engagement (Engineering), UC San Diego
  • Michael Stromayer, Associate Director, Career Development & Industry Engagement(The Colleges), UC San Diego
  • Mike Zucker, Associate Director, Career Development and Industry Engagement (School of Biological Sciences), UC San Diego

For too long, higher education and corporate partners have subsisted on a handoff model, sending students to each other via internship or graduation, but not partnering to offer holistic educational opportunities. For a growing population of learners, however, the handoff model is simply not the reality of how work and education co-exist. In order to remain relevant, inclusive, and produce career-ready graduates, higher education institutions and employers must transition to a holistic, competency-based model for experiential learning. This session offers an example of how Saxbys, a national education company, partners with colleges and universities to offer students the best of what both institutions have to offer.


  • Rosie Clark-Parsons, Saxby's
  • Lillian Stott, Saxby's
  • Liz Langemak, Saxby's

How can higher education prepare future HR leaders? By infusing high-impact and experiential learning in its curriculum design. Southern New Hampshire University has answered the call to develop a bachelor’s degree in HR management that embodies NACE’s eight career readiness competencies. By doing so, we have implemented an innovative approach to high-impact learning through our virtual modality, to mitigate the impending challenges the future of work will bring to employers. SNHU understands that HR leaders need to be prepared to partner with companies in navigating existing issues such as distributed workgroups, emerging technology, and globalization of the workforce. Our presentation will illustrate how we have achieved a fusion of high impact and experiential learning in our curriculum design and demonstrate the impact to our graduates’ ability to meet the needs of employers and the ever-evolving workforce.

Our curriculum was created by leveraging the professional insights of employers, career services professionals, and HR practitioners via interview sessions. These respondents have served as academic partners and educators to our students. The result of our research influenced the design of a virtual curriculum that includes authentic human resource–based case simulations. These have cultivated HR competencies that prepare students to earn professional certifications in HR, demonstrating a lifelong commitment to professional development. Our students are not being tasked with simply memorizing employment law or HR terminology. Instead, they are tasked with learning these competencies, being resourceful in utilizing data to inform decisions, and solving problems. Join us and learn how we did it!


  • Sonja Moffett, Career Engagement Partner, Business Adjunct Instructor, Southern New Hampshire University
  • Deborah Gogliettino, Associate Dean, Business Academics, Southern New Hampshire University

NACE's Job Outlook 2023 highlights a gap between the top three competencies employers value and their rating of recent graduates. At the same time, first- and second-year undergraduates often struggle to find real-world experiences in which they can develop those career readiness competencies. Moreover, once they gain experiences, they do not always know how to articulate competency proficiency to future employers.

To address these challenges, Northeastern University’s Employer Engagement and Career Design Office developed a pilot program for first- and second-year undergraduates called the Northeastern University Virtual Integrated Experiential Workshop (NU VIEW). NU VIEW offers students an opportunity to work on an industry challenge while simultaneously engaging in career development.

The program allows students to explore an industry and build meaningful connections with employers early in their undergraduate careers. As an interdisciplinary opportunity, students across the institution have an opportunity to come together to participate in cohorts. By the end of the month-long workshop, students have engaged in problem solving, gained professional skills working on a presentation for an employer, collaborated with their peers, and practiced articulating these achievements in resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, and more.

This presentation will provide an overview of the development and implementation of NU VIEW, integrating the employer and student experience. Presenters will share data-driven insights on the successes and challenges of the pilot program and explain their vision for the future expansion of the program. Attendees will leave with an understanding of how they can implement a similar program for their own undergraduate populations.


  • Dr. Emma Newcombe, Assistant Director, Northeastern University, Office of Employer Engagement and Career Design
  • Sumana Northover, Director of Talent Engagement, Northeastern University
  • Lara Petersen, Associate Director, Northeastern University
  • Diana Ghattas-Antony, Assistant Director, Northeastern University


  • Niesha Ziehmke, Senior Director for Career Pathways, New York Jobs CEO Council

Career Readiness programming at William & Mary incorporates the NACE Career Competencies intentionally during the design process to demonstrate them explicitly to participants. This session will share two examples that build competency awareness and development. Between the two examples, attendees will see how this can work both in-person and virtual, synchronously and asynchronously.

MACE: My Active Career Exploration is a six-week cumulative workshop series targeting first- and second-year students to actively engage in the process of exploring careers from all angles to learn to make confident, informed choices. The program is highly structured with self-reflective exercises, assessment tools, research resources, and personalized planning templates. The NACE Competencies are introduced during the registration process, shared throughout the syllabus, and assessed at the end of the program.

Career Readiness Foundations is an asynchronous virtual program assisting participants with their basic professional development materials, including resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and behavioral interview preparation. Through Blackboard, students and alumni access a collection of top tips, website links, articles, and recorded workshops with relevant competencies highlighted in each section to reinforce development.

Attendees will learn ways to represent the NACE Competencies through icons, registration, syllabi, and assessments to successfully increase student awareness of what the competencies are and how they are building them across their experiences. Attendees will receive copies of program descriptions, syllabi, and assessments. Participants will have opportunities to brainstorm ways to incorporate similar strategies on their own campuses using a tool called Mural to share their ideas with all others.


  • Kelly O'Shaughnessy, Director of Career Readiness Pathways, Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement, William & Mary

In this engaging and informative presentation, we will delve into the essential elements of building career readiness to empower individuals with the skills and knowledge to thrive in today’s dynamic job market. Williams and the Eastin Center for Career Readiness at Oklahoma State University will offer insights about how their partnership provides practical strategies to students so they can navigate the path to success.


  • Paige Cole, HR Program Manager, Williams
  • Robin Darmon, Director, Eastin Center for Career Readiness at Oklahoma State University
  • Cheyenne Dodson, Talent Acquisition Consultant - Early Career, Williams

Close out the day with one of four moderated breakout rooms to network with other attendees. Share your biggest takeaways and chat about where you go from here. This is meant to be interactive, so attendees are encouraged to share their cameras in these breakouts.

*Schedule subject to change


Who should attend?

Higher ed professionals: administrators, career services and other staff, and faculty who are interested in competency/skill development, implementation, and integration.

College recruiting professionals: HR professionals, internship program managers, and those focused on developing a successful and inclusive workforce are also encouraged to attend.

Don't miss this opportunity to network and learn from experts in the field. Register today to join us for NACE's Fall 2023 Competency Symposium!

Interested in becoming a sponsor?

Contact Katrina Schreefer, Senior Manager, Business Development & Outreach, at, 610.625.1020 to learn about our sponsorship packages.

View Sponsorship Packages

I'm so grateful for the models shared in the symposium of the successes that are taking place on other campuses. I've started using several of the ideas and content.