Competencies for New Professionals

By Marcie Levine

Competencies for new professionals has been on my mind lately. My son graduated from university this past May, and just got his first ‘real’ job as an analyst. 

He is technically qualified to be an analyst, but as I know from years of OD, assessment and coaching work, technical skills are just one piece of the puzzle on the way to a successful career. 

Working on technical skills while concurrently working on how to manage change, focus on being collaborative and honing our communication skills gives us the best chance to be successful in our work life.

So, I reviewed a long list of behaviors, organized by competencies/topics, that I thought would help guide him in this first professional job. 

I wanted the list to be short enough that he would read it (more than once), and yet long enough to really have some depth. 

As I was assembling this list it occurred to me that this list can be a good guide to others like him, just starting out (and not a bad refresher list for those of us who have been in the workplace a while).

Here is the list. What do you think? Is there something I missed? Or something that would not be one of your top 40 behaviors on the list?

List of competencies for young professionals


Shows resilience in the face of constraints and frustrations

Accepts responsibility for mistakes

Brings conflicts and disagreements into the open and attempts to resolve them collaboratively

Persists in achieving goals despite obstacles and opposition


Consistently uses a positive approach in working with people, challenges, and problems

Is a reliable team member

Actively contributes as a team member to achieve results

Maintains smooth, effective working relationships

When working with others, regularly generates new ideas


Communicates clearly, concisely and in an organized manner 

Makes clear and convincing presentations

Practices active listening to understand before being understood

Produce reports, proposals, and other documents that are accurate and meet the quality expectations of the recipient

Seeks to understand others views and priorities

Customer Focus

Anticipates and addresses emerging customer needs

Clearly communicates customer needs/requirements

Demonstrates a customer service focus within the organization

Listens carefully to customers to determine their goals, needs and expectations


Consistently treats others with respect

Keeps commitments

Keeps sensitive and personal information confidential

Models a work ethic of achievement and excellence

Respectful of gender and cultural differences

Shows consistency in principles, values and behavior

Managing Change

Copes with unclear lines of authority and ambiguous situations

Remains productive when dealing with change

Contributes ideas and resources to help realize desired changes

Is flexible in dealing with changing or new circumstances

Problem Solving / Decision Making

Generates innovative ideas and solutions to problems

Considers a broad range of issues or factors in making decisions

Makes effective decisions in a timely manner

Takes initiative to solve problems

Results Driven

Handles day-to-day work challenges confidently and routinely

Consistently produces quality results

Demonstrates strong industry, business and technical knowledge

Has high performance standards and expectations


Actively requests feedback for personal improvement

Eagerly pursues new knowledge, skills, and methods

Recovers quickly from setbacks

Knows own strengths and limitations

Ready to get started?

About the author

Marcie Levine

Marcie Levine

Prior to founding SurveyConnect, Marcie had more than twelve-years of experience in HR, both as a consultant and in several corporate positions. As an HR consultant, she worked on a variety of client assignments, including the design and implementation of surveys. She created SurveyConnect to streamline and simplify the process of survey creation and administration. Marcie has published articles about 360 feedback process in trade magazines, including the International Society for Performance Improvement, Selling Power, T+D Magazine, and Quirk’s Marketing Research Review.