Professional Skills Certificate
For 15 years now, the Career Centre has been offering a range of courses and advisory services that prepare students for the global job market of tomorrow. Due to the ongoing globalisation and digital transformation, this job market is not only changing ever more rapidly, it is also being influenced by diverse and unpredictable crises.
The importance of cross-disciplinary, transferable skills in the job market is constantly increasing.  Therefore, the Career Centre is committed to helping the students of the University of Würzburg develop their own profiles and become persons that think and act in a sustainable, responsible and innovative way.
We have many years of experience gained from our own teaching activities and invite professionals from the business world as external speakers that are tried and tested and are constantly being evaluated. This is why our students can be sure that the courses we offer in the seven skill areas (see column on the right-hand side) offer quality content and will equip them with skills that will enhance their profiles. Observing the job market, we have identified a range of transferable skills that are essential for success in the workplace: communication skills (including in foreign languages), project and time management, conflict resolution and, last but not least, resilience. All these skills can be obtained by the participants of our programme.
By earning the Professional Skills Certificate, which students can attach to their application portfolios, students also demonstrate that they possess a high degree of self-organisation and strong decision-making skills that will enable them to successfully meet the demands of the working world 4.0.
How is the certificate structured?
1. The first step towards earning the certificate is to attend a potential analysis session. In that session, you will learn to recognize, assess and develop your own potential and prepare a skills profile. During that reflection process, you will identify the skill areas in which you should develop further, both professionally and personally. On the basis of your reflections, you will then select suitable courses for (phase 2 of) the certificate.
2. In the workshop phase, you will have to attend 7 different courses - 4 seminars of at least 4 hours each and 3 presentations of at least 90 minutes each. Remember that you will have to cover all of the 7 skill areas. You will receive one Career Credit Point for each course you have attended. When you have 7 credits on your CC Collection Card, you will receive the certificate.
3. To receive the certificate, you will have to submit your completed CC Collection Card to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional skills - what are they all about?
The term professional skills (PS) refers to the willingness and ability of the individual to act in a considered as well as individually and socially responsible manner in professional, social and private contexts. The aim is to promote the development of PS in students and thereby prepare them in the best possible way for entering the working world 4.0.
Since the boundaries between the individual skill areas are often fluid and not always clear-cut, we have suggested some suitable courses for each area below.
Professional competence are defined as the ‘willingness and ability to perform tasks and solve problems in a goal-oriented, appropriate, methodical and independent manner on the basis of your professional knowledge and skills and to assess the result’ (Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, 2021, p. 15, own translation). The term therefore refers to specific knowledge and skills to carry out work activities typical of a given occupation. This often also requires context-specific knowledge acquired in a particular field of activity, industry or position.
Each semester, the Career Centre offers a wide range of courses that equip students with professional competence:
- Presentations about career exploration
- Ringvorlesung Geisteswissenschaftler (Lecture series for humanities students)
- ‘Bewerbungsbasics für …’ – Reihe (‘Job application 101 for …’ series)
- Journalismus/Fachjournalismus-Workshop (Journalism/specialist journalism workshop)
More information about professional competence can be found here.
The term ‘methodological competence’ is defined as the ‘willingness and ability to proceed in a targeted, planned manner when dealing with tasks and problems’ (Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, 2021, p. 16, own translation). This involves the use of certain working techniques, procedures or learning strategies, for example analytical thinking, systematic-methodical thinking, organisational skills and planning skills. Methodological skills help to develop and successfully apply discipline-specific competence.
Each semester, the Career Centre offers a wide range of courses that equip students with methodological competence:
- Wie finde ich das richtige Stipendium für mich? (How do I find the grant that is right for me?)
- Assessment-Center-Training (Assessment centre practice)
- Projektmanagement (Project management)
- Moderne Managementmethoden – sich und andere fühlen (Modern methods of management – feeling yourself and others)
- Gründen kompakt: Auf dem Weg zum eigenen Start-up (Founding your own start-up)
More information about methodological competence can be found here.
Communication is understood as social interaction between two or more people for the purpose of exchanging information, thoughts, experiences etc. within a current situation. First of all, communication rests on an interest in the success of the communication on the part of all participants.
Further basic components are, among other things, a shared sign system (e.g. a common language), the ability to assign meanings to signs received and the ability to situate signals within the state of knowledge of the other and to draw conclusions from it. In addition, communication always consists largely of nonverbal symbols, for example body posture, eye contact, gestures (Ebert 2018, p.19).
Here it becomes clear that the communication competence in the broadest sense is not a single skill that can be isolated from other skills. Rather, communication skills comprise a ‘whole bundle of skills and competencies, each of which is used simultaneously and in different weights depending on the situation and context’ (Nünning, Zierold 2008, p. 96, own translation).
In a narrower sense, the term ‘communication skills’ is defined as the ‘willingness and ability to understand and shape communicative situations’ (Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, 2021, p. 15, own translation). This includes communicating constructively, effectively and consciously. A knowledge of important communication models and concepts as well as concrete communication techniques is a prerequisite for this.
Each semester, the Career Centre offers a wide range of courses that equip students with communication competence:
- Rhetorik Allgemein (General rhetoric)
- Sprech- und Redetraining bei Referaten und Vorträgen (Speaking skills training in preparation for presentations and talks)
- Stimmtraining I und II (Voice training I and II)
More information about communication competence can be found here.
The term ‘social competence’ is defined as the ‘willingness and ability to live and shape social relationships, to grasp and understand attentions and tensions as well as to engage and communicate with others rationally and responsibly. This includes in particular the development of social responsibility and solidarity’ (Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, 2021, p. 15, own translation).
In summary, it can be said that teamworking and communication skills, empathy and a willingness to compromise are central aspects of social competence. It is important to note here that there are no hard criteria for measuring how strong or weak an individual's social competence are. How well someone works in a team cannot be determined objectively or measured on a scale but depends on the individual situations.
The Career Centre offers a wide range of courses that equip students with social competence:
- Konflikte souverän meistern (Dealing with conflict professionally)
- Business Smalltalk / Etikette (Business small talk / etiquette)
- Teambuilding (Team building)
More information about social competence can be found here.
First of all, it is important to emphasize that the development of self-competence is a lifelong process. They are not skills that can be fully acquired and perfected within one semester. Nonetheless, it is important to strengthen these skills continually because they are vital to success in the workplace and in your personal life. The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs defines the term ‘self-competence’ as follows:
‘The willingness and ability, as an individual personality, to clarify, think through and assess development opportunities, demands and constraints in the family, at the workplace and in public life, to develop your own talents and to make and develop life plans. It includes qualities such as independence, the ability to handle criticism, self-confidence, reliability as well as a sense of responsibility and duty. It also includes, in particular, the ability to develop reasoned values and a self-determined commitment to values’ (Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, 2021, p. 15, own translation).
In short, ‘those who possess personal skills are able to tackle tasks independently and to perform for themselves, for others and for society’ (Pastoors, 2018, p.43, own translation).
Courses offered in this area include:
- Eine Einführung in Methoden der Persönlichkeitsentwicklung. Wie gehe ich mit Entscheidungen um? (An introduction to methods for personal development and decision making)
- Resilienz - Vortrag und Workshop (Resilience – presentation and workshop)
- Authentizität statt Perfektion (Authenticity instead of perfection)
More information about self-comptence can be found here.
For communication to be successful, we must understand the patterns of thought and action of our counterparts. Therefore, we can only communicate successfully if we are aware of our own culture and how it is different from the cultures of others.
When you look for a suitable definition of the term ‘intercultural competence’, you quickly come across Alexander Thomas, a university lecturer with a special research interest in intercultural psychology. He defines it as follows:
‘Intercultural competence are reflected in the ability to be aware of the cultural conditionality of perception, judgment, feeling and action in yourself and in others and to respect, appreciate, and make productive use of it’ (Thomas 2006, p. 118, own translation).
Equipping students with intercultural skills has increasingly become a central goal of interdisciplinary education in recent years. The reasons for this are, among other things, the global world economy, the global interconnectedness of people and institutions, social migration and the resulting culturally heterogeneous societies. The ‘confrontation with other cultures leads [...] to a critical reflection of our own ways of thinking and acting’ (own translation). Being in contact with other cultures, we can gain experience that can have a lasting influence on our own self-image as well as our general decision-making and responsibility skills.
Intercultural skills are an important resource, especially for those students who aspire to a successful career in an international environment.
The Career Centre offers a wide range of courses that equip students with intercultural competence:
- Virtual Exchange Programme
- Application in English or French
- Infos internationaler Arbeitsmarkt (Information about the international job market)
More information about intercultural competence can be found here.
Digital competence is ‘the safe, critical and responsible use of and engagement with digital technologies for education, training, work and participation in society. It covers information and data literacy, communication and collaboration, media literacy, digital content creation (including programming), security (including digital well-being and competencies related to cybersecurity), copyright issues, problem solving and critical thinking’ (Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, 2021,own translation). The transfer of the human way of life to the digital sphere is also changing the way data, information and knowledge are distributed. An endless amount of these is available to us almost anywhere and anytime. In today's world of work, it is thus not only necessary to be able to find relevant information, but also to be able to use it responsibly.
Courses offered in this area include:
- Virtual Exchange Programme
- Cyber-Knigge 3.0 – für Ihre beste Online-Performance (Cyber etiquette 3.0 – optimise your online performance)
- Aktives Videomarketing (Active video marketing)
More information about digital competence can be found here.
Further information and material:
Our Career Centre work on transversal competencies is stimulated by national and international networking. The sources used for this are continuously collected and documented. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.