Personal Competencies

Personal competencies include the following: the drive to achieve; self-awareness; self-confidence; self-investing; interpersonal savvy and relationship building skills.

  • Exhibiting a drive to succeed that expands your involvement and engagement in the effort at hand.
  • Ability to accept and incorporate feedback and carefully examine how you are perceived by others, building your self-awareness.
  • Ability to build on your success to exhibit a self-confidence that is reassuring to others.
  • Interest in constantly developing your skills and competencies as a way of investing in your own success.
  • Ability to understand your role in interpersonal and institutional settings and to adjust your behavior as necessary.
  • Ability to build substantive relationships and connections in professional settings.

Gabriela FemeniaGabriela Femenia L'00
"The skills highlighted by the Center on Professionalism are key to directing your career, instead of allowing it to be driven by circumstances. Developing those "soft" skills will also put you at an advantage over your peers who haven't dedicated the same time and effort."


Ben SchiresonBen Schireson L'02, Litigation Associate, Wachtell Lipton
"Penn Law provides an excellent background for legal practice. With that in mind, don't be afraid to take risks in your professional career. Reach out to alumni and be sure to stay in touch with the contacts that you make during your career—you never know where those connections may take you."


Alex Bokor L'02, Assistant County Atty, Miami-Dade County Attorney's Office
"My professional relationships have been vital—from the big firm to the boutique and then to the government; the relationships I have formed have been key to my being in the right place at the right time for me. I do not think it was simple luck—in New York I started my career with a built in group of hundreds of Penn law lawyers, and in Miami, for example, it was relationships I have with other Penn Law alums that allowed me to find out (and apply for) my current job."

We have grouped the professional skills into five broad categories: