I’m sure that by now we are all familiar with the term Soft Skills, but do we realize how important soft skills are to us as students? Once we have completed our education we then look for careers seeking employment, thus we enter into the professional world. At this point it is safe to say that we have perfected our hard skills but we also need to perfect our soft skills if we wish to be successful in our careers.
Our hard skills usually develop while we are in school. These skills include what is taught by our teachers such as reading, writing, science, mathematics and others. Put simply hard skills are our academic skills, experience and the level of expertise we have developed. Nevertheless these skills are equally important because they also enable you to perform well at a job. As far as the term soft skills goes it includes communication, interpersonal, personal grooming, computer and language usage, leadership, influencing, creativity, professional and awareness skills from a broader level. In simple words soft skills are traits and habits of an individual.
The soft skills that employers look for are the ability of an individual to compromise, negotiate and persuade, doing a job thoroughly and correctly, the ability to admit and correct mistakes, the way the person presents oneselve, courteous, honesty and integrity, flexibility and adaptability, problem solving abilities (ability to see things from a different perspective), someone who enjoys mentoring and teaching and is also open to learning and loves to learn , confident but humble, ability to lead but also work as part of a diverse team, having common sense, the ability to understand and follow directions as well as the ability to think intuitively should problems arise, someone who can analyze a problem and implement a solution and who is optimistic.
In today’s day and age merely perfecting hard skills alone isn’t enough especially in a competitive world like ours. Every year there are plenty of qualified students competing for the very same job and only those individuals who possess qualities apart from academics are selected. This is because companies are now looking to hire individuals who can perform multiple tasks apart from their expertise. Since companies engage in different activities they look for individuals possessing a fair amount of soft skills so that they can give them different tasks. Hiring individuals to perform specific tasks isn’t feasible or economical for them due to the competition faced by companies as well. Therefore, it is essential for schools and colleges to focus on developing the soft skills of their students apart from their academic achievements.
There are various ways that educational institutes can assist in developing the soft skills of their students. Schools or Colleges can get their students to participate in group discussions, projects, assignments, presentations, role plays, quizzes, team debates and team presentations, extracurricular and other activities that require a lot of field work. This will definitely help students a long way as it addresses the need of the hour. Such activities give students an opportunity to explore the other areas that they have not yet explored. This enables students to realize what their other strengths are and their possible weaknesses. This gives them an insight into who they really are and simultaneously preparing them for the corporate world. Engaging students in such activities develop their soft skills to a large extent namely leadership, team building, communication skills, presentation skills, personal grooming raises awareness and develops their creative skills too. It exposes them to a large magnitude of things within a limited amount of time, giving them enough room to nurture these skills under guidance.
This ensures the student’s over all development by developing their soft skills apart from their academic achievements. It also increases their chances of employment as well. As these individuals have the soft skills that most companies look for when selecting its employees.