Cultivate soft skills to climb up the professional ladder

Last Updated 06 February 2020, 02:35 IST

Academic qualifications, technical know-how and experience are undoubtedly crucial considerations in the selection of prospective employees. However, an increasing number of employers are now laying greater emphasis on soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, critical thinking, time management, attention to details and networking.

Insight into personality

There are many reasons why soft skills are being considered more important than ever. For instance, they are social and interpersonal in nature, i.e. they are necessary for employees to work and communicate with each other. Soft skills also give insight into employees’ personality, traits and nature to determine whether they are the right fit for the role. Similarly, these skills make hard skills more effective. As technology-enabled processes and automation take over the modern workspaces, soft skills become more important than ever as they add the element of human touch to businesses.

Industry estimates suggest that 91% of employers cited a lack of soft skills among candidates as a major challenge, and 80% of companies are struggling to find better soft skills in the market.
If you are a fresher in the job landscape, it is imperative that you possess soft skills to increase your employability. It is quite possible that you may already have some of these important skills in some measure; you just need to hone them further.

Listening skills

Sample this: You see your peer sulking and/or staring vacantly at nothing in particular. As a colleague, you can either mind your own business or ask, “Is everything alright?” Those who choose the second option excel at teamwork. A good team player is someone who is a great listener.

Interpersonal skills

Conversation isn’t a choice. It is a social necessity. We don’t live by ourselves. We are a dependent species. By shutting out the world with mobile phones, people never speak a word at meetings. Remember to pocket the phone and open your mouth when you are out by yourself and there are strangers around.

Critical thinking

Just because there are tools that can simplify tasks, don’t depend on them. Work the brain for things that are known, but have to be dug out. Go to Google for queries only it can answer.
By refraining from taking the help of technology for every single thing, people can think better on their feet and can sharpen their critical thinking skills.

Time management

Wake up early and schedule your time to accomplish all your tasks. Be punctual and respect the time of others.

Leadership skills

Leaders need to have exemplary ethics to inspire others. When involved in an argument, don’t fight the person, but the point.

When others are involved in an argument; don’t take sides, take a balanced stand.
Remember anger is not an emotion, but a choice. Choose against it.

Admit mistakes as that’s the only way to learn from them. Express gratitude by saying thank you for any and every kind word or gesture from anyone.

(The writer is with KGiSL Institute of Technology, Coimbatore)

(Published 06 February 2020, 02:35 IST)

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