In today’s life of excessive pressure and competition, career selection gets more and more important, especially for youngsters. Moreover, it also gets important for them to make the right decision, as it is a question of their future.
There are career councilors waiting to help these young people out. But that is not enough. As there is an excessive increase in the number of aspirants for any job, a solid level of qualification and skill sets are required for a youngster to get a proper job today.
It may vary from field to field of jobs, but the core remains the same, that there is no room for mediocrity. With every passing day, a minimum qualification and skill sets are getting mandatory in order to survive.
Now when we say skill sets, it can be broadly categorized into two parts; hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills, as we know, are prevalent for a long time. They are basically equal as qualifications, certificate courses, or on-job training.
Hard skills are important to even apply for a job; they come under the eligibility criterion. Further, the hard skills are heavily tested and cross checked before an aspirant is hired for the job.
This is one of the reasons why young aspirants today are striving hard to increase their qualifications and other training important for a job. Without those, it gets very difficult to even apply for jobs when you are surrounded by people possessing greater qualifications than yourself. The career councilors, too, advice the same to the aspirants.
The soft skills, on the other hand, are different from hard skills. These are more relevant than ever in today’s increasingly competitive environment.
Soft skills are something that cannot be learned or memorized. They cannot be gained with certificates or training whatsoever. They are mainly interpersonal skills that are present in an individual in his personality.
To define in a precise manner, soft skills are the personality traits that help one to evaluate and analyze certain things. There can be many things present in an individual that can be treated as a soft skill. An aspirant’s communication skills and ability to socialize and befriend valued customers in a short while can be, for example, a very important soft skill.
Anything and everything that one possesses in their nature and character that helps them in their jobs is said to be soft skills.
Types of soft skills:
There can be various types of soft skills; there is no end to the list. There are also more than one approach and view point to this subject.
However, to understand in the simplest yet accurate manner, the following can be the most important types of soft skills required for aspirants in order to avail jobs:
This, as identified today, can be called one of the most needed skills in any job. Without a good and intelligent sense of communication skills, it gets very difficult for youngsters today to deal with their careers. While interviewing for a job, this skill is what is noticed mostly by employers.
One can be accurate in answering questions, but lacking good communication with the interviewer cannot bring good results. Also, communication skills are required in order to maintain relationships with the customers of the company one is working in. This skill is required to negotiate when there is a need and come out with a solution.
This is another major soft skills identified with the corporate world in particular. While hiring an aspirant, the employer largely hinders on this skill. An aspirant’s level of confidence and intelligent answers are looked upon and assessed in this case.
Leadership skills are special; they cannot be taught or trained. They are usually present in some individuals. The more they come up with innovative ideas and convince others about them, the more that person is closer to achieve leadership in a company.
A leader who is able to work in harmony with his team members is loved by all and makes improvement in their careers.
This might sound slightly contrasting from the leadership skill, but in reality, the two are interconnected. Mostly in corporate jobs, a project is divided among a number of employees, who are collectively responsible for the same. In such cases, teamwork becomes a necessary part of the job.
Even in other cases, an individual who solely cares about his own task cannot improve much. This is because of the fact that teamwork is increasingly important. It brings about ideas and creativity from all the members, which helps to come up with excellent innovations. Feedback from a larger number of people helps to bring about efficiency and perfection in any task.
With the growing competition, work places continue challenging their employees. A change in their work arena might bring about panic and confusion. This is what the aspirants need to watch out for. They need to be comfortable with the shifts and changes occurring to their job roles, as well as think of modifications to improve their work conditions. Most companies today try to stick with as many employees as just needed, which mean in case of emergencies, they might use these employees to serve various roles. A job aspirant, therefore, needs to be flexible with changing work environments. They should be clear headed with their goals, and try to do their best under pressurizing situations.
As far as the growing view of a successful workplace is concerned, there is a sense of insecurity that prevails. This is because, with the increasing number of job aspirants, the number of companies is also increasing. It is unfair for a company if an employee leaves the job for another company after getting trained and gaining experience. A workplace, therefore, largely expects a number of work ethics from the employees, which are not official rules, but it is up to the employees to follow the same and develop a bond with their employers. These ethics are small gestures like punctuality, attention towards the work, meeting the deadlines, etc. The more the aspirants try to follow these, the more they gain the trust of their employers.
This can be called one of the most important soft skills. There is no specific definition of these skills. Broadly speaking, they are just like soft skills in general; the skills present inside one’s personality traits. Exercising these skills get extremely important in order to survive and build a good working record in a work place. Being as confident as possible, maintain a good relationship with the employer and the fellow employees, taking an interest in teamwork, generating and receiving feedback, showing a positive attitude and trying to bring about improvements, can be a few of the traits. Of course, there can be lots of such qualities that might help one receive a good appraisal or salary hikes. Thus, these skills need to be obtained and practiced in the workplace, as much as possible.
Importance of soft skills for a career:
As mentioned above, soft skills are much required for developing the career of any individual, looking for a decent job. It is mostly because of this careerist and competitive attitude of the youngsters today that soft skills are gaining more and more importance. For initially, the technical skills, or the hard skills of an aspirant, were considered to be more important. The emphasis would be paid on those who possessed the required skills in the required job fields. But today, the scenario is that almost every youngster is well educated, and possesses the widely needed hard skills. It is difficult to choose from between them, and therefore their possession of soft skills is highly examined.
Promotion and marketing are two most important key skills required today for any private company. The task of attaining these obviously lies with the employees of the company. The different types of soft skills must be present within an individual in order to perform this task. Apart from doing what their technical specialties allow them to do, an employee also needs to build bonds and connect with the customers and convince them for the benefit of their company. They need to have the skills to negotiate and solve problems that are created in the middle of their tasks. They must work in tangent with all their fellow employees, thinking of innovative ideas in the improvement of their company at large.
Interview systems today are based on examining an aspirant’s soft skills, as the hard skills are mostly examined in the previous rounds. They are asked questions where they can showcase their level of confidence, presence of mind, problem-solving approaches, and work culture attitudes. The employers want these qualities and skills in their employees in order to maintain peace and positivity in the workplace, and also attempt to bring about improvement. The productive out-of-the-box ideas, the attitude to use feedback, the ability to lead a team, and the efficiency in solving problems in lesser time, are what make an individual special to their employers.
How to gain soft skills:
Soft skills are usually what an individual possesses as character traits. However, with these skills gaining importance in the field of career, it is compulsory for the youngsters to gain these. It is neither easy nor difficult to do the same. To begin with, one needs to observe people, who they believe possess those traits and qualities. They need to watch them and then practice the same; they might mimic those people if they are unable to come up with individual traits at once.
Aspirants need to work on their communication skills at large. It is one of the most tested skills during interviews. While answering the questions of the interviewer, they need to be focused and stick to the point. They must use their presence of mind to answer those questions. Moreover, they must maintain eye contact to show their confidence level, which creates a good impression.
Speaking as well as writing skills should be practiced in order to gain soft skills. Speaking can be practiced inside casual conversations, the main motive being increasing confidence level while speaking. For most introverts, the skill of confident speaking can be gained with writing. Writing down what you wish to speak during any kind of public speaking or interview helps to gain knowledge of grammatical and paraphrase errors.
To develop interpersonal skills, one needs to be more attentive to their workplace and not merely on their work alone. They need to communicate and build friendships with their bosses, as well as the fellow employees. Apart from this, they need to bond with their customers, and also employees and employers of other companies when there are such meetings between them. This helps to increase awareness of their happenings and workings, which might help in occasions of crisis.
Soft skills like leading a team can be mastered by experience. For that, one needs to try hard convincing his fellow employees that his/her vision and ideas should be followed.
Moreover, one should take initiatives and try to meet the most challenging deadlines. Presence of mind helps in solving the crisis, and the faster one comes up with such ideas, the more he/she is trusted by the other employees. It’s after gaining this trust, and one can become a team leader, which would help foster his/her career and provide more experience for the future.
Therefore, as we have established already, soft skills are extremely important for building careers of the youngsters today, who are constantly out there looking for jobs. Apart from academic qualifications and technical training, the presence of these traits is getting more and more important for them in order to bag a decent job and survive in the same. There can be difficulties initially to gain these skills, but as they say, “Practice makes a man perfect.” Especially in today’s world of growing knowledge and awareness, the young careerist individuals do not comply with compromise, and therefore, there is no holding back on their careers.