I have a degree, why should I bother about soft skills

11 May, 2016
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If you want a successful career, you must brush up your soft skills

The dictionary definition of 'soft skills' is "desirable qualities for certain form of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge."

They include common sense, ability to deal with people and a positive flexible attitude.

I would say soft skills is all of the above and a lot more. It includes skills such as communication skills, language capabilities, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, social skills to name a few.

The fact is, they are often undervalued and most of us believe that we do not need soft skills to achieve our goals.

Many times I have heard students and job seekers say, "I have a degree, why should I bother about soft skills?"

While technical skills can land you your first job interview, soft skills will help you crack the interview, grow within your career and help you become a better manager.

Soft skills are most required to manage interpersonal skills, communicate effectively, make a good impression and above all, take and ensure implementation of decisions.

These are some of the skills that will not only get you the job, but will also help you grow further in your career:

Communication Skills 

You would agree that communication is key to everything that we do in our day- to-day life.

Communication helps us to express our feelings, needs etc to our family, friends and peers.

In fact, communication plays an equally pivotal role in your professional space. It is equally important if not more to communicate effectively with your colleagues, clients and bosses.

It makes them aware of the work you have undertaken, your achievements, challenges etc. 

Communications are of various types -- Verbal, written and non verbal (body language). Think about how you communicate with people around you and why many times you feel that they don't understand you, or you don't get what they are trying to tell you.

Not mere communication but effective communication is the key.

Always remember the 7Cs of communication -- clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, and complete.

Awareness of these 7 Cs of communication will help you in improvising your communication skills.

Adaptability 

Every day you would face various changes, challenges and issues at your workplace.

Being flexible or having the ability to adapt to the changes, identify solutions, work with new teams or on your own and successfully complete your tasks will showcase how adaptable you are.

In fact, this skill is pivotal and increasingly corporates are looking for this attribute in their employees.

Behavioural Traits

The way you react to situations defines your attitude and behaviour. Many people form their attitudes by either experiences or by observing people around them.

However, it is up to each of you to understand and decide which attitude will define you the best.

Meanwhile, motivation describes your desire to do things. Motivation may also change depending on the incentive for the work at hand.

It is a crucial element to achieve your goal and you should influence your levels of motivation for your own growth.

Business Etiquette

It is extremely important to present yourself well in the business world. Often the first impression is formed within few minutes of meeting someone.

Various elements such as body language, dressing style, time discipline, homework etc goes a long way in making a great impression.

If you are meeting people of other nationalities, read up about their country, language, culture etc.

Be aware of the religious inclinations and ensure you don't make any remark that may irk them. After all you need to put your best foot forward always.

Leadership Skills

Though not an independent skill, leadership is an amalgamation of many attributes.

Leading people means interacting with them successfully and convincing them to follow your path.

Hence, leadership is a key soft skill for job aspirants, working professionals and entrepreneurs.

Leadership skills also include abilities like taking and assessing risks, decision making, flexibility, trust and loyalty within a team.

While many of the leadership skills needed are based on an individual's character, technically leadership skills and attributes can also be learnt.

Hard skills are the foundation of a successful career and soft skills are the cement.

--

Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, TeamLease Services Limited

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