- The article speaks of various soft skills required to be industry ready.
- How one should develop soft skills
- The importance of soft skills for students
The title is Loud and Bold only to reiterate the fact that soft skills are as important as your educational knowledge. So, what are soft skills for students?
Simply put, soft skills are personality skills that have an impact on how you work. According to the Oxford Reference Soft skills are competencies that employees possess associated with activities such as customer handling, communication, problem-solving, and teamworking.
According to various surveys, these soft skills are considered by employers to be of very high importance and (in the UK) sadly lacking amongst new recruits.
The definition of soft skills sometimes includes loyalty, enthusiasm, punctuality, and a strong work ethic, although critics argue that these are not really skills but rather qualities or attributes that someone has and may (or may not) choose to display at work.
Therefore, from the above definition it is clear that soft skills are those skills required by students for an overall positive performance.
A question may now arise, what are the soft skills required by students? For better understanding, let’s list out some of the types of soft skills
1. The Art of Communication
One of the most important soft skills required by students is communication. Here, communication includes both written as well as oral communication.
How well you are able to make another person understand what you mean is very important.
The point is lost if you are unable to convey your message. Communication can be further divided into written and verbal communication.
This refers to any communication that is in writing. It can include writing resumes, cover letters and answer sheets. It is important that you are able to write well and convey your words appropriately.
The reader must be able to grasp the meaning of your words in the first instance.
Apart from content, written communication includes aspects like handwriting, font and style of writing. Improving all these factors are methods of how to develop soft skills for students.
Verbal communication means transmission of information through spoken words. Verbal communication has many ingredients to it.
For one, verbal communication includes voice tone, volume, clarity and pace among other factors. These are some of the benefits of soft skills for students.
2. Bright Ideas and Creative Thinking
It may be a new way of problem solving or the ability to bring a new stance to an existing issue. Developing creativity is important for students to build a strong foundation.
3. Team Work Makes the Dream Work
Teamwork is the cooperation and collaboration in order to get the desired results. Here, individual success is not important, but the whole team’s success is what matters.
We can take the example of the Kerala Boat race called Vallam Kali held during the festive season. Here the rowers work in synchronisation to win the race.
This is the best example of why teamwork is very important. Individual rowers have to work in coordination with the other team members, only then the goal is achieved.
For students, learning how to work in a team is paramount. As the famous automobile industrialist, Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.”
4. You Don’t Need More Time in A Day, You Need Time Management
Another answer to the question of what are soft skills for students is time management. Time management is the ability to perform tasks to its maximum potential within a specific period of time.
It could mean being able to complete writing examination answers within a particular time frame or even allocating time for studying while juggling your classes and other projects.The key to effective time management for students is commitment and intelligent planning.
5. Adaptability Is the Simplest Secret of Survival
When we say adaptability is an important soft skill required by students, we mean that students need to be capable of changing or modifying oneself to suit the conditions around them.
Change is constant. What system prevails in one place may not always be the same elsewhere. However, students must learn to adapt to these changing conditions to ensure consistent performance.
Quoting the English naturalist Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”
These are just some of the important soft skills for students. Apart from the above mentioned, there are other soft skills that are as important
- Problem solving skill
- Congeniality (friendliness)
- Critical Thinking
- Analytical thinking
- Conflict resolution
- Work ethics
All these soft skills in sync with each other most definitely results in the success of students in every field, be it exams, sports, co-curricular activities or careers.
Now that we have answered that question, what are soft skills for students, let’s look at some of the reasons why soft skills are important for students.
What Is the Importance of Soft Skills?
To put it point blank, soft skills are important because you are not alone. Every action of yours has a greater impact in the community.
Moreover, your dependence on the actions of others proves that you need to interact with others in a society in order to survive. This dependence on others is a natural phenomenon of the real world.
To answer this question of why soft skills are so important, in detail, let’s take for example the work of the famous mathematician and meteorologist, Edward Lorenz in his theory The Butterfly effect.
Here, he explains that something as small as the flapping of the wings of a butterfly can bring about large changes in the climatic conditions of a place.
Since this theory in 1969, the butterfly effect has been largely used in many situations where a small change can cause great consequences.
Similarly, for students, interacting with others may seem to be a small and insignificant step towards achieving a goal. However, in reality, this interaction has large and positive consequences. Here are some reasons as to why soft skills are important for students
1. Soft Skills- the Need of The Future
While we stand at the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, the need for the development of soft skills is apparent. By the fourth industrial revolution we mean the dependence of jobs on technological advancements.
The first industrial revolution was more dependent on steam power to work machines. While the second industrial revolution was dependent on electric power and the third used information technology for mass production.
The fourth industrial revolution is the dependence on more advanced technology like artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous advancements.
According to the World Economic Forum, the fourth industrial Revolution has created the need for soft skills. The importance of soft skills for students cannot be undermined.
The report stated Greater adoption of technology will mean in-demand skills across jobs change over the next five years, and skills gaps will continue to be high.
The top ten skills of 2025 according to the Future of Jobs Report 2020, World Economic Forum will be
- Analytical Thinking and innovation
- Active Learning and learning strategies
- Complex problem solving
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Creativity, originality and initiative
- Leadership and social influence
- Technology use monitoring and control
- Technology design and programming
- Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
- Reasoning, problem solving and ideation
In an organisation, every department communicates and collaborates with each other to achieve desired results. This interdependence of every department in an organisation requires soft skills for better interaction.
When it comes to students also, we see an interdependence on others to achieve goals. For example, interaction with teachers, fellow students and various departments for completion of projects and assignments. This is why soft skills are important for students.
3. Climbing up The Career Ladder
One of the main aims of a good education is to build a lucrative career. A career is never static. There is always a need and desire to be part of a positive career trajectory.
However, to climb up the career graph, one needs to possess soft skills of the future apart from the usual professional skills.
According to an article published in Forbes, about 94% of recruiting professionals believe an employee with stronger soft skills has a better chance of being promoted to a leadership position rather than an employee with more years of experience but weaker soft skills.
The same report stated that soft skills will become increasingly important as jobs become more automated.
4. Customer Is the King
In an industrial society where there are limitless choices, it takes a lot of effort to retain and please your customers. Keeping your customers happy is a cardinal principle.
Customer relations primarily depend on how your soft skills work on customers. Customer services or customer relations brings a humane touch to the services.
The way you interact with customers, whether written or orally, largely influences the way customers act. The better the customer services, the better the chances of retaining customers and increasing profits for the organisation.
5. There Are Somethings Which AI Cannot Do
Another important reason why soft skills are important is because there are some emotions which are unique to humans and cannot be replicated by robots or Artificial intelligence.
Even with the most advanced developments in technology, some sentiments, responses and general spirit that are distinctive to human beings.
6. Builds Leadership Characteristics
One of the benefits of soft skills for students is that it improves leadership qualities. According to Dr Martina Carroll Garrison, a Georgetown University trained and ICF Certified Executive Leadership Coach, with a Doctorate in Management and Organizational Leadership,- “Great leaders understand that the triple-benefit of an effective soft skills training program enables great organizations to
- Invest prudently in their people
- Develop future leaders
- Create a joyous workplace
Soft skill training is considered effective if it transfers to and improves the workplace and increases performance outcomes.
7. See Your Career Graph Climbing
Soft skills are important in order to build careers. Technical skills will allow you to climb up to a mid level position.
However beyond this mid level position, soft skills are required. One of the advantages of soft skills is that it allows you to climb up your career ladder.
Soft skills, among other advantages, allow you to think creatively and imaginatively. This gives you an advantage over your peers who are only trained in technical skills.
8. Ups Your Emotional Intelligence
One of the most important soft skills is having a positive attitude. Keeping a positive attitude during pressured and tense moments measures your emotional stability.
Therefore, one of the advantages of soft skills in students is that it helps to sharpen your emotional stability.
9. Increases Your Grasping Power
An important soft skill is the skill of listening or the power of listening. Listening to sounds around you directly results in an increase in your grasping power. You may ask how? Let’s see how soft skills increase your grasping power.
When you listen to others around, you invariably absorb their emotions, feelings and intensity. Adopting the important soft skill of listening, allows you to grasp quickly and understand better.
One of the benefits of soft skills is that it increases your capacity to grasp activities around you. When you are able to grasp concepts quickly, you tend to respond and react almost immediately.
How to Develop Soft Skills for Students?
We have established what are soft skills for students and why soft skills are important. Now, we need to learn to develop these skills.
There are various ways in which you can develop soft skills. Usually, the journey of life and all its experiences teach you the basics of soft skills. However, to further develop soft skills, here are some quick references
1. Attend Online Courses or Workshops
Take advantage of technology. Enroll for an online course on communication, personality development or any soft skill that you would like to improve on.
There are courses for almost everything nowadays. The world has become a single entity because of the power of the internet.
While pursuing your college graduation, it is advisable to take up a part time job or an internship. This allows you to concentrate on improving your soft skills without having to worry much about your job status or promotions.
3. Practice Makes Man Perfect.
As the saying goes, “practice makes man perfect,” practice your soft skills in your daily life. Whether it is improving your handwriting or communicating with your peers, practice it as you go about your day.
4. Room for Improvement
Always remember that there is always room for improvement. You can ask your teachers or fellow students what you can do to improve.
For example, when you make a presentation in front of your class, you can ask the teacher for feedback. Make notes of the feedback and try to make improvements the next time around.
Listening to everything happening around you, is one of the ways to develop soft skills for students. You learn by listening.
Try to listen more openly and actively. It not only improves your language skills but also helps you learn better.
6. Observe and Act
When we say observe, we mean watch others intently and learn from them. Sometimes inspiration comes from least expected corners.
Good observation allows you to capture the emotions of others and thereby enables you to act according to their emotions. This makes the interaction more personal and effective.
We can conclusively state that soft skills are the requirement of the future. The dependence of students on soft skills is as realistic as a good education.
With more dependence on technology, with every passing year, human emotions are getting side-lined. Eventually, this will result in a chaotic society.
Today, organisational structures are stressing on the need for the development and importance of soft skills for students.
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