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5 Soft Skills That Every Student Needs
to Get Ahead of the Pack

Soft Skills

Soft skills are not a usual part of the conversation when most high school or college students talk about the success matrix. For most students at these two levels, academic success, consistency, and exemplary performance are often more critical elements of success than soft skills. Soft skills, in this case, refer to one’s ability to relate to their peers and those around them and how they react to situations.

A typical job interview with minimum hiring stipulations will, in most cases, have applicants with almost similar academic merit, experience, and other qualifications. Nine out of ten times, the job usually doesn’t go to the candidate who appears most glamorous on paper. This should be a strong indicator of that ‘X’ factor that potential employers are looking for, outside academic performance.

Employers and experienced applicants who have found success in their fields will often attest to the importance of such soft skills in the hiring process. Students and those just gaining entry into employment would do well to cultivate such soft skills to improve their hiring prospects. These are skills that are seldom taught in the classroom and may not be innate to the person by their nature. We’ll cover five of the most important skills for any person to master.

1. Teamwork

Unless you intend on working for yourself, most workplaces are team environments in which collaboration is promoted and is hinged upon for the success of the business. Besides the workplace, teamwork is important in the classroom, especially in college, as you will be required to participate in group projects, collaborate and share contributions.

While your ability to work well in a team isn’t something that can be accurately measured, it can be discerned from the onset whether one is a good team player or not. A team is only as strong as its weakest link, and for experienced employers, it is quite easy to identify who that weak link is.

2. Verbal and Written Communication Skills

Communication skills are not only important for boosting your performance and your articulation of issues. Workers are more productive when they can communicate clearly, and companies are always in constant communication anyway. Communication is simply being able to express clearly the “who, what, why, where, and when” as pertains to events.

Luckily, most learning institutions teach communication skills, especially written communication. This is done through assignments such as essays, reports, dissertations, and theses. A DNP capstone writing service is one way to get assistance with your written communication, especially on such an important project.

If you don’t trust the efficacy of your verbal communication skills, it is recommended to sign up for training programs such as a public speaking workshop or an internet training program such as on Udemy. Public speaking programs will also open you up to other aspects of communication, such as active listening and body language.

3. Adaptability

Situations that require one to be flexible aren’t only to be found in workplaces. Unexpected situations often come up, even as a student. Workplaces and learning institutions are dynamic and ever-evolving, and you need to keep up with these changes instead of grumbling about the pace. Adaptability is a key attribute that every employer looks for and is a skill that you would do well to cultivate early as a student.

For example, as an intern, your supervisor might reassign some tasks to you or call upon you to work an extra shift to achieve certain outputs. What might not be apparent at that moment is that your supervisor may be testing you to see how flexible and adaptable you are. Being adaptable is automatically interpreted as being reliable and is a skill that will open new doors of growth and opportunity for you.

4. Ability to Think Quickly and Critically, on Your Feet

Workplaces being the dynamic institutions that they are, always react to situations and events as they come. Most organizations will always list the ability to think critically and on the fly as key desired attributes.

Your supervisor may not have the time to wait until the next day for the solution to a problem. They may not expect you to have every answer they want or need. What is expected, however, is that you should be able to mentally sift through a problem while acknowledging the time-dependency of such a problem.

5. Being Practical

The best and most efficient answer may not always be the most practical one in an organization due to factors such as budgets, costs, and time constraints. An employer will expect their hires to be grounded not only in logic but also in reality.

Soft Skills Increase Your Prospects and Make You a Better Person

Exemplary classroom performance gets you noticed by your peers, instructors, and potential employers. Soft skills are the key to building and maintaining meaningful and healthy relationships, solidifying your reputation, and advancing into new opportunities that need such skills. You would do well for yourself to cultivate these skills even before you get noticed.

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