We propose to analyze why soft skills are so important for your first employer and how they will distinguish you in the market of young and promising specialists.
For most people, the onset of summer is associated with beautiful weather, picnics and a sense of relaxation, but not for students and those who are starting their careers. By trial and error, after another interview, each of them begins their journey to the coveted position in the company and develops their own strategy for success.
Since childhood, we have known the idea that hard work and perfect knowledge of the material is the key to success. But for some reason, no one talked about soft skills and their role when looking for a first job.
What are soft skills
Soft skills or flexible skills are those skills that are used in social interaction in the work process and are not specifically tied to a specific professional area. Unlike hard skills or professional skills related to a specific work qualification, skills and knowledge, soft skills are more personally focused and relate to the emotional and communication sphere.
Previously, soft skills were underestimated by both employers and professionals, but now the era of flexible skills has definitely begun.
Both soft skills and hard skills can be trained if you feel you need to improve them. Thus, a specialist with developed flexible skills is more productive, because he interacts better with colleagues and clients and understands the needs of both his own and other people.
Why soft skills are important in the profile of a young professional
Over the past few years, the market for trainee and junior professionals, especially in the IT field, has grown dramatically. Accordingly, employers began to pay attention to completely different characteristics in the selection of candidates than it was before.
Now many employers are ready to give specialists with insufficient technical training a second chance, if they have the motivation to study and develop further, they are interested in working in this team and company and in the process of work they are guided by a high-quality result.
How to show the employer that your soft skills are well developed
A great platform to showcase your soft skills is an interview or phone screening with a recruiter. Any mention of your “purposefulness,” “quick learner,” and “outgoing” immediately give examples of why you feel that way.
For example, I’m a fast learner, because in three weeks I made a plan to learn a new framework, found relevant courses on Coursera and other online platforms and completed them successfully.
What soft skills should a young specialist develop to be productive in the workplace
Curiosity and ability to ask questions
Even an experienced senior does not know all the information, so it was not for nothing that Socrates said: “The more I know, the more I realize that I know nothing” .
Obviously, at the beginning of a career, a young specialist has many questions – both in the technical subject area, and on the best practices in work organization, and on advice in communicating with a client.
It is important in daily work to develop your curiosity, to express interest in all areas and in the process – to be able and willing to ask your colleagues.
Don’t be afraid that your questions will be inappropriate or possibly funny. Be sure to write down or immediately ask them to mentors (if, of course, there is such an opportunity). Believe me, he / she will be interested in answering and sharing experience.
Responsibility and Integrity
This skill is important not only for trainee, but for all specialists. Responsibility and honesty express how mature a person is and is ready to take on new responsibilities and challenges .
Especially for those specialists who are still students, it is necessary to understand their obligations both to the company and to the university. And if problems arise somewhere, be able to openly say about it and ask for help.
For example, if you feel that you cannot master and complete a task on your own, say so right away and do not delay it until the deadline. By communicating the issue ahead of time, the team will definitely have someone to help with the assignment.
Also, it is important to remember the weight and value of your own word and not take too much on yourself when you know in advance that you cannot fulfill it. The team and your leader must know for sure that if you take on something, it will definitely be completed with high quality.
Listening to others
The ability to listen to others is a useful skill not only in the workplace, but also in communicating with clients and in personal life. A well-developed ability to listen to the needs of others avoids many conflict situations and builds excellent work or personal relationships.
In business communication, a demonstration of attentiveness to the remarks said by the interlocutor shows interest in the topic and readiness for further steps. Also, if you carefully perceive information from a client or a manager and immediately analyze it, often necessary clarifying questions arise that should be asked immediately.
There are many active listening techniques and tips online to help you develop this skill effectively. For example, one of the interesting tips is to summarize everything said by the interlocutor at the end of the conversation and make the so-called “paraphrase” – to say in your own words how you understood what was said . If there are inconsistencies between your perception and the perception of the interlocutor, then they can immediately be corrected.
For more effective work, it is important for a young specialist to develop the skill of self-motivation. This skill will allow you to learn how to manage your own energy, properly direct it to effectively achieve your own goals.
Self-motivation is also closely intertwined with initiative, because when a person is interested in gaining new experience, he demonstrates this to others in every possible way, taking initiative.
Of course, not having a lot of life experience behind him, at first it will be difficult for a young specialist to understand in which direction to move, but the advice of mentors can help with this. Also, do not forget to listen to your own feelings – your inner instinct will tell you exactly which areas you should direct your own energy to .
Ability to work in a team
The first real project of every young specialist clearly presupposes teamwork. And it is usually very unusual for many former students to work together with other team members.
However, even during the educational process, many teachers are trying to implement the practice of teamwork in existing academic disciplines, so students should join such initiatives while still at university.
Teamwork is also closely related to other soft skills – listening to others, being responsible, asking questions, etc. It also requires well-developed leadership and communication skills .
I hope these recommendations will be useful for a young specialist, will contribute to further career growth, the search for an ideal project and position for himself.