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May 19, 2015: Soft skills are nothing but learned behaviors which require rigorous training and focused application. In today’s competitive environment, being the most brainy or wise person in your field is not enough. Proficiency or technical know-how is, however, only half of what is required to climb the ladder of good success, the other half comprises of the soft skills that you hold within you. Soft skills are vital regardless of the level of management. If you have a strong practical as well as conceptual framework, your soft skills will further enable you to effectively build, develop and manage teams. Soft skills simply address how you perceive your own self and others, manage your sentiments, and react to difficult situations. Only when you build an internal brilliance and fineness, you acquire a powerful mental and emotional base to succeed in real sense, be it your professional, social or personal life.

The real reason why young college grads do not get hired immediately is perhaps the lack of soft skills in them. Most of them cannot even show up on time decently dressed and a majority of them cannot even effectively organize a team project. The practical or technical term for steering a workplace effectively is perhaps the soft skills, but most of the entry-level applicants who are on tap to join the positions of full-time work are unaware about the basics of soft skills or office life. They lack communication and interpersonal skills while most of them cannot think creatively and critically, write artistically or resolve issues.

However, the growing significance of soft skills both in education and at workplace is changing the way students prepare for job interviews. No doubt, standardized testing is intensely competitive and hard study skills still remain in play, school and college students should make sure to also hone the soft skills that can enhance the way they take up or accomplish their tasks and improve their interactions with others. Today, students need discreet knowledge, understanding and skills on a number of subjects to be literate enough during the college years. Soft skills are what organizations are clamoring for in their future staff and employees.

Here are some of the soft skills that you should start acquiring in your college years in order to make it easier for you to have a bright future:

Communication Skills: During your college years, read with utter understanding and comprehension. Make a point that you read everything for knowledge and in order to gain something out of it. To further hone your communication skills, convey more and more ideas in writing, observe carefully and critically, listen actively, and speak so others can understand and appreciate.

Interpersonal Skills: Guide your friends and classmates in colleges, try to resolve conflicts and negotiate, cooperate with others as much as you can, and advocate, influence as well as motivate others at your institute.

Decision Making Skills: Use Math to resolve issues and problems and also to communicate well, come up with decisions, and layout roadmaps, as well as plans and try your hands at successfully implementing them.

Learning Skills: Think deeply or carefully about ideas and evaluate, learn through by conducting researches and undertaking studies, make effective and smart use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), take responsibility for learning.

Time Management: Remember, you need to have an organized and clear list of priorities and objectives in order to manage time well. Start this during your early college years by practicing time management on the assignments that your professor assigns you and by taking up one or more extracurricular activities. By getting involved in extracurricular activities and working on all your college assignments side by side, you will be able to hone and master your time management skills.

Organization: Before starting to develop your soft skills during your college years, you will be required to develop your organizational skills. You need to develop your organizational skills as early as possible in life because there would be times when you will be thrown into immersive group tasks at your workplace and it is these skills that will help you in successful implementation of such tasks in such times.

Teamwork: The ability to perform efficiently and effectively in groups, often made up of numbers you did not pick out or select, is a soft skill that comes in handy during college years, as well as in a number of careers. There will be times at work when you would be required to work with people whom you don’t even know well. So, working in group projects in college will help you develop teamwork and communication skills. In addition to this, working in teams will teach you how to depend on others as well as yourself to accomplish the required tasks.

Values, Ethics & Morality: It makes no small difference, whether we form habits of one kind or of another from our very youth; it makes a very great difference, or rather all the difference. “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make you a more clever devil.” – Aristotle / Mahakaal

All of the above mentioned soft skills serve an important purpose as they help you tackle different situations and adapt to changing environments or circumstances. Soft skills also make you learn to connect with different type of people and step out of your comfort zone. They are critical for employment and help you move ahead in life. Today, every company seeks employees who are equipped with the skills required to do a given job. While employers understand that a number of college graduates lack technical skills that come with training, education, or internships, they do expect applicants to possess soft skills required for job success. Hence, college graduates who have soft skills are often hired on long-term basis. They have an edge over others in today’s job market.

So all you need to keep in mind about soft skills is that becoming prepared for entering the world of work is a process that can be best promoted by gaining real work experiences during college years itself. By mastering soft skills early in life, you will be able to use them on the job to increase productivity and enhance your job performance.

About the author – Pragya Sehgal – Pursuing her Bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communication, Pragya loves to read and write. This young lady likes to surround herself with creative people. In order to acquire functional exposure, Pragya is interning as a content writer.

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