Tips for Students: How to Improve Soft Skills

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Soft skills are also called “flexible” skills. These skills help any professional in any industry to be in demand. “Flexible” skills allow you to interact effectively and harmoniously with others, adapt quickly to change, and think outside the box for problem-solving.

Soft skills help you move up the career ladder, build relationships with family, friends, and people around you. Soft skills do not produce certificates and diplomas, they are more difficult to see and assess.

Examples of soft skills are communication skills, responsibility, discipline, willpower, self-organization. Besides hard skills, any specialist is expected to be executive and responsible, to be attentive to deadlines, and to be able to organize his or her workday.

Soft skills are more difficult to master, some of them a person has from birth, some come with experience, and some have to develop on their own. It is possible to analyze which personal qualities “sink in” and require training. After a person discovers which skills require work, he can read specialized literature, attend training sessions and seminars, take part in webinars.

Such skills can be divided into the following categories:

  • Communication skills, negotiation skills.
  • Empathy, emotional intelligence.
  • Leadership and managerial competencies.
  • Entrepreneurship and initiative.
  • Adaptability and continuous learning skills.
  • Ability to be a mentor.

Professional knowledge and experience are no longer as valuable to employers as they once were if they are not supported by developed “soft” skills. It is unlikely that you will be able to perform your duties effectively without the ability to communicate, resolve conflicts, think creatively, offer ideas, think about the future – to influence the company culture and business in general.

Soft skills develop much more slowly than hard skills. Some of them involve a global reworking of a person’s character, which is very difficult to do as an adult. So if you’re a student, you can buy cheap coursework and save more time for improving your soft skills.

Here are a few tips to help if you have a desire to develop communication skills or those competencies that you feel lacking in your work. It is best to combine several ways and then stop and analyze what results have been achieved. So:

  • Engage in self-reflection. Think about what your shortcomings are. Here it is important, to be honest, and open. Ask friends, relatives about their strong and weak character traits.
  • Make and use a library of special literature on the development of the required soft skills.
  • Take courses. There are many soft skills development resources on the Internet right now. Choose a training that will improve exactly the skills you need.
  • Find role model. Ask them for mentoring or advice.
  • Practice. There will be no development from theory alone. After completing the course, immediately apply the knowledge in the company of your family and friends. So it will be easier for you later to show the obtained skills at work.
  • Focus on achieving a result, not on the process of striving for it. This will make it easier to stay motivated.
  • Focus on the goal. No need to take up the development of skills in general, pick one of them and strive for it. For maximum specificity, give a reason why you want to improve the skill. Example: “I need to develop communication to find new customers to sell a product.”

Every soft skill is unique. It has its characteristics and criteria for development. And practice is more important here than anywhere else. Constantly self-reflect, analyze your progress, notice, and move backward. Without analysis, you will achieve only trampling in place. If you manage to achieve results, then soft skills will not only contribute to the movement on the career ladder but also improve relationships with family and friends.

Which skills are more important

Both. After all, hard skills will help you master your profession and become a cool specialist. And soft skills will affect the ability to work in a team, build relationships with people, organize their activities.

It is impossible to focus only on hard skills, “forgetting” about soft skills. This will lead to the fact that the specialist will be good, but his relations with the team will leave much to be desired. One of the pains of HR people is that they are professional in their field, but very difficult person


Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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