Soft Skills That Give Hard Results
Remember Pappu can't dance saala? Yeah, that funny and spoofy song that makes you rock. Pappu is muscular, popular and spectacular but what cuts him short is the fact that he can’t dance. Well, that happens with many of us, only that ‘dance’ is replaced by something else. If it so happens that despite academic and technical credentials, you are lost as to what to do next. You feel that sometimes you wander like a deer in the mad pursuit of Kasturi and end in frustration, if you think that though confident as an individual, you fade into ‘no’body when in a new group and new situation, if your smiles disappear and body acts strangely when you stand before an audience to speak, if you think that you can do anything with time but manage, then it’s high time that you instil in yourself small doses of soft skills and strengthen yourself.
‘Soft Skills? What’s that?’ If that’s your reaction then don’t you worry! These are the skills that relate to how you work. These are your abilities to identify the talent and knowledge you have and to showcase the same effectively. These skills are as important as your education or experience, and paying attention to them will take you a long way, be it your personal, social or professional life. Soft skills relate to how you interact with others and to your overall attitude. Your cover letter and CV and then your interview are the first instances where you exhibit these skills or the lack of them. Soft skills ultimately can make or break your chances of self-development. So let’s take a tour through some of these king-maker skills.
The ability of being able to express what you think in an articulate and concise manner. A good grasp over a language or two is a must. Because businesses in India use English almost universally, one must, besides the first language, be able to use it in an efficient manner. But having knowledge of the language is not enough; one should regularly practice one’s ability to convey a message or ideas to others. Participate often in various activities in the college or outside, where you get a chance to interact with other people and get to share ideas. Competitions of any kind will give you exposure and sharpen your self-expression. Even if you are not at the fore, volunteering in college events will test your inter personal skills.
Has this phrase got you wondering what has team building got to do with your soft skills? Just think how many groups do you constantly move in and out-family, friends, college group, NSS, NCC and once career begins, workplace, departments, sections. You constantly work in teams. It is here that you need to show your ability to cooperate, understand and get understood, motivate, work towards a common goal and at times lead.
Well, the search does not end here. Some more soft skills that employers look for when they hire a new person include motivation, time-management skills, positive, creative problem-solving skills, ability to be a team-player, flexibility, ability to take criticism and improve. None of the above skills comes to you overnight. Realising their importance early is important. But even after starting late if you constantly work on developing these and making them an indivisible part of your personality, then surely they will make you stand apart from the crowd. And always remember that gaining these skills is your journey of exploring yourself and discovering the hidden abilities that you have. So pull up your socks and get going.
(Omkar Gogate, Associate, HR Section, Tata Motors, Mumbai
Sachin Labade, Soft Skills Trainer and Faculty, Department of English, University of Mumbai)