AN ARTICLE ON “SOFT SKILLS”INTRODUCTIONSoft skills is a sociological term relating to a persons "EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster ofpersonality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism thatcharacterize relationships with other people. Soft skills complement hard skills (part of a persons IQ), whichare the occupational requirements of a job and many other activities.Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individuals interactions, job performance and careerprospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a persons skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task oractivity, soft skills relate to a persons ability to interact effectively with coworkers and customers and arebroadly applicable both in and outside the workplace.A persons soft skill EQ is an important part of their individual contribution to the success of an organization.Screening or training for personal habits or traits such as dependability and conscientiousness can yieldsignificant return on investment for an organization. For this reason, soft skills are increasingly sought out byemployers in addition to standard qualifications.The legal profession is one example where the ability to deal with people effectively and politely, more thantheir mere occupational skills, can determine the professional success of a lawyer.Soft Skills are behavioral competencies. Also known as Interpersonal Skills, or people skills, they includeproficiencies such as communication skills, conflict resolution and negotiation, personal effectiveness, creativeproblem solving, strategic thinking, team building, influencing skills and selling skills, to name a few.SIX NECESSARY SOFT SKILLSBehavioural training experts say there are several soft skills are required in these circumstances. Some ofthem include:1. Interpersonal skills2. Team spirit3. Social grace4. Business etiquette5.. Negotiation skills6. Behavioural traits such as attitude, motivation and time management
SOFT SKILLS TRAININGTraining on soft skills becomes all the more relevant in a country like India where the education system doesnot delve into personality development."Soft skills training is essential because we do not have it in our academic curricula. Therefore, corporatehouses have to take up the task of grooming employees who are the link between the company and the externalworld, so that they are able to present themselves better, " says Sumeet Mehta, an equity research analyst withFortis Securities Ltd.Self Trainer!While organisations are definitely investing in augmenting their staffs people skills, here are some inputs forprofessionals and students who would like to initiate the process themselves: • Be a part of team activities It could be either as a part of your church choir, or an NGO, or your local youth circle. Observe your own behaviour in the group and how you relate to others. • Ask family members or close friends Write down your best and worst traits. Evaluate the common traits all of them have mentioned. • How well do you manage your time? Think. Can you do more in life? Or is your day too crammed with activities? Effective time management is very essential in the corporate world. • Introspect on how you react to feedback. In organisations, people skills mostly come into the picture when there is feedback given -- be it for an idea, an executed project or a presentation. You are judged by the way you respond to feedback. Do you get defensive? Do you insist you were right? Do you meekly accept criticism? Remember, people tend to be judged and stereotyped according to their responses. You will, too. • How good are you at critiquing? While responding to feedback is one side of the coin, giving feedback is the other side. Are you aggressive? Pessimistic? Do you believe in constructive criticism?
• Live consciously Soft skills are all about how you deal with people and present yourself.ENHANCING THE SOFT SKILLSHere are few points on how one can enhance his/her soft skills :-1) Awareness: You need to begin by making a list of skills that you lack by discussing with your close friends,co-workers etc. Awareness is the first step in building up your soft skills forte.2) Interact: To build an understanding with your teammates, you should interact more with them. Also take upprojects and get involved in some voluntary work.3) Be optimistic: Exude that positivism and spread the infectious optimism.4) Self-motivating: Set personal goals to reach new highs and keep targets for yourself.5) Possess a forgiving and benevolent ego – Humble oneself, accept and learn sincerely from criticism.6) Be a team player – Learn to trust, build comradeship, set common goals, provide support, friendship& getyour hands dirty!7) Communicate effectively – Be clear, tactful, diplomatic & pace the conversation.8) Think out of box: Be creative and hone your innovative and creative skills9) Look at the Big Picture – Consider all aspects, potential opportunities, threats & contingencies10) Learn how to multitask and prioritise – Practice empowerment and delegation, mange time well whenmultitasking and prioritizing.SOFT SKILLS ON A RESUMEAll companies and organizations value an employee with superior soft skills in addition to the technicalexpertise theyre seeking. Individuals looking to move up or move out of an organization need to highlight theirsoft skills on their resumes if they want to separate themselves from the rest of the crowd.Functional and combination style resumes both contain a careers skills / knowledge section where a bulletedlisting or table of the skills and knowledge appear. This section is placed near the beginning of the resume, so itonly makes sense to take a great deal of time making sure it projects the right image of the applicants talents.Resume Example - Soft SkillsThe following demonstrates how the skills section of a resume can highlight a job applicants soft skills. Thisparticular example lists hard skills on the left hand side of the table and soft skills on the right:
CAREER SKILLS / KNOWLEDGE Financial Planning and Analysis Problem Solving Accounting Application Design Critical Thinking Skills Operational Budgeting Training and Development Long-term Planning Interpersonal Skills Capital Budgeting Teamwork / Collaboration