The world of work graduates are entering is very different now. Nothing is predictable and graduates today need a whole raft of crucial skills to be equipped to handle the uncertainty, creativity, resourcefulness and agility that this new world demands.
So what crucial soft skills do you need – those under-taught skills that will make the difference between getting and keeping that job, relationship, opportunity and your sense of humour (you’ll need that too!). Here are 6 that we will revisit throughout this e-book.
Time Management – Far more to do with managing yourself rather than time. If success depends on effective action, then that action is your ability to focus your attention where it’s needed most and not responding solely on how you feel in the moment. This might be tricky. You have multiple demands and many distractions. You are going to be very used to shifting your focus – you do it all the time flitting from Facebook to work project to text to web surfing in a matter of minutes. But being “busy” does not necessarily equal to being productive and effective, even if it may feel that way sometimes!
Communication – Think about how you come across to others. Empathy is a key skill you’ll need to actively nurture both on and off-line. Your presentation skills must be meticulous for any interview – that’s a threshold requirement. You need confidence to project yourself, speak honestly about your strengths and weaknesses and communicate with passion and integrity.
Networking – How good are you at this? We live in a world dominated by constant information exchange and daily innovation. Your relationships are your only competitive advantage and they create the channel through which ideas and information flow, where new ideas are shared, discussed and perfected. If you can cultivate a large relationship network you will meet the right people, find that job, build a business, learn about new trends and spread ideas. You will need to make time and effort to deliberately and consciously do this.
Writing – A lost skill and one that might not have been taught properly in the first place. Shocking but true. You absolutely have to be able to write proficiently so that others can understand you because they, in turn, are being bombarded with stuff! Writing well goes for everything from your emails to cover letters to your CV. Write clearly, directly and intelligently. Use your writing skills to take useful notes – one of the most productive things you can do because they'll help you remember what you see, hear or read when you’re learning something new or trying to remember something specific.
Optimism – You may think that how you act is a product of how you are feeling, but actually you will find that you can change the way you are feeling by how you act. A great attitude always leads to great experiences and you’re going to need that great attitude no matter what life throws at you. You’ve got to be able to generate and radiate goodwill to maintain a competitive edge. Optimism can be learned.
Critical Thinking – Every day you’re bombarded with vast amounts of rapidly changing information. You need to be able to evaluate it, sort the valuable from the trivial, analyse its relevance and meaning and relate it to other information. You need to be able to do this fast. This is raw material for success today! Without this ability and awareness of thinking much more sharply, you will be left behind. You’ve got to be able to challenge assumptions, look at things from lots of different angles, think outside the box, collaborate with others and be solutions-focused.
This Ebook focuses on you, the graduate to give you the advantage to stay one step ahead, fulfil that potential you’ve been nurturing all your life and not only survive but truly thrive in this brilliant new world. Yes, I did say brilliant!
About the Author
Emma Sue Prince has long specialised in soft skills, trainer training, materials design and management development. Her work has taken her all over the world consulting in emerging and developing countries and designing qualifications and experiential learning programmes. She is the director of Unimenta, a training support network and virtual business supporting trainers who deliver soft skills with guidance, materials, news and professional development. Membership is free at www.unimenta.com Emma Sue believes passionately in the principles and concepts she writes about in The Advantage and tries to apply them in all that she does. She lives in Godalming, Surrey with her family. This Advantage her first book. Find out more at www-the-advantage.info