Soft skills are the backbone of successful professionals in today’s society. For interns entering the job market, honing these skills early on could significantly boost your career trajectory. Here are five important soft skills you should develop to help you become a successful professional.
Why are soft skills vital?
Today, the importance of soft skills is growing. Technical skills, also known as ‘hard skills’, are crucial to any job, but soft skills are equally important, if not more. Without these skills, you will not be able to effectively navigate the increasingly complex job environment.
Soft skills include many personal attributes and interpersonal abilities that enable individuals to interact effectively with others in the workplace. The mastery of soft skills often determines an individual’s success in their career. You will need to communicate, lead, adapt, network and do much more over the course of it.
5 important soft skills you should work on
Internships serve as a bridge between school life and work life. The practical work environment provides invaluable hands-on experience to students and fresh graduates, helping them stand out.
For first-time interns, this will inevitably be uncharted territory, but this is where soft skills can help.
Employers place a high value on soft skills in interns as they demonstrate the ability to adapt, collaborate, and manage their work. Weaving your soft skills into your resume will reassure them of your capabilities — and that they wouldn’t have to expend more effort on that front.
These are not skills that can be easily taught, which makes having them doubly valuable for employers.
Technical skills have set rules within which the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do things are defined — and these can be taught. Soft skills, on the other hand, are harder to teach due to their very nature. This is why there is less formal education around them.
They involve a complex collection of interpersonal and behavioural aspects. They also require you to understand the basics of human dynamics — the unspoken rules of social interactions, body language, etc.
Luckily, though, with practice and consistency, you will be able to improve these skills. Additionally, starting early gives you a major advantage.
Listed below are five invaluable soft skills that you can develop on your own.
Clear and concise communication is the cornerstone of professional success. It involves expressing ideas clearly and listening actively. To enhance your communication skills, practice active listening by paying attention to others and asking clarifying questions.
Additionally, work on expressing your thoughts clearly and concisely, using simple language and avoiding jargon. Engage in activities such as joining public speaking clubs or participating in group discussions to improve your confidence in conveying information effectively.
Adaptability refers to the ability to adjust to new situations and embrace change. It’s highly valued in today’s dynamic work environment. To improve your adaptability, actively seek out new experiences and challenges. Embrace opportunities to work on different projects or collaborate with diverse teams.
When faced with unexpected circumstances, maintain a flexible mindset and approach, seeking solutions and learning from the experience. Embracing change allows you to grow both personally and professionally.
Teamwork is crucial for everyone as it ensures efficiency while reducing toxicity in the workplace. Enhance your teamwork skills by actively participating in group activities or projects. Practice effective communication within teams, respecting diverse opinions, and offering constructive feedback.
Take initiative but be reliable and supportive even when you’re not heading projects. Building strong relationships with your colleagues. Seek out opportunities to collaborate with others in both your personal and professional lives.
Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in navigating and understanding emotions, both within ourselves and in others. To develop this skill, embark on a journey of self-discovery by increasing your awareness of your emotions and their impact on your thoughts and behaviours.
You can improve your emotional intelligence by actively taking other people’s feelings and perspectives into consideration. Put in place mechanisms that keep you calm and respond thoughtfully in stressful situations.
Additionally, immerse yourself in the world of emotional intelligence by reading insightful books on the subject and incorporating mindfulness exercises into your daily routine.
These practices will contribute significantly to enhancing your emotional intelligence, fostering healthier relationships and personal growth.
Efficient time management is essential for meeting deadlines and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Develop effective time management skills by creating a schedule, prioritising tasks, and breaking larger projects into manageable chunks.
There are numerous productivity tools and techniques that can help maximise your focus and productivity.
Investing in developing soft skills as an intern enhances employability and sets the stage for a successful career. Cultivating and showcasing these skills enhances performance, and builds relationships.
By honing these five important soft skills, you can unlock your potential and leave a lasting impact. Developing soft skills is a process that requires consistency, so keep practising!