Traditional skills including literacy, numeracy and science will always have their place in the professional working world, but an increasing number of employers are now looking for desirable “soft skills” in students fresh out of school.
So what are the added benefits of ‘soft’ skills? Believe it or not, having soft skills does not make you soft. Building up your soft skills shows employers you know how to be a team player, and improves your organisational skills, goal setting ability and self management.
The top 5 soft skills employers look for in students are:
- Problem Solving
- Time Management
How to perfect your soft skills while at school:
No experience, no problem! Read our blog on how to get the job anyway. Likewise, perfecting your soft skills while at school can help overcome other employer obstacles such as not having worked before.
Being a good team player at school means getting involved! Join the basketball or swim team. Sing in choir. Participate in drama or little athletics. The more hobbies you try at school, the more teams you become a part of. Listen to your other classmates, even if you don’t agree with what they say and be respectful of others – you never know who you might bump into in your working life.
At school you are given loads of opportunity to work on your communication skills. Practice your writing and typing to make sure these written skills are ready for when you graduate. Verbal skills can be improved with public speaking and every day communication so take advantage of these opportunities to hone your skills. Always say excuse me before entering a conversation and try not to cut off or talk over other people.
In your academic work you should have plenty of examples of how you solved problems but think about a specific problem you might have had with a friend or family member and what you did to solve the issue. The ability to think before you act and not losing your cool could be two ways you deal with problems.
Keep a diary in high school, make to do lists and break down assignments into manageable chunks. All of these skills will come in handy once you need to apply them in a work setting.
Not everyone is a natural born leader that wants to be a school captain or sports captain, but you can try and take the project lead in a group assessment and see if your leadership potential shines. Don’t rule with an iron fist, don’t play favourites with your friends in the group and make sure you do your part – you can’t delegate everything! All these skills are handy for resume building.
Work on your soft skills and remember to mentions these abilities in your resume or when you attend an interview. You'll be suprised how receptive employers are!
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