Oftentimes, graduates focus on developing specific technical abilities, whilst neglecting the development of communication skills, teamwork abilities and personal growth. Although hard skills are essential for completing specific tasks, soft skills are crucial for your ability to connect, communicate, empathise and grow in your organisation.
According to Investopedia, soft skills are “character traits and interpersonal skills that characterise a person’s relationships with other people. In the workplace, soft skills are considered to complement hard skills, which refer to a person’s knowledge and occupational skills.” Here are 3 specific reasons why developing soft skills is important for graduates.
Being comfortable with communicating effectively will help your relationship with colleagues, clients and partners. Having strong communication is a fantastic asset during problem solving, crisis management and workplace culture. As a graduate, you can develop your communication skills through college teamwork projects, being involved in college societies or voluntary groups. Over time, exposure to different groups of people should massively improve communication skills.
Another important soft skill is teamwork. Oftentimes, graduates are placed within a new team, and having the ability to understand group dynamics is extremely important. For smaller organisations, graduates may be working directly with senior managers, or the CEO. Therefore, by developing experience in teams, you can apply your knowledge of compromising in groups, focusing on completing goals and being a team player. Being involved and exposed to groups in college, whether it is sports, part-time work, or creating your own team, will be extremely beneficial to your graduate position.
Having the ability to adapt to new experiences is another important soft skill. Graduates will be provided with a range of new, and oftentimes exciting, opportunities and responsibilities. This is particularly apparent in nonprofit, charitable and social enterprise organisations. Having the ability to learn new skills, assume responsibility and tackle new challenges is a crucial skill that many social impact organisations seek. By learning new things, pushing out of your comfort zone and volunteering for new opportunities during college, you will become more adaptable with increased transferable skills.
Although many jobs require technical abilities, it is so important to develop soft skills as a graduate. This will ensure you’re an adaptable candidate with transferable skills when applying to your chosen organisation. Soft skills benefit everyone in the long run, with an increased ability to connect, communicate, empathise and grow in your organisation.