Friday, May 29, 2015

The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

Spring is in the air, summer is right around the corner, and classes are at an end. For some students, this means the job hunt is beginning; for others, it means a few short weeks of rest before the beginning of fall term. This generation of higher education seekers is finding it more and more difficult to carve out a place in the job market. There are a few different reasons that today’s young adults are having a harder time than their predecessors such as mountains of debt and a tougher economy, but the real reason may be harder to swallow; a generation that lacks soft skills.

Communication skills that govern an office setting (otherwise known as soft skills) include group collaboration, active listening, and the ability to carry on a conversation, and are the most sought-after and lacked skills in the current job market. That is why it is important to brush up on your communication skills before graduation or attending that first big interview.

If you happen to be in the process of pursuing a degree, consider taking a few extra communications classes in your collegiate career. For example, each college student should undergo at least one public speaking class to hone in their skills. If you are uncomfortable with public speaking, take two or three. Ethics and certain law classes pertaining to your field are helpful in developing soft skills as well. Take a look at all the available classes offered to you- becoming knowledgeable in your area of field goes beyond the required class list.

If you have recently graduated, now is the perfect time to brush up on those soft skills before entering an interview. Eye contact, attentiveness, and active listening are key in any interview situation. Don’t just imply your skills, show your potential employer that you are aware of and understand the workings of everyday office life, and they will be much more eager to hire you.

Another great option to expand your communication skills is taking on an internship. Usually an internship means little or no pay, but they are a perfect way to gain interpersonal skills. It also shows employers that you are dedicated enough to put in the work before reaping the benefits.

Millennials hear it over and over again- they’re all addicted to technology and have lost the skill involved with one-on-one human interaction. The sad truth is that, addiction or no, many of today’s generation have not naturally developed the skills that previous generations have grown up with and need to put in an extra effort. With technology driving our culture, personal skills will continue to be an added benefit to newly job-searching students and will ultimately give them the leg-up on the competition.