soft skills you need regardless of your field of study

Research shows that “employers favour candidates who demonstrate proficiency in skills that cut across fields of study, specifically written and oral communication, teamwork, ethical decision-making, critical thinking, and the ability to apply knowledge in real-life situations”.

Consequently, in order to get ahead of the competition and succeed in the world of work, it’s essential that you develop these skills that employers always look out for. They are transferrable skills–skills that cut-across diverse fields of study. They are often soft (people) skills, even though there are some hard (technical) skills that can be transferred from one field to the other. We’ll tackle four essential transferable skills in this article.

  1. Communication

Communication first, because no matter what you do, you’ll need to communicate (you can tell us if you think otherwise). Keep in mind that communication is very broad, so it has several skills falling under it (persuasion, negotiation, presentation, etc.). Also, effective communication goes beyond speaking and writing; it also involves active listening.

Regardless of your role, you’ll have to communicate with your colleagues, employers and clients/customers. How well are you able to convey ideas? Imagine your internship supervisor giving you an assignment. You complete the work. Now, you need to give him feedback. How do you thoroughly and effectively communicate that?

  1. Teamwork

This is one of the skills almost every student puts on their resume. Whether they possess this skill or not, we cannot tell. Nonetheless, being able to work in teams is important. At work, you may be assigned tasks, which will require you to work in teams and collaborate with your colleagues. How do you do it? Are you able to work with others regardless of your relationship with them outside work?

You need to learn how to work effectively with others. A part of this will require you to play to individual strengths and weaknesses in a team. The better you know how to work in groups, the better you’ll be able to perform collectively. To be able to work in a team, a few of the things you’ll need to do is to trust your teammates and tolerate them.

  1. Critical Thinking

The problem-solving process often requires critical thinking skills. Critical thinking deals with your ability to think logically about a problem in order to solve it. Critical thinkers are able to analyse situations and make informed decisions.

You may need to think in the moment or over time. So, you need to learn how to think critically to solve problems within a short period, and over a long period of time. Critical thinking involves observation, research, analysis, inference, communication, and problem-solving.

  1. Adaptability

Adaptability deals with your ability to adjust to changing situations. Being adaptable at work means being able to respond quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies and other processes. Are you flexible and able to adjust to changing circumstances?

The world is fast changing, and one of the soft skills you need to master is adaptability. If changes are introduced at your workplace, will you be able to quickly learn the skills, behaviours, and tools it requires in order to succeed?

How do I develop these transferable skills?

You’ve read about these four skills, but you’re probably wondering how you can acquire these transferable (soft) skills, especially because you do not directly learn them in class. Truth is, you may have acquired these skills in school already. Think about the group assignments, presentations, the impact of covid and how you had to start doing schoolwork online. The list goes on, and on. Think about them. Which of these four skills did you employ? How did you do in terms of participation and success? Look at these things and rate yourself.

Aside from school, you can learn and develop these transferable skills on the job, but it’s also a plus if you already have them before you get the job. In our next blog, we’ll give some tips on how you can learn and hone these transferable skills as you prepare for the world of work.

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