Soft Skills are the essential qualities or personality traits that depict an individual’s strength. They directly impact one’s attitude, interpersonal relationships and the ability to perform various roles in professional life.
Let’s understand more about these today and figure out why are soft skills important in an individual’s personal and professional life?
To begin with, here’s a quick look at some prominent examples of these skills:
- Stress Management
- Time Management
- Written/Verbal Communication
Since the past few years, the world has been changing at an incredibly fast pace and our education system is constantly revamping itself to adapt to this change.
Today, all stakeholders need a more responsive system that can match the astonishing speed of the dynamic landscape.
And the biggest reason for this belief is its relevance with college and career success! In other words, we can say that these skillsets are ‘A NEED OF THE HOUR’.
Let me pin down some more reasons why soft skills are important for young learners right since the schooling stages-
1. Early Employment and Workplace Utility:
By 2019, 19.2% of the US teenagers were employed while being enrolled in a school.
Another media group reported that in the past two years, around 35% of the teen population (between 16 to 19 years) was a part of the workforce!
Teens in the US have been active participants of the labor force for ages now. This work experience through summer jobs, part-time work, freelance and after school jobs, etc. helps to improve their future job prospects.
This trend of early employment highlights the importance of professional skill- building right since the middle and high school stages, because these soft skills are the cornerstone of professional success in most entry-level jobs.
The US government readily supports these young professionals and candidates with the right skillsets can crack the best job openings through the government’s official job search portal.
2. Employers Prefer Candidates with Transferrable/Portable Skills:
Soft skills are transferable skills that enhance a candidate’s prospects even
without prior experience of the applied profile.
The modern-day workforce welcomes employees with diverse skillsets and advanced capabilities to accomplish multiple tasks and responsibilities. Hence, a set of transferable skills help employees/candidates in exploring a wider choice of career opportunities.
Good transferable soft skills increase their chances of fitting in decent entry-level jobs and simultaneously allows them to switch to other profiles within or outside their organization. Most of these qualities have a high utility value across various profiles/levels in the workforce.
For example, active listening is an important transferable skill that helps an employee as a team member and the same skill is equally desirable at a managerial level.
All in all, these qualities make an employee a valuable ‘resource’ for the organization.
- Active Listening
- Critical Thinking
- Adaptability, etc.
3. Meaningful and Constructive Interactions Matter:
We all know what interpersonal communication means in one’s career!
Excellent communication skills not only create a positive impression of the individual but also promote meaningful interactions and reduce the scope of ambiguity. In the modern-day job-market, employers know why are soft skills important and prefer candidates who can voice their opinion with clarity and confidence.
This advanced ability to communicate meaningfully also helps an individual to comfortably exchange views or work with others. So, at the workplace or even in a school setting, this high-priority skill takes an individual a long way making him/her an effective communicator and a worthy member of the team/group.
4. Gives an Edge Over the Others:
Highly developed soft skills are also a tool to deal with the growing competition.
It helps prospective candidates to outshine their competitors as they make the most of the opportunities that come their way. In a way, these qualities perfectly complement the candidate’s knowledge level and set him/her apart from others!
5. Productivity and Time Management Defines an Individual:
Now that we know why soft skills are important at the workplace, let us specifically discuss the aspect of productivity and the general advantages of good time management for teenagers.
Time management improves an individual’s productivity and allows him/her to achieve more in less time. Especially in the case of a working teenager, it is even more important to be organized and productive each day, because they need to meet their course- related deadlines and fulfill professional commitments at the same time.
All this is possible only if they know how to balance their professional and educational commitments and master the art of juggling to meet deadlines.
Today, the post-pandemic competitive workforce demands, deadline-driven
professionals because they are more productive and know how to manage their work-
life balance easily.
These qualities make an employee more desirable at the workplace because he/she is more goal-oriented and performs better even under pressure.
6. Essential Skills are the Key to a Successful Life:
These skillsets can transform a student’s life and create a smooth base for professional and personal relationships. For instance- If you have highly developed communication skills and your active listening is also good, you will be more clear, sorted, likable in your life!
In short, these are a passport to good social relationships and a positive aspect for longevity in one’s career.
7. Makes Functions of Interpersonal Communication Better:
We are not born with advanced interpersonal skills. But these qualities have deep implications in our everyday social lives.
The uses and functions of interpersonal communication add value to our social living and help us to establish stronger bonds with other community members. Effective interpersonal communication allows a meaningful exchange of information between group members and fosters cooperation amongst people who are interdependent on each other.
These functions of expressing, understanding, and cooperating are the essence of an individual’s social presence. On the other hand, if these are missing, the same individual might fail in establishing his/her identity in the society. For young learners, these qualities are a stepping stone to a successful adult life and largely determines their happiness quotient in the years to come!
Now that we know quite a lot about these highly desirable qualities/traits, let’s discuss why soft skills are important in this digital age-
- An Informal Space to Connect with Peers:
Today, the digitally driven world is full of critical roles and responsibilities and needs competitive candidates with high-order thinking and relevant transferrable skills. In a virtual environment, the impression what interpersonal communication creates for an individual is greatly enhanced with these top skills.
Their utility is even higher during asynchronous learning, as these qualities help learners to establish connections with their peers even when the teacher is at bay. All this creates a promising space for learners, and they successfully utilize the advantage of cooperative learning virtually.
- Increased Focus Helps in Managing Online Education:
We already know that online learning needs more focus and discipline. It is easy to connect this with the growing number of online students across the world which proves that these qualities are now quite indispensable.
Soft skills are essential to succeed in an online learning environment because the learner needs to overcome several distractions to succeed as an online learner. Improved mental focus and single-tasking ability are perfect to de-clutter the student’s mind. Eventually, it makes him/her more productive and active during the entire learning process.
- Stress Reduction with Self-Motivation and Discipline:
Online education does allow learning at one’s own pace but at the same time, it demands intrinsic motivation and a disciplined lifestyle.
These qualities instill a sense of ownership and helps the learner to accomplish his/her learning goals well in time. These qualities make digital learning easy and this is another reason as to why are soft skills important in this ‘Information Age’.
- Divergent Thinking and Creativity:
Last but not the least, advanced skillsets promote divergent thinking which in turn breaks the monotony of regular thoughts and thinking abilities. It creates an opportunity for endless expansion of one’s cognitive abilities and allows the learner to design creative solutions for a problem through out-of-box thinking.
Digital learning supported by the best online high school nurtures divergent thinking in students and creates a powerful analytical bent of mind through problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.
Abraham Lincoln’s legendary quote, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will
spend the first four sharpening the axe” holds true in today’s world where it is all
about planning, execution and delivering productivity through your advanced skillsets.
Indeed, these skillsets are a ladder for the upward career movement and the perfect tool to keep the momentum going!!