Soft Skills hold the key

About ten years ago, we recruited Mahesh and Naveen from a campus in Bangalore for the position of sales executives. In the first year, both of them performed well achieving 100% of their targets. Today, Naveen is in a senior position in an IT company, whereas Mahesh is still struggling in his career. What do you think went wrong with Mahesh?

Like in any organisation, both of them got the benefit of in-house training. However, Naveen supplemented this and developed his personality with short-term courses, books and videos. Mahesh, though ambitious, focused only on sales results without developing the soft skills necessary for career advancement.

Strong soft skills were instrumental in Naveen’s success, and the lack of it, for Mahesh’s stagnation. Therefore, organisations lay emphasis on soft skills such as grooming, personality development, communication, motivation, social and interpersonal skills, which help you to apply your domain knowledge skillfully and perform better. This highlights the importance of soft skills that are vital for a beginner’s success. If you have just got your campus placement, the following could be the way forward.

Develop the right attitude

There are five basic life attitudes:

Self-esteem: In simple terms, this is how you feel about yourself. Sometimes, success comes after initial disappointments or failures. Staying confident and composed is necessary.

Hope: Believe in the power of positive thinking, reminding yourself that good things happen to good people. As a beginner working to realise your dreams, ‘hope’ is a necessary ingredient for success.

Empathy: Strong inter-personal relationships is crucial for career. Being empathetic helps to build key relationships.

Faith: Faith is belief in yourself and your abilities. Faith can also be religious or spiritual.

Forgiveness: This attitude helps you drop unnecessary emotional baggage and move on. Remember, forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Develop your personality

Personality is the sum total of your distinguishing character traits, attitudes and habits. Ensure that your dress, hairstyle and accessories enhance your personality, creating a positive first impression.

Develop your listening, speaking and written communication skills.

Acquire new skills

Success in campus placement into a top company doesn’t mean you can rest. On the contrary, you might be working in a highly competitive environment, which demands keeping yourself up-to-date on domain and industry knowledge.

Periodically, acquire new skills to apply knowledge while executing a job, through training and other efforts.

Importantly, time management is the key to a good professional and personal life.

Become a ‘valued’ employee

Any evaluation of employees across organisations generally follows the pattern of an ABC analysis. In most organisations, there are about 20% of employees who are top performers, about 60% of employees rated as average and the balance 20% are people on the chopping block for indiscipline, low performance, etc. Therefore, if you want grow in an organisation, get to the top 20% and be a valued employee.

Tips for success

This will be your first job and hence your first exposure to corporate environment. Managements curiously observe new campus recruits with a lot of expectation. To be successful, focus on:

Learning: Be a quick learner, especially in induction programmes, by active listening. Seek clarifications when in doubt. Take help and be in the company of top performers. Update your domain and industry knowledge.

Results: Get result-oriented, be self-motivated and work towards making every day productive.

Be positive: Be positive about your employer and do not get involved in negative gossip.

Responsibility: Organisations might give additional responsibilities depending on the situation. Tougher the responsibility, greater could be the reward. Take such responsibilities as opportunities to demonstrate your value.

Personality: Change your mindset from a student to a professional. Invest on your wardrobe appropriately. Pay attention to accessories, hairstyle and hygiene.

Your performance in campus selection might get you a good job. But, for success in the job, you need various soft skills. Importantly, your status changes from being a student to a professional. Change your mindset accordingly, adapting quickly to disciplined corporate life.

Joe Girard, American author and trainer, said: ‘The elevator to success is out of order. You will have to use the stairs, one step at a time’. Get result-oriented and become a valued employee, which is your ladder for success.

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V Pradeep Kumar

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