The growing importance of soft skills

The hard skills acquired during college will not suffice in keeping us fulfilled while thriving in our fields. | Heidi Cuevas, PantherNOW

Benz De Marshall Pierre | Staff Writer

I know many of us might hate the idea, but getting a decent-paying job is the most important reason why a college degree is worth pursuing. The endless hours spent sitting in lectures and learning hard and soft skills are not pointless. 

Aside from the hard skills we learn throughout college, soft skills are the supplement that kind of soften these hard skills in humanizing us but also in making us better in our fields. They are excellent additions to one’s arsenal of personal traits.

These soft skills range from leadership abilities, creativity, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, time management and many more. 

After college, the years spent mastering a number of skills taught in the field of our choice, will be worth it and we will have a blast applying them in our chosen profession. 

The road to get there might be rocky, but with time it will all be worth it. 

Think of time management, for instance. When you are in college, the pressure to follow deadlines is not done out of pure annoyance, but it is a healthy and important habit that professors want us to embrace. If you have good time management, your future employers will love you. 

Companies that once placed high value on skills acquired from academic or vocational experience are recognizing how critical soft skills are becoming. We may think that the things we learn in the classroom will determine our success in the workplace, but the truth is, they’re not. Soft skills distinguish the good from the great. 

They will still value your hard skills, but if you cannot submit stuff on time and if you have no notion of leadership, you may find it a bit challenging to succeed. Plus, different demographics will mean different ways to communicate. 

This also creates some kind of democratization of the job market which is a phenomenon that cannot take place if we fail to learn how to reach out to these demographics. Either due to genuine interest in them or purely for purposes of forwarding material interest, the consumer’s language must be learned. 

Beyond the outward pursuit of material interests by companies large and small, internally, the workplace will immensely benefit from soft skills. Companies that once placed high value on the hard skills acquired from academic or vocational experience are recognizing that soft skills are critical. 

You are likely to work at a company that blends people from all walks of life, they will come with their own frustration, opinions, and beliefs. That does not have to mean there will be intense contention, rather these differences should be capitalized, celebrated and used productively. 

You will also be asked to speak well, which means your public speaking class is not a waste of time. I assure you it is not. 

These different perspectives will bolster problem-solving at work. In that scenario, successful problem-solving will be the result of teamwork, which will often be undertaken during high-pressure situations. The unending work-in-groups that we are assigned in college are not so useless after all. 

Leadership and taking initiative are highly sought-after traits. A world where people are not interested in launching audacious enterprises, big or small, would be dull. As we prepare to enter the job market, it is critical that we refine our leadership skills, since these may determine whether or not we climb the hierarchical ladder. What you saw in Suits may be an exaggeration, but get ready for the tough stuff. 

But leadership may not only be the narrow pursuit of one’s personal whims, it could also be used in response to a workplace riddled with issues. In using it, the interest of all will be served. 

Empathy is also worth noting among the soft skills of the future. Think of it this way, it is easy to be lost in the maze of our daily duties, at times it seems as though the world may be quite narrow in our perspective. In that regard, empathy ensures that the human connection remains intact.  

Enforcing the prevalence of these skills should be in your minds when you all enter the job market. The hard skills acquired during college will not suffice to keep us fulfilled while thriving in our fields.

As the world eagerly awaits our input, the time is ripe to polish these skills as we eye our profession of choice. That is a ship we must not miss, as the future belongs to those who take early action.

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