Monday, September 16, 2013

Hard Hitting Soft Skills

What are soft skills and why are they so important for the young adult to master at an early age? Soft skills are those qualities which enable a person to effectively interact with co-workers, managers, and customers.  Soft skills include:
  • work ethic
  • communication skills
  • appropriate language (vocabulary)
  • positive attitude
  • etiquette
  • personal habits
  • problem solving
  • personality traits
  • work style
  • ability to work collaboratively
  • ability to accept and learn from criticism

The importance of soft skills was emphasized by Ken Hansen, Chief Technology Officer for Freescale Semiconductor when he addressed EE department heads from over 120 major universities at the 2012 ECEDHA conference.  He highlighted industry demand for future employees who have expanded skill-sets which include working collaboratively, and most important, knowing how to communicate effectively. Although Hansen was referring to the qualities engineers must develop to be effective leaders, those attributes will well-serve an individual in any occupation.  

This is further validated in a recent study published by Millennial Branding and American Express titled, "Gen Y Workplace Expectations”.  The study included a survey which revealed over 60% of managers and 65% of the young adults rank soft skills as the most important factor in workplace promotion.

Jason Nazar, founder of Docstoc and contributor to Forbes, has a hard-hitting and very practical list of "20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don't Get" which includes critical soft skills. Heeding many of Mr. Nazar's observations, along with reading a chapter a day from the Book of Proverbs and applying its wisdom, will put the young adult in better position to flourish in a vocation. 

IDPlan provides young adults access to goal-setting and reminder applications which they can use to map out a strategy for honing valuable soft skills that will serve them for life.

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