Soft skills

Hi everyone. We meet again at another sharing by Homeon9tuition. Today, homeon9tuition would like to share another important skill required by students today. Can you guess what is soft skills? Are they important?

One of the common mistake done by parents, teachers and students is having entire focus on academic achievement while neglecting personal traits development, or known as soft skill. In this article, homeon9tuition will highlight what are the attributes of soft skills, and why they matter to students (especially high school students) who are starting to explore career paths.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are the personal traits and attitudes that allow you to succeed in the workplace, college, and life. They’re set of skills that enable you to work and blend well with groups, solving any difficulty and have sense of responsibility onto your work. In today’s insanely competitive market , these are skills that can make someone stand out from other candidates.

A report prepared by the SCANS (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills) report in the 1990s highlighted competencies and foundation skills necessary to be successful in the workplace in the 20th Century. In the early 2000s, the Framework for the 21st Century revisited many of the SCANS competencies and foundation skills and again emphasized the importance of integrating workplace skills in education. The 2013 Job Outlook Report, published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) stated that what made an ideal job candidate was the evidence of the ‘soft skills’ needed in the workplace. Majority employers agree that they prefer employee that can communicate well who can lead and make decisions as well as possess critical thinking when working, thus contribute effectively to the company.

Employers report on the gap in soft skills among applicants. In 2013, a report from the Seattle Jobs Initiative in Perspectives from Employers and Community Colleges found that soft skills were as important as technical skills for fresh graduates, to secure a good entry-level employment.

What are some of these soft skills employers refer to? The essential soft skills cited by these employers are ones that are outlined by employers are teamwork, cooperation and collaboration, oral and written communication, problem solving and critical thinking and professionalism/work ethic.

Having these skills set gives a person an initial recognition in his/her career success. Even tutors at homeon9tuition required to have these skills before employment to ensure learning journey is delivered in the highest quality.

Therefore, what are the strategies can be practiced by students to shape the mentioned skills? Homeon9tuition would like to share steps or method to shape the vital soft skills.

Professionalism/work ethic

A result from a national survey stated more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals have their own top three soft skills they sought in new employees. One of them is having a string work ethic or known as professionalism.

Professionalism often been describes as timeliness, teamwork, commitment, responsibility and ingegrity upon a task or role. It is often integrated as completing the task in highly manner, and not practicing misconduct or dishonesty.

Students, teachers and Homeon9tuition tutors need to work together to make students be responsible. One way to integrate responsibility is students can prepare checklists and weekly tests so that they can monitor their own progress.  Study shows that when students are given an opportunity to keep track of their progress, they are more motivated and committed to coming to class. They are responsible for keeping track of their progress. Parents and tutors can help to develop responsibility sense in students by supervising their progress and give moral support. Parents and tutors also can help giving suggestion on how to finish given task efficiently.

Employers also emphasised that they prefer someone who can be a great team player, rtaher than a passive one. Hence, students also need to develop this trait in school for a good future. Students are encouraged to participate actively whenever in a group, either as discussion group in classroom, or representing school as a group. Common misconception that students have nowadays is that they participate in an event or a competition for a sake of good co-curriculum record and have a bright future for scholarships and enrolled to prestigious university. However, students seem to neglect the fact that contribute as a team actually do more than that. By actively participate, students can develop teamwork andd at the same time empathy, tolerance and leadership which is essential to have in working environment. Therefore, Homeon9tuition encourages students to volunteer in class, or representing school. If students can’t find any events that suit their preference, they can involve in volunteering work around their neighbourhood as it also helps to develop the soft skills mentioned. Always reach out to your teachers or tutors for suggestions of volunteering work that suit your preferences.

Good oral communication

Give students the opportunity to communicate orally. This is one of the soft skills that is most commonly cited by employers. Oral communication means employees can interact with collegues and their employer in a courteous manner. Employers classified this as an essential skills to develop, as there are events which employee can’t give out opinion due to lack of speech delivery idea, or employees whom fighting among themselves thus creating a negative environment in the department. To prevent this from happening, students need to communicate regularly in the class and among peers. Raise up your hands for suggestion and disagreement. It is believed that thus habit can help to improve self esteem thus resulting in a good oral communication in a long run. If students think that they are too shy to speak in front of large group of audience, they can try speack casually but informative with their peers, teachers or tutors. We at Homeon9tuition are happy to help if any of you need help to improve your communication skill.

Other that that, to become an effective communicator, you have to first become an active listener. When conversing with family, friends, or teachers, listen carefully, paraphrase their comments back to them, and ask questions to clarify their meaning or draw them further into the conversation. In “Five Ways to Listen Better,” TED Talk speaker Julian Treasure refers to this technique by the acronym RASA: Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, and Ask. Not only does this practice make others feel “heard,” but it also improvesretention of facts and understanding of others’ viewpoints. In college and the workplace, students will need those active listening skills to understand your assignments and work effectively as part of a team.

Excellent Written communication

Students should get iused to write in different genres, such as emails, letters, memos, summaries and business writing. Feedback from employer stated that more than half of fresh graduates are confused and struggle writing a formal business email even to their supervisor. Students can always practice to write a formal business essay just like what they did at school now, but they also need to be exposed on how to write a good email and letters from now. Students can always look up in the internet on how to write a professional one, but it is important to get feedback from experienced figure, such as Homeon9tuition tutors. With a range of backgrounds, students can always refer Homeon9tuition for writing letters and memos, according to the industry.

It is also recommended for students to start writing a blog in their free time. Free domain such as blogspot and wordpress are a good platform for students to start writing a blog. Choose a theme for your blog, but for a stater, Homeon9tuition recommends to write a simple lifestyle or online diary blog. These themes are easier as students just need to write what they experienced, in digital form. Homeon9tuition believed that writing a blog helps widen students vocabulary and improve their grammar, as well as expressing their emotions in writtten form. By doing this, students are able to unleash the supress emotion. It is also said students will automatically reflect themselves when putting the emotion in written form.

Critical thinking

According to Parrish and Johnson’s Promoting Learner Transitions to Postsecondary Education and Work: Developing Academic Readiness Skills from the Beginning, critical thinking includes the following skills:  organizing, categorizing, predicting, interpreting, analyzing and evaluating, summarizing and decision making.

What can students need to do in classes to promote critical thinking without changing whar they learn ? One way they can do this is the way they manage their classroom resources. For example, have students come to class every day with an organized binder. However, it’s not enough to ask students to bring a binder with dividers. They need to learn to make categories, to insert the handout in the correct category and to maintain the binder. If a student is asked at a job interview, “Why should I hire you? What can you offer us that the other 40 applicants can’t?” Students will be ready for the answer: “I’m organized. I’m efficient. I can find what I need quickly.” Teachers can model organizational skills by starting each class with an agenda on the board. Writing a simple agenda or schedule of what is going to be done in class is a simple thing that has very positive

Build social and emotional skills

Why is this recognised as important soft skills needed by employee? Employers agree that people who has good sociability amd good control of emotion can lead an progress faster in a company.Did you know that 77% of employers say that “soft” skills like communicating effectively are just as important to getting hired as technical job requirements or “hard skills” like knowing a computer programming language? It is believed that people with this skill will have a good control in an unexpected situation.

In school, group work is another arena where non-cognitive skills can be easily integrated into the classroom. Problem- or project-based learning can be great opportunities for students to engage in social skills and the smaller units often help quiet or more introverted students to find a voice. Additionally, students who may be resistant to teacher timelines feel a camaraderie when working in a group that keeps them on task and motivated. The freedom that group work allows for students also helps spur them to work on time-management and self-control, particularly when they might rather talk than work. This reinforces the idea of self-regulation and time-on-task, two keys to future success.

Develop Lifelong Learning Skills

As one employer puts it, “The jobs we train for today won’t even exist tomorrow.” So, to thrive in a fast-changing workplace, students want to develop the attitudes and habits of a lifelong learner. Here are a few simple soft skills activities for high school students that can help:

  • Volunteer as a tutor or mentor. As the saying goes, “To teach is to learn twice.” When students teach each others, students are constantly learning and exploring new things and new ways to learn.
  • Identify a specific new skill to learn and the steps required to learn it. Whether want to learn to play a guitar or master a programming language, teaching yourself new skills builds confidence and the habits of independent learning.
  • Attend free public events at local colleges, museums, libraries, or music academies. Be intentional in television viewing and web surfing, “curating” the content to expand the worldview or dig deeper into subjects that can gain students’s interest.
  • Read, read, read.
    Beyond advancing your college and career goals, of course, these skills can make your life richer and more meaningful.

    Finally, when it comes to developing soft skills, parents are one of your single greatest resources. Ask them about the role these skills have played in their lives and careers. Then, share any of their tips in the comments below.