Soft skills, also known as “people skills”, are defined as the ability to interact effectively with others. They are shown through personal traits and behaviour as opposed to hard skills. Soft skills are important because they are transferable across multiple industries and settings.
Students are encouraged to develop soft skills as early as possible. These skills can be improved throughout a student’s school life as they transition to higher education. As employers today value soft skills as much as academic qualifications, soft skills are essential in building a successful and lucrative career.
Here are five important soft skills every student should have:
Problem-solving skills are important as each student will encounter problems or issues during their studies that need to be resolved as soon as possible. When faced with a problem, students need to use critical thinking and analytical skills to find ways to solve a particular problem effectively. This involves identifying factors that caused the problem, brainstorming solutions, implementing a plan and assessing whether the problem was solved in the end. It is normal for students to make mistakes in their studies or in their extracurricular activities. Therefore, students need to assess what went wrong and learn not to repeat the same mistake again.
Creative thinking skills
Creative thinking is a skill that encourages students to look at things differently and find new ways to solve problems. Individuals who have creative thinking skills come up with ideas and see things differently compared to the rest. These people are natural problem-solvers and innovators. However, for most people, creative thinking is something that requires a lot of effort and that is where people tend to save their creative thinking for when it is necessary. Creative thinking is not limited to “creative types” of people such as artists or musicians. It is also an important skill as it helps lead to an expansion of one person’s imagination. Hence, students can develop their creative thinking skills by doing things outside their comfort zones and interacting with different groups of people.
Decision making skills
Thousands of decisions are made every day and each of them may have positive or negative consequences. Learning decision making skills provides the opportunity to increase positive outcomes while trying to decrease the consequences of failure. Students will need to learn how to make decisions throughout their school years whether it be in their academic work or extracurricular activities. Decision making skills help students become independent and mature individuals. By deciding which path to go for, which electives to select and which co-curricular activities to join, students will build the foundation of decision making skills and learn what is best for them. In addition, choosing friends and groups that they mingle with can also help them develop character.
All students must be able to communicate effectively with their parents, teachers and friends to build good relationships. Good written and verbal communication skills in English, Malay, Mandarin or other languages are essential. Writing skills are needed to write clear and concise assignments and reports whereas speaking skills are important when conveying ideas during classes and presentations. Interpersonal skills, or how you interact with others, are needed at school as well. Students will need to understand how to face people and communicate with them as there are various types of characters in people; some who are more aggressive, some who are more sensitive. Individuals who are friendly and are comfortable around new people are more likely to adapt well to new environments in the future. A good way to meet new people is to join different clubs and societies in school.
Leadership skills are about leaving a lasting impression such as strength of character, integrity and other various positive qualities, which can be developed and mirrored in other individuals. With these skills as a leader, it also gives out the feeling of support and encouragement to individuals in the group. Some leaders are quick in thinking and can make the right decision, coordinate with other people and pull off an event as a leader. Some may be slower but rational in thinking by taking their time to complete a task . There will be opportunities for students to be leaders such as a class election, student union election, club president or class representative that will test who the majority of the students or people like and think should be a leader.
If you enjoyed reading this article, check out the following: