In today’s marketplace, applicants typically possess sets of hard skills such as programming or accounting. While beneficial, these skills only work as the first step to your dream job. Among the competitors who share similar backgrounds, how could you stand out from them? Soft skills, as the touchstone, help you distinguish yourself from the norm. In essence, soft skills emphasize your qualities that in turn produce tangible benefits, which could impress your interviewer, colleagues and clients more than you think.
The division between “inner soft skills” and “outer soft skills”
The mainstream usually only considers the soft skills as the skills outside you — the ones that lie in the interpersonal level, like your ability to conduct a conversation. However, they might neglect the qualities that contribute to these commonplace abilities. The ones on an intrapersonal level may also have a considerable impact on your everyday encounters. Based on such a division, this is the list of ten soft skills helping you stand out and building up your unique personal brand.
Inner Soft skills: Stay faithful to yourself, whatever might come.
“Always be true to yourself. If you can replace others, others can replace you,” said Cliff in the film Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. If you cannot change the world, please don’t lose yourself. If you want to change the world, you have to start by knowing yourself first.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom,” Socrates said. Because we live in such a rapidly changing world, we must remember to stay true to ourselves. Sticking to your core values to yourself is crucial to your success. Once you discover your passions, interests, abilities and limitations, you can better understand what jobs and assignments fit you the most.
2. Emotional Management
Conditions are always varying and circumstances constantly change. Although your emotions may skyrocket on occasion, never bring your temper to the workplace. Professionalism demands your commitment to the job. Stay calm and carry on.
Although people have limited time and energy, we are sometimes forced to deal with multiple assignments varying from routines to emergencies. Multi-tasking abilities are therefore highly beneficial. Learning time management skills helps you balance your work and life and, in turn, get the recognition from your supervisor.
4. Stress management
Stress is a companion of the initiative, but learning how to manage this pressure within your control is a substantial skill to possess. Along with multiple assignments comes stressful deadlines. “Preparing ahead is always the best way to take care of stress. You need to design a timeline for all your courses, graduate school and job application,” said Professor Schdult, a Cornell academic advisor. Although stress may act as friction, it also helps keep you motivated. Instead of fighting against it, try embracing it and even turning it into motivation and efficiency.
“When you’ve decided to take a course, you need to learn to love it,” Cornell senior Yizhuang He said. In a continuously changing market, each practitioner takes “survival of the fittest” as their doctrine. People with an evolving mindset and a “life-long learning” habit are perfect fits for uprising customer needs and stand out from other competitors.
Outer soft skills: Develop your network and interpersonal relations
The change starts with details and your network starts with every small conversation. Every attempt at strengthening your outer soft skills will build up a better image of you.
Communication refers to the process of receiving and delivering information. In the context of soft skills, active listening, oral communication, and written communication all hold serious weight much in a candidate’s first impression. “From my perspective, oral communication is the overall judgment of varying situations and people,” said Jeremy Zhao ’21, the TA of Oral Communication Class. Indeed, this judgment and the way you behave are skills required in any career venture you embark on repetitive training.
Communication occurs in an everyday context, and public speaking highlights these skills. So, don’t back off and step outside your comfort zone. Try standing in the middle of the spotlight and inform your audience with confidence why you worth their belief and trust.
8. Teamwork ability
There are many teamwork assignments in classes. Use your position as a student to your advantage. People don’t repel the stars as long as they follow the rules. Working in an office, you are required to contact your colleagues and finish the job together. The ability to work in a team or group is a highly beneficial skill in the workplace and life in general.
9. Negotiation Skills
The desire to argue often arises, whether you’re trying to get a better offer from your client or ask for a raise from your boss. However, arguing without negotiation skills could be a disaster, and you might even get less than the original deal. Therefore, learning how to foreshadow the context and handle the atmosphere of a conversation is crucial.
Outside the sphere of academia, leadership requires practical experience and learning. Instead of merely a vague reference, leadership involves a set of soft skills that influences how you motivate, manage and interact with every group member. In a way, leadership is both an art and a science and integral to achieving any career endeavor that comes your way.