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5 Important Soft Skills For University Students

September 06, 2023

Anis

soft-skills

As the world keeps changing, universities have a bigger role than just teaching students the usual stuff. 

Universities should also encourage students to develop important soft skills. 

They can help them in their academic and professional lives and personal growth. 

Let's go through the top five soft skills university students must develop to thrive in today's education and work environments.

What Are Soft Skills? 

Soft skills are non-technical abilities that enable effective interaction with others in personal, social, and professional contexts. 

Although soft skills are difficult to measure, they play a vital role in an individual's overall competence and adaptability. 

Soft skills include communication, teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability, and time management. 

How Does It Different From Hard Skills?

Hard skills are specific to each job and level of seniority. It means that every position in an organization requires hard skills. 

Employers often require these skills in the working world because they are necessary for the job. 

Therefore, it is important to review the most common hard skills in job postings for your desired career path. 

Examples of hard skills are editing, content management, operating system, network administration, and graphic design. 

By refining these skills, university students can significantly increase their chances of professional growth. 

5 Soft Skills Examples 

1. Adaptability

Adaptability is a highly sought-after soft skill. 

It refers to an individual's ability to adjust to evolving conditions or environments while staying current with the latest regulations.. 

It involves meeting new customer requirements or adapting to new technological developments in a work setting. 

It may also involve pursuing a job not initially in one's area of expertise or enhancing one's career by taking on new responsibilities.

2. Communication

soft skills

Communication skills are integral in comprehending, collaborating, and engaging in productive client conversations. 

Developing effective communication skills requires extensive training, such as body language, tone of voice, coherence, and questioning. 

Possessing strong communication skills is advantageous during the interview process and throughout one's career.

The ability to communicate well involves knowing how you should speak to others in different situations or settings.

3. Teamwork

The ability to effectively cooperate, communicate, and collaborate with individuals is advantageous for employees in a work setting. 

This is a prime example of soft skills, as people often collaborate on projects even in predominantly independent work settings. 

4. Critical thinking 

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are highly valued by employers in their employees. 

However, these skills are often lacking and require training. 

Employees who can effectively solve problems are greatly respected. 

They may utilize their industry expertise or work with their colleagues to identify solutions.

5. Time management

soft skills

Effective time management is a prime factor in achieving academic success and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

Therefore, as a university student, you can employ time management skills such as Pomodoro or task batching. 

Why are time management skills important? 

Developing effective time management fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability, which employers highly value. 

Also read: 6 Effective Time Management Skills Tips 

How Can University Students Expand Soft Skills? 

As a university student, you must take concrete steps to elevate your soft skills. 

Below are some tips that you must take into account:

1. Join clubs or societies

Participating in student clubs or societies is an advantageous way to enhance your leadership and communication skills. 

By joining a community service group or cultural organization, university students can engage with many individuals and work collaboratively as a team. 

This experience can provide valuable skills and knowledge they can apply professionally. 

2. Engage in group projects

soft skills

It is common for university students to participate in group projects. 

Hence, use this opportunity to hone soft skills like communication, time management, and problem-solving. 

To make the most of these experiences, they must take the lead in discussions, assigning tasks, and acknowledging everyone's input.  

3. Participate in volunteering or internship

Volunteering or internships presents a great chance to cultivate many soft skills. 

By participating in these experiences, university students can refine their adaptability and problem-solving abilities.

4. Public speaking

Public speaking is a vital soft skill. 

Participate in class presentations, public speaking clubs, or events that require you to address an audience. 

Practice will boost your confidence and ability to convey ideas clearly.

5. Do some reading

soft skills

University students can enhance their personal growth, communication, and leadership skills through books (preferably e-books). 

Engaging in such materials, they can gain a deeper understanding, boosting them to excel professionally. 

Soft Skills Interview Questions

Employers do value soft skills when considering potential employees. 

Although soft skills may not be as easily measured, employers still assess your soft skills during the hiring process. 

Below are some examples of the questions your employer may ask to gauge your soft skills.

1. How do you manage your tasks? 

One important soft skill in a highly relevant workplace is organization and time management. 

It's a fact that things don't always go as planned and unforeseen emergencies can arise that require immediate attention. 

Therefore, employers want to ensure that you possess the skills to effectively prioritize, organize, and manage your workload and time in such situations.

It's important to mention the tools to organize your projects and how they have helped you decide which tasks to tackle first.

2. How do you deal with someone you are not compatible with?

It is rare for anyone to work alone.
 
Though working in a team can be great, it can also be difficult when you have to work with someone you don't get along with. 

Employers may inquire about your team-oriented disposition during interviews to assess your suitability for the role. 

3. What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? 

Employers often pose This question as it offers valuable insights into a candidate's problem-solving perseverance. 

Hence, if you encounter such a question, it is advisable to present a real-life challenge and explain how you tackled it. 

You can structure a concise response to ensure effective communication. 

Also, read interview-related topics: 

10 Scholarship Interview Questions Made Easy!

7 Sure Fire Ways To Book That Job Interview

In summary, university students must acknowledge the significance of soft skills in shaping their academic journey and future career opportunities. 

By developing soft skills, they can improve their personal development and excel in any undertaking.

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