Soft Skills

Most organisations require that those who work in them have certain abilities that allow them to do their jobs effectively. For example, photographers must understand how different camera settings and lighting affect the picture they are taking, and computer programmers need to know how to use Programming languages. These abilities are known as hard or technical skills and to learn them one usually enrolls in some sort of educational programme i.e. where they receive classroom instruction and often practical training as well.

However, to work in any occupation you also need what are referred to as 'soft skills' (often referred to as 'life skills'). Soft skills as opposed to hard skills (such as technical skills) greatly impact the personality development of employees. Organisations today recognize that the professional development of their employees plays an important part in maintaining relationships with their customers, clients, suppliers, co-workers and developing a sucrPcsful business. However, soft skills are not a replacement for hard or technical skills. In fact, they are complementary to them and serve to unlock the potential of people equipped with hard skills.

The sooner the relevant soft skills are learned and developed the better. The learning stage of these skills must start at least at the graduate school level — if not earlier. Today, companies, while interviewing job seekers, are not really worried about the candidates' technical or domain depths. They know that they can teach them the most exotic technology effortlessly, but they also know that the soft skills are the hardest to drive in. Hence the right time to learn these is the time when you are preparing for your graduate/post-graduate programmes.

Soft skills are the personal character traits or qualities each of us has. They make us who we are, generally encompassing our attitudes, habits and how we interact with other people. They refer to abilities that make people better employees and open doors for many opportunities that are not directly related to the subject matter of their jobs. In other words, soft skills refer to a person's ability to relate to others, to get him/her and others organised, to communicate in written, spoken or other forms.