The first appointment order can be exciting. The prospect of landing a job and getting paid for it is a dream come true for all youngsters. It contains visions of freedom and a sense of responsibility too. One feels one has arrived in the adult world.
While taking some final year students through life skills, I also broached the subject of employability skills. The young adults were all ears and wanted to understand the skill set.
The first skill I emphasize on for great growth in a career is effective communication skills. All are able to talk, but effective communication requires effective listening skills too. Email etiquette, telephone etiquette, interpersonal communication and the use of appropriate words are all essential ingredients of effective communication. One also needs to be better informed to be able to speak and hold one’s ground. And the ability to present an idea has to be learned. Having information is not enough, one has to learn to present it and discuss it.
Email communication has to be clear and concise. I suggested to the students to check spelling and Grammar. I emphasized on Assertive Communication. This would teach them the skill of saying No, and how to express without appearing rude. They needed to brush up on their language skills.
Each person needs to learn how to be a team player. One has to mesh in with the team, and contribute for the team to perform better. Different people will bring different strengths to the team, each has to utilize the present strength and function as a well oiled team. Trying to do one’s own thing will not help, and getting involved in power struggles is detrimental to the productivity of the team.
Research skills are also useful. The ability to look for information, be willing to spend time and energy in tracking down information can be a great skill to develop. One never knows where this skill will help.
The students were asked to show initiative and enterprise. Sticking to one’s job description is not enough. The attitude of wanting to take on challenges, the willingness to stay back late or come in early, pitching in and helping a team mate with his/her responsibility, etc will all be appreciated.
Learning is an ongoing process. No learning goes waste. Each person should be willing to attend workshops, skills enhancing classes, and any project that will add to one’s knowledge should be undertaken enthusiastically. One needs to have an open mind. You do not know where you will pick up skills from. It could be from a workshop, from a colleague or even as you are working on a project.
Language skills need to be polished. A good command over language will take you along way. When you fumble for words, stammer, or remain tongue tied due to lack of fluent language, you do create a wrong impression. When your command over the language is good, the words will flow naturally. You too will feel confident in any group. English is the Universal language, so understanding and picking up the nuances will definitely help.
A good sense of humor is also essential. Nothing like the ability of cracking a joke to break tension. Sense of humor does not mean clowning around. And a good sense of humor will be when one is able to take a joke at one’s expense.
Developing organizational skills will be useful sometime. If you are asked to organize an event or a meeting, then your skills will be observed. How you organize the work given to you will be a pointer towards your personality. Practice with small events, and then learn how to move on to bigger ones.
Developing functional, adaptable and transferable skills will help in moving up the professional ladder. Functional skills are what you are trained in. Adaptable skills refer to how you are able to adapt to the culture of the organization where you are working. Different organizations have different culture. Take time to understand and follow them. Till you are in that organization, you need to perform within the culture.
The world is ruled by technology. So professional areas require sufficient technical skills. Upgrading such skills will help. Learning technical skills is of importance, as also periodic review and upgrading.
Good interpersonal skills are essential for a smooth work area. Losing temper, shouting, using abusive language, sulking, reporting late, not attending meetings, passing the buck, delaying schedules deliberately, are all signs of immaturity and irresponsibility. If you are in the habit of procrastination, being laid back, not pulling your weight, you could soon be replaced by someone else in the team. Your actions and behavior are constantly monitored; so feeling you can get away with slack work is an illusion. When the appraisal comes in not as expected, then you have only yourself to blame.
Commitment and responsibility to anything is a commendable trait. More so towards one’s career. After all when your career grows, you tend to benefit. So traits of dependability, commitment, responsibility, and a good array of skills will help you rise in your professional area. I asked the students to keep these points in their minds and to be proactive. What skills they have with them initially will take them some way. But to move further, they need to add to their skill sets.