Soft Skills: A Key to Employment Today


Mrs. Poonam Sahnan
MBA, M.Phil
Specialization HR/IB
Sr. Program Manager
All India Professional & Management Association

This article reflects the light of importance of the soft skill for every students .Besides having academic or technical knowledge it is much important to have adequate skills. Now a days no more management degree and a double- spaced, blown up CV could fetch a high paying job. The industry requires much more than professional ability and scholastic achievements. The focus is now as much on communication, personality and behavior of an employee. Professional expertise needs now to be supplemented with an off-the-field, personal skill-set — termed as soft-skills. Soft Skills now a days a hot topic for discussion in education sector or corporate or any other sector. Everyone is talking about the importance of soft skills .But why?

Since 1990's the intense competition and rapid change in the technology bring the dramatic change in the economy that result into corporate restructuring. Due to impact of globalization taking place in structure of jobs and its requirements which require a great level of work skills and results into change in job profiles and organizational structure .The importance of how people do their work and how they interact with each other in order to play a vital role in the success of achieving organizational goals.

In present senior the traditional roles of managers is changing into active participation .these changes have created the need for expanded skills. North India is also emerging as the hub of soft-skill training centres.These private training centers provide various courses ranging from communication skills to corporate table-manners. Many of these institutes have partnership with leading colleges. 'Freelance soft-skill trainer, Chitra Narasimhan, says that today, almost everyone preparing for a job in the IT or BPO industry, goes for a course on soft-skills. "It has become an indispensable part of your CV. Speech and communication, as well as understanding behavior and etiquette, makes you a better employee," she says. There are courses available on business English, on wearing the right dress for the boardroom meeting, and on holding the knife properly during official luncheons – every little personal detail matters, and could be worked upon and utilized in the workspace. "People get hired for their professional skills, but get fired for their lack of soft-skills," .Ashish is currently undergoing a personality development program in one of Gurgaon's institutes. "Such a course enhances my CV, and makes me better qualified," he says. It's an overall grooming session for Ashish, where he is taught interpersonal skills – a fancy term for being able to talk properly – and is taught how to get it all right on the day of the interview. "The right way to greet your interviewer, the right dress, and how to maintain eye-contact, all these things matter," he says. Better soft skills, adds Ashish, build up confidence and make you more employable and suited to today's market. According to an HR representative with a Gurgaon based BPO, soft-skill training is becoming essential to the BPO industry. "First of all you need to get your language right, and you need to be able to get through to the customers on the phone," he says. Secondly, stress-management is most important, a tool which comes in handy way too often in a call-centre."Many times it so happens that the customer on the line starts getting abusive and aggressive. And whether the employee is able to handle this is a question of how equipped is he with the soft-skills. Such training sessions teach you how to handle stress better and how to negotiate better," the representative added.

Soft Skills?

Before going any debating the importance of soft skills one should know about "What exactly are Soft Skills" The online encyclopedia "Wikipedia "gives a very broad definition of Soft Skills "Soft Skills refers to the cluster of personality traits, social grace, facility with language, personal habit s, friendliness and optimism that mark people to varying degrees Soft Skills complement hard skills, which are the technical requirement of a job"

Soft Skills can be incorporating all aspects of generic skills that include the cognitive element associate with non academic skills. Soft Skills may best be explained in terms of what employees need to be in the workplace .So Soft Skills are communicative skills, fluencing in language, management qualities. Soft skills, sometimes known as "people skills," are personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which tend to be specific to a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are broadly applicable.

Soft skill is the ability required and expected from persons for finding a suitable job, its maintenance and promotion.Softskills is an important facet of life. It is essential in all spheres of life. Be it an interview or dealing with the project leader or working out a solution with a team or writing a report, getting across the point effectively is what matters.

The success of an endeavor hinges on the ability to communicate effectively in today's fast paced life, everyone is asked to do more with less. In such a scenario effective communication holds the key. Effectively communication centers round the usage of words, speed of delivery of words, pitch modulation and body language. Using the right tools to communicate the right messages at the right time can salvage a crisis and motivate people to work towards success. Truly said, communication works but for those who work at it. In the existing globalization scenario, most of the Information Technology, I.T Enabled Services, management institutes, public and private sector, multi-national Companies, Union Public Service Commission, and State Public Service Commission are search for a right and suitable fresher for executive posts. Whatever be the recruiting criteria that I.T, ITES, industry giants had in their agenda, once this was clear a first class degree would not serve the purpose, the candidate have to satisfy the skill sets that the companies were looking for. And unanimously, the skills set that they were looking for Soft skills.

The immediate results of developing good communication skills are:

1. Ability to listen effectively
2. Ability to send Clear Messages
3. To win confidence and respect of peers, employers
4. Impressive non-verbal behavior

Scope of soft skills development

It is very important to develop soft skills because it enables you to:

* To handle interpersonal relations
* To take appropriate decisions
* To communicate effectively
* To have good impression and impact to gain professional development

Soft skills are sometimes broken down into personal attributes, such as:


* common sense
* responsibility
* a sense of humor
* integrity
* time-management
* Motivation.

And interpersonal abilities, such as:

* empathy
* leadership
* communication
* good manners
* sociability
* The ability to teach.

It's often said that hard skills will get you an interview but you need soft skills to get (and keep) the job.

Why is Soft Skills Important?

One straightforward reasons in today's job market in many field is becoming competitive .To be successful in this tough environment, to survive in this competitive world one should add up convincing personal traits and habits in his or her academic knowledge

If we talk about employer's point of view they prefer to take in job such a candidate who will be productive from every early stage .Passing out from university or any B-School one has to be trained on putting more stress on three sentences together

1. How to do a proper presentation.
2. How to chat in a pleasant and wining manner with everyone.
3. Quick self starter.

Soft Skills training has numerous dimensions some are mentioned below:

1. Communication Skills
2. Team building Skills
3. Time management
4. Presentation Skills
5. Social and Business Etiquettes
6. Interpersonal Skills
7. Attitude
8. Leadership Skills
9. Conflict management
10. Adaptability
11. Decision Making 
12. Problem Solving Skills

Areas to examine and evaluate include:

* Personal accountability.
* The degree of collaboration.
* Interpersonal negotiation skills.
* Conflict resolution.
* People's adaptability and flexibility.
* The clarity of communications.
* Creative thinking.
* Inclusion.
* Coaching and mentoring.

The more of these things you see around you, the better people's soft skills are likely to be within your organization. These all have a significant impact on the attitude a person brings to interactions with clients, customers, colleagues, supervisors, and other stakeholders. The more positive someone's attitude is, the better that person's relationships will be. That's what fosters great team performance, and leads people to contribute strongly to the organization's vision and strategy.

Are technical skills enough?

Technical and job-related skills are a must, but they are NOT sufficient when it comes to progressing up the ladder.

With the traditional paternalistic style of leadership becoming passé, professional managers expect their teams to be proactive and communicate openly.

"Soft skills are very important in business. It is essential to be technically sound, but one should also have the ability to convey the idea to the masses in the simplest possible manner," says Mayurkumar Gadewar, an ERP consultant with Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

With the boom in outsourcing taking root across industries, many professionals and subject matter experts directly deal with their clients on a regular basis.

Their approachability and people skills are what ultimately sustain the contract their employers have bagged.

"Planning is necessary but execution is also equally important. And it takes soft skills to execute any idea because it involves dealing with people directly," says Gadewar.


Soft Skills are on the job ablates that go beyond an individual job description. Soft Skills fulfill an important role in shaping aindividual personality by complementing his /her hard skills. Training on soft skills becomes all the more relevant in a country like India where the education system does not delve into personality development.

"Soft skill training is essential because we do not have it in our academic curricula. Therefore, corporate houses have to take up the task of grooming employees who are the link between the company and the external world, so that they are able to present themselves better, "says Sumeet Mehta, an equity research analyst with Fortis Securities Ltd.

After completing your graduation in humanities, there is a wide range of opportunities in the job market. According to data, BPO/ITeS, IT/telecom and educational /training sectors are the top three industries that hire humanities graduates.

According to Satindra Sen, cofounder and director, Exper Executive Education Pvt Ltd, the reason why BPO/ITeS sector is more inclined towards hiring humanities graduates is because this sector does not require a specialized skill-set. These graduates are offered roles, which require good customer relation skills and since these graduates are good at soft skills, they fit well in such roles.

Light the growth of country with Sot Skills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


1. British Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR)
2. The Icfai Journal of Soft Skills Vol I No 2

Mrs. Poonam Sahnan
MBA, M.Phil
Specialization HR/IB
Sr. Program Manager
All India Professional & Management Association

Source: E-mail August 11, 2013


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