Engineers honing non-technical traits
Vipul Singh, 30 Jul 2014

BEYOND CLASS Besides domain knowledge, students must develop their personality and soft skills


ADITYA Motwane was an aspiring candidate for one of India’s leading companies. Armed with an engineering degree with top grades, he was confident of securing a good profile at his dream company. His must-do preparatory strategy for the interview included brushing up all possible technical questions. In real time, however, no preparatory skill came to his rescue, as he was required to attempt just two questions: a five-minute extempore and a 100-word statement on ‘What are your Career Goals?’ Yet, again a clear scenario of a talented engineer stalled in reaching his dream job for failing to hone his non-technical personality. How many Adityas do recruiters meet on an average? And is the need to work on one’s soft skills a much-needed reality check amongst Indian tech wizards?

 

Finding the right fit

Today, a recruiter’s nightmare is the off-balance they see in a prospective talent’s technical and non-technical skills. Along with bringing in their theoretical expertise on the subject, today companies are actively paying attention to a person’s psyche, body language, and personality to determine if he or she is the right fit. 

 

The final battle ground

India’s talent pool is considered top-notch with 8 to 10 lakhs of BE and BTech students passing out each year. These graduates are potential candidates with top-class technical knowledge, programming skills, logical thinking to name a few. Hence, cultivating one’s soft skills and marrying it with the already-existing technical expertise is the final armour while going into battle ground - the job market. Developing and giving life to one’s soft skills is a continuous process that needs attention – it must be fitted into one’s daily routine in order to see the best results. Let’s take a look at some of the key soft skills that will help you get that extra edge over your peers.

 

Personal integrity

Personal integrity is a bedrock foundation stone for any successful career. Personal integrity should be a choice rather than an obligation at work. The core principles of integrity: compassion, honesty, generosity, kindness, loyalty, objectivity, trust, respect are professional assets that one should carry every day to work.


Professional assets

  • Integrity

  • Compassion

  • Honesty

  • Generosity

  • Kindness

  • Loyalty

  • Objectivity

  • Trust 

  • Respect


 

Communication

It is really important to translate what you know on paper into words. This is the only way for people you work with to know about your work. With increasing global interaction, your only way to showcase your work is by communicating effectively. This is also the key to understand the requirements and execute them as per need.

 

Understanding cultures

A significant aspect in communication is the ability to quickly adapt to the nuances of cross-cultural work environment. This often helps in having an open two-way communication channel. A corporate professional has to abide by norms like the value of interpersonal relationships, result/product orientation, time management, customer satisfaction and cross-cultural sensitivity.

 

Stay updated

Another key to communicate effectively is to stay abreast on the happenings in the world. Reading extensively on topics on hobbies and interests to current affairs like economy, market trends etc. help in conversations and building rapport with colleagues and clients. Also, staying active on social media and connecting with people in the organization, connecting with similar communities can help in enhancing one’s knowledge of the industry.

 

Keep learning

There is no dearth for challenges and issues in the ever-changing business environment. The ability to understand problems, offer solutions and also foresee future challenges is necessary for achieving success. This especially requires skills to enhance individual competencies. These competencies can be acquired only when the candidates have strong commitment and appetite to learn more.

 

Accountability, responsibility

To seek responsibility is one way to move ahead in the organization. Be proactive and take on additional responsibilities. Take on new projects outside the regular domain, which helps in acquiring new skills. This also provides for a more challenging work environment.

 

Be open

An openness to new ideas and thinking give strong results that will be valued by the employer greatly.  Within no time tech dynamics are rapidly reshaping the industries. This forces organizations to implement change internally to keep up with the pace. To accept this change, one should be open and flexible enough. Adaptability towards change and openness towards new ideas can take one far ahead in the career. Adaptability is the first step towards handling change efficiently. For example, when computers made a foray into the Indian industry, a huge chunk of the workforce could not adapt to the advanced technology. Hence a majority of them had to either shift careers or take a sabbatical to learn additional skill sets. The younger generation at the time, which was more flexible to change benefitted and moved ahead in their careers.

 

Be dependable, reliable

Think about the person with whom you want to tag along in your class for a group project. Obviously you want someone who is intelligent, has good subject knowledge and more importantly a person who is dependable and reliable. Employers also look for the employees with this skill to entrust their organization’s crucial responsibilities and job roles.   


 

 

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