How to Hone Your Soft Skills
In our previous post, we established that soft skills are an integral part of any potential employee’s arsenal. Now we tackle the best ways to improve these skills so you can stand out to potential employers. Read on for five tips on how best to enhance your #SoftSkills:
- Mock interviews: Mock interviews simulate the pressure of an interview, allowing you to see how you perform in a high pressure work environment. Feedback from professionals is always the best way to rectify mistakes so check out Autogram’s mock interview service to get constructive and personalized tips on improving your soft skills. If nothing else, practice some basic interview questions in a mirror to get a sense of how you come across in terms of body language and eye contact.
- Smile! Show your enthusiasm: While this may seem like a small thing, it can set you apart in a big way. In a sea of interviews, employers often find their energy waning. A fresh, enthusiastic face can make you stand out and signal that you are a positive person to have around in a workplace. Don’t go overboard with it though (you don’t want to seem like you are smiling because you have nothing to say!). Just make sure to greet people enthusiastically, be gracious if you are complimented and make yourself seem easy to work with.
- Read diversely and stay up to date: Finding connections between seemingly unrelated things is a key soft skill that shows employers you can think on your feet. For example, you might think that if you are in sales, you only need to read things related to the product/s you are selling. This could not be further from the truth. To be a good salesperson, you should have a broad knowledge base so you can always keep up with clients. If you happen to meet a client who mentions in passing that they work with a feminist NGO, you should know enough about feminism in India to start a conversation with them about it. This strengthens their valuation of you as they will see you as someone who they connect with. Ultimately, it leads to a greater chance of them buying your product. Similarly, as a fashion designer, it is always useful to know business trends so you know how much people are willing to spend on fabric/ craftsmanship at any given time. Always diversify your reading so you can make connections that other people might not be able to see.
- Don’t just hear, listen: In through one ear, out through the other is the WORST quality in an employee. You could be great at your job but if you forget to do it half the time, you are already making yourself difficult to work with. Make sure to consciously listen to all the information being relayed to you. Make notes if you know you forget things easily. Also remember to maintain eye contact and nod along when you are being spoken to so you appear to be attentive and engaged. This usually makes it easier to keep your focus on what’s being said.
- Go out of your comfort zone and meet new people: Remember, you can only improve your communication skills if you actually communicate! Even if you are someone who prefers to be alone or only with a specific group of people, force yourself to diversify your circle. Ask questions, be open to having conversations that might not otherwise be interesting to you. This makes you practice your networking muscle and usually ends up teaching you things you wouldn’t otherwise have known.
With these tips, you are well on your way to becoming a #SoftSkills expert. Follow our #SoftSkills series for our next post on how to perfect your elevator pitch: a key tool in your interview arsenal.