Each time I walked into an interview room, the questions that always linger in my head are what are they looking for? What skills should I market myself with?
Each job seeker out there want the correct answer to each interview question that they might be asked. But importantly everyone wants to know how to market themselves in order to get that job. That is why before any interview people spend hours upon hours looking for the right outfit, the right look, the right posture and even the right answers. That is the reason we go to school, spend money and time to learn, grow and attain a certain level in our craft that we will use to put food on our table and live the life we have always dreamed of.
But before we get to the technical aspect of things. What are the basic soft skills that a prospective employee should have? Hard skills and Technicalities are good. No one will down play technical skill that you might have. But we cannot under estimate the importance of the basic soft skills required for each and every job.
To start us of, we need to understand what soft skills are; these are skills that enable you to fit in at a workplace. They include your personality, attitude, flexibility, motivation, and manners. Soft skills are so important that they are often the reason employers decide whether to keep or promote an employee.
In Swahili there is a saying that goes chema cha jiuza kibaya cha jitembeza (a good thing sells itself, a bad one will go round looking for a buyer!). What do you have that will make you fit right in with the company culture? What are these basics that you as a job seeker should have?
Most of us are guilty of skipping common lectures in school. And one of the classes that suffer the most is communication skills. Granted, no one can train you to talk. But speaking and putting a message across are two different things. Communication is a key skill. No employer would want an employee who cannot clearly pitch a project let alone express themselves
We cannot over emphasis the importance of good communication skills. You need to know how to speak, when to speak and how best to convey your message across. Communication is not all about speech, it also has to do with writing and non-verbal. No employer will teach you how to draft an email but will expect you to have already perfected such a skill and will tailor fit it to suit their organization.
Alone you move quickly but together we move further. Know the value of playing as part of a team. Take chess for example the queen is the most powerful chess piece but at the end of the day only the defeat of the king will result to the end of the game. It does not matter the position you play small or big at the end of the day it is the value you bring together as a team
that will result to good profits or losses.
An organization is only as good as its employees, and a team is only as strong as its weakest member.
Nothing good comes easy that is what my mother taught me. Your CV will get you through the door. Communication will get you hired but resilience will get you retained and succeed. Once you get your dream job your problems will not magically disappear. Things will only get tougher as you will have to prove day in day out that they made the right decision in hiring you. This will be shown through your determination to push above and beyond. A tough back bone will get you through rough days that you will have to work overtime and meet deadlines in a short period.
Self-management and planning
Learn to be competent on your own without any supervision from anyone. Stay on top of your deadlines and make sure that tasks given to your team members are done. Self-management goes hand in hand with self-drive. Wake up every day knowing the goals you wish to achieve that day. Do not expect things to be handed to you ask for more work if you know you can
deliver. Put yourself out there for new projects.
But remember to plan all this work. Self-management without direction is like a ship without a compass. Organize your work and time. Set up a schedule for yourself and have a working but flexible time table to work with.
Soft skills are very important at this time when looking for employment. With each person going out of their way to gain more technical skills it is crucial that put you above the rest of the competition. Your ability to quickly adapt to the new working environment will determine how fast you can put your skills to work. No employer want to spend more than is necessary to train their employer. Learn from past mistakes and improve on what you currently have.
Do not limit yourself to the few mentioned skills. Acquire more that will help you through the sites listed below.