Steve Jobs was not known as a technical mastermind. He didn’t study computer science or industrial engineering like Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook, or company co-founder Steve Wozniak who engineered and programmed the earliest Apple computers. Jobs however, excelled at conceiving ideas and enabling others to fully realize the project. He was also a great showman, look to any of his keynotes as an example. He also ran a very close executive team in Cupertino, which involved weekly meetings. Shouting matches were not uncommon during these brainstorming sessions. Despite his aggressive leadership, people still followed and Apple is, well, you know, Apple.
So yes, Jobs didn’t possess the technical wizardry of his closest business partners, but for him to succeed, he stuck with what he knew, skills anybody can learn. Communication, collaboration and decision making are all soft skills anybody can easily pick up and implement right away. Mastering these soft skills can help you on the way to your dream job!
Communication and Teamwork
“The ability to work within a team” is a common phrase on job postings. This isn’t some conspiracy, a lot of jobs require working with others. All that group project experience comes in handy, unless, you were the slacker. The ability to work with others is crucial and communication is a big key in that. Don’t be afraid of stating your opinions. Companies want new, fresh ideas from new, fresh faces. Bounce ideas off one another, speak up, and fully participate. And don’t forget, asking questions is totally okay too, employers want to see that you’re engaged.
Ideally employers want to hire those who can immediately help in reaching a company’s goals. Fundamentally, goals are reached by overcoming obstacles and you overcome these obstacles by solving the problems laid in front of you. Whether you’re working with a team or tackling a project by yourself, you need to perform. With modern technology, it’s damn-near impossible to not find the answer of a question. Googling and research is one thing, but creativity is another. Think outside the norm, tackle problems from a multitude of angles and see what comes up. And remember, failure is just a step towards success.
We’re life-long learners. That’s fact. And we have the internet to thank for this. Just because you don’t have a certain skill doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. See a job posting but you don’t have a certain skill they’re looking for? Ask yourself how bad you want it. If you really want it, there’s no reason not to dive in and learn something new. Being able to adapt to new situations and build your skill set is perhaps one of the greatest soft skills one could have. But in order to adapt you got to have one thing.
Confidence is not just a key to building your professional career, I believe it’s one of the greatest things you can have to be successful in life. Employers want to see you handle pressure-cooker situations without sweating because it gives them confidence in you. Believing in yourself also helps your team and everybody else you’ll be working with. A great salesman can’t sell a product if he or she doesn’t believe in it. Would Jobs be able to sell an iPod if he didn’t think it was the greatest digital music player of its time?
Multitasking and prioritization
Can you balance your work schedule with your class schedule? Can you balance it with your side projects? Social life? The ability to prioritize and manage various tasks and complete them on time is hugely important. There’s a reason class projects have due dates, so you can practice getting things done in a timely manner. The next time your professor gives you a deadline for an assignment think about how your class work ethic may reflect your professional work ethic. Speaking of work ethics.
If you take all of the items above and mash them together, they essentially create a pretty killer work ethic. Having a strong work ethic is actually the number one most valuable soft skill companies are looking for, according to the previously mentioned survey. Unlike homework assignments that mainly affect your own grade, professional work can have a direct effect on others within the company. Don’t put in half the effort, because your employers and group members will be able to tell. All or nothing.
This article as first posted on Chegg Blog