By Manoj Kumar Singh (Market Research, Capgemini)
The moment a young mind becomes aware of his presence in the society; then and there the person starts evaluating himself and accordingly takes interest in the activities which could assert his position amongst family, friends or any social set up. These very activities, I would like to now name it ‘SKILLS’, give an opportunity to a person to showcase his ability to survive, then thrive and subsequently shine in the real world. The sooner we identify these ‘SKILLS’, the better we become well equipped in corporate life which creates the foundation to propel in your career.
Now the dilemma in these young minds is to identify these skills. And the sad part is in India many of good schools and colleges really lack or don’t know how to inculcate these skills amongst their students. Even if they have such programme to make them well aware of those skills, they lack in the execution of the programme. So at last the students end up with no or little know-how, not enough to make them industry ready.
I am sure your next question would be, ’What are those skills?’ These skills are categorized into soft skills and hard skills. The soft skills are your personal skills, which sets you apart from the crowd, which gives you an identity. These soft skills can be communication skills, Teamwork, Leadership, Time management, Active listening skills and the list goes on. But at this opportunity, I would like to specifically stress on ‘Communication skills’ and the reason for this is that this is the skill which is being evaluated in every stage of life, be it your first date, your run up to student’s election, your first interview, your yearly appraisal, your child PTA meeting, basically it is a never ending thing.
The ability to convey your thoughts efficiently and effectively to others is the definition of communication skills. But as the world is now known as a global village and English is widely spoken in our corporate culture, it is very imperative to develop your English speaking skills from your early life if it has not come to you naturally.
My mantra of learning English is ‘RWS’- Read, Write & Speak.
‘Read’ – Try to inculcate habit of reading English newspaper or novels so that you can learn the usage of grammar, various new words.
‘Write’ – Try to pen down your thoughts, even if it is done in a simple way. The ability to transform your thoughts into words is very important.
‘Speak’ – Try to implement your learning through reading and writing by speaking.
These 3 attributes are very important to learn any language. Absence of any one would leave you into lurch. To support ‘RWS’ method, I would like to quote my own example. In my school days I was weak in English. To improve it, I started reading newspaper in the year 1999 and whatever new words I use to come across, I would make a note of it and then use it late in my English subject. Since then I was following ‘R’ & ‘W’, so ‘S’ was missing in a major way up till 2018. But when ‘S’ was finally implemented, within a month of this practice I was startling my colleagues with heavy words that surprised them. So my advice is, try to speak in English with anyone without any hesitation.
Coming to ‘Hard skills’, basically it is the technical knowledge which you have learnt in your school and colleges. But frankly speaking the knowledge gained in school and college are important but not enough to shine you in your corporate life. That skill is the knowledge of MS Office – Word, Excel and Power Point.
The first one is very simple, but the other two are simple as well but if learnt very early in your life it would bring you in everyone attention. If this skill can be accomplished in school itself, then surely you would be favored by your school and later by your seniors in corporate life. In any job, the updates, reports etc have to be shared with the superiors in the form of excel or power point. If you know how to play swiftly with ‘excel’ or ‘PowerPoint’ you will always be the first choice of your Bosses.
When I was in my engineering, there was one of my senior who used to prepare power point in the events and I had this impression about him ‘How great he is’. He was one of the favorites of faculties. Now this simple yet powerful skill made him an integral part of the college. Don’t think that he would not brag this talent. This very talent you would find being mentioned as ‘part of core team members in college annual fest’ in many resumes of your friends and colleagues. So when you appear before any panelist for an interview, this skill gives an extra edge from your peers because this skill led a person to be a part of the core team members in the college annual fest and the panelist can see a ‘Leader’ in the candidate and this quality is very much appreciated in the corporate world.
The next instance is from my days in MBA. In our first semester we have been taught one of many functions in excel and that was ‘vlookup’. I did pass through the exams without any hurdle but I was not very much clear about this function when I had to implement in my job. I felt literally like I have never come across it. But at present I guide any new team member who is fresh out of college on excel. So just think, if you have this basic working knowledge of excel what positive impression it can create about you amongst your seniors. Really speaking, whenever you would be talked about, you would be embellished with the adjectives like ‘sharp’, ‘quick in learning’.