An academic internship is a fundamental part of any management education program. It is an opportunity to connect the work-related experience into graduate education by participating in scheduled and supervised work. The temporary assignment of a project at the worksite is a window to the real world of work. And it is an important opportunity to sharpen the soft skills required for goal attainment and organizational success.
No one can underestimate the role of soft skills in the success of an intern. While hiring management graduates, organizations look for the three most desirable skills: communication skills, interpersonal skills, and initiative skills. Thus, soft skills are as important as domain knowledge and conceptual understanding.
Soft skills are a combination of interpersonal and personality traits that enhance an individual’s interactions with people, job performance, and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are interpersonal and broadly applicable.
Soft skills – attitudes and behaviours displayed in interactions among individuals that affect the outcomes of various interpersonal encounters – Muir.
3 Major soft skills to Shine at work
1. Communication Skills
Why you need it: Both written and verbal communication skills are of utmost importance in the workplace because they set the tone for how people perceive you. They also improve your chances of building relationships with co-workers. Communication skills boost your performance because they help you to extract clear expectations from your manager.
Why employers look for it: Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their peers. If you can clearly express the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a project, you’ll be a hot ticket.
How to gain it: One way to hone your communication and presentation skills is to join Toastmasters, a national organization that offers public speaking workshops.
2. Interpersonal skills
Why you need it: Most of what we do in life requires interaction with other people. In order to be successful in your internship, it’s critical to be good at getting along with others. While we consider that the interpersonal skills come naturally, the truth is that you can learn them.
Why employers look for it: When hiring, interpersonal skills are generally one of the top criteria used by employers when trying to assess candidates. This is because, for the majority of jobs, you need to have a good working relationship.
How to gain it: Ways to sharpen your interpersonal skills are cultivating a positive outlook, controlling your emotions, acknowledging others’ expertise, showing a real interest in your colleagues, practicing active listening, being assertive, practicing empathy, and maintaining your relationships.
3. Initiative skills
Why you need it: Using your initiative makes you a desirable candidate for opportunities as you are showing you can think for yourself, as well as proving that you will continue to develop and grow in your role. The Initiative will allow you to get ahead of the competition. And it will ensure you’re up to date with what’s going on in your career sector.
Why employers look for it: Initiative has become increasingly important in today’s workplace. Employers in every area of business want to hire people who look for instant solutions. In short, it can set you up for future success in the workforce.
How to gain it: Initiative requires lateral thinking, confidence, and know-how. It’s not about stubborn determination. The Initiative comes naturally if you have an interest in something and you trust your knowledge of that subject. Try to take the initiative in your career life by looking for new chances.
For almost 70 years, since it was founded after World War II, AIESEC has been giving students the chance of developing their skills and shaping their personalities in order to become the leaders the world needs. This has been possible by keeping a permanent connection with AIESEC members worldwide, creating a network of communication and mutual help that goes beyond the cultural borders. AIESEC offers students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn and develop soft skills abroad through its internship programs in startups and companies.
Sign up today at aiesec.lk to live a cross-cultural experience and learn by doing in an international environment.