Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn, a quote by P. Sweet
“So, how do I prepare for jobs of the future?”
This is a question that is understandably on the minds of many young people.
Researchers, educators, and politicians are trying to guess and prepare for what the future may bring. Their focus remains on the fourth industrial revolution and with it the technological innovations in fields such as artificial intelligence, 3D technology, nanotechnology, and innovation biology. And while they are mostly guessing what type of technological skills could possibly be needed, they are certain about the importance of what they like to call Soft Skills.
No Clear Definition
The problem with soft skills is that neither the definition nor the label is clearly stated.
Some define soft skills as people skills such as, communication and interpersonal skills. Others believe that they are professional skills such as, leadership or mentorship. And others call them transferable skills highlighting the importance of teamwork and adaptability. You may also find them defined as self-management skills, such as developing a growth mindset or building resilience.
Skills for Success
Government of Canada proposed the Skills for Success model which focuses on “skills needed for work, learning and life”.
According to the Government of Canada website, these Skills for Success are the nine skills employers are looking for:
Rather than calling them soft skills, another label is suggested for communication, collaboration, adaptability and creativity and innovation, namely, Social Emotional Skills.
The good news is that research is showing that with a little bit of focus and hard work, we all can develop these skills. So there is no need for you to worry if you feel that you may be underperforming in these skills
What's My Definition Of Soft Skills?
In case you are curious, my definition of soft skills incorporates all the stated views. I have yet to write a clear definition and a definite label.
Regardless of the label, everyone agrees that soft skills (I choose to use this label for now) are the skills that you need to succeed in any career, now and in the future. Whether you are a chef, a mechanical engineer, or a family physician, soft skills will help you navigate your day to day challenges.
Utilizing Soft Skills
A chef, for example, will need communication skills to be able to communicate his recipes to others. He will need leadership skills to lead his partners or employees in the kitchen. She will need to adapt to deal with any problems that may arise in her kitchen. And finally, he or she will need to keep revisiting the recipes in order to stay competitive and successful.
The Future Is Now
Looking into the future, you know you need to prepare yourself for a career that is unstable. A career that will require you to move from one position to the next as new skills are required. A career that you have to manage yourself, because no one has experienced it before. And most importantly, a career that reflects a challenge and purpose of your choice. Developing and strengthening your soft skills will get you ready.
Take Charge Or Go With The Flow
You may choose to ignore all of the above and go with the flow. I see nothing wrong with this choice, as long as you are content to wait and adapt to the new changes as they come along. All things considered, if you are happy, then you are probably doing what needs to be done. Another option would be for you to reflect, take charge of your future and create your own pathway.
To me, the choice is clear! Be your own agent for personal development by committing to lifelong learning as well as a lifetime of reflecting on your personal value and the particular challenges you choose. You will be glad you did!
Dr. Hoda Kilani is a Certified Professional Career Coach. Transforming the way you craft your career.
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