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Dear students, do you have these life skills?

By Devi Singh
March 14, 2017 09:10 IST
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Students must learn to plan, organise, create and execute independently says Devi Singh, vice chancellor, FLAME University.

IMAGE: Students must learn to plan, organise, create and execute independently.
Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and preparing oneself or others intellectually for life.

In India, a majority of schools and colleges still evaluate students based on methods that encourage memorising and recall.

When a student graduates, there's much more an employer seeks to find in him or her than just memorising.

In order to maintain consistent progress in an uncertain future, students must be equipped with the following life skills:

1. Commercial awareness

A thorough understanding of the business is of utmost importance. This is about knowing how a business or industry operates and what makes a company tick.

From what the company provides in terms of products or services to the values it upholds to its position in the market place needs to be known in depth.

2. Communication

Command over written, oral and visual communication is fundamental to work and continues to be emphasised today.

The sheer ability to convey messages clearly and concisely; being able to tailor messages to the audience and listening to other viewpoints is quintessential.

In the digital age, however, having access to a wide variety of new ways to communicate from video-conferencing to social media, future employers need to be able to communicate with people within their team, as well as people outside effectively.

3. Team work 

Most classrooms foster a culture of competition than teamwork and collaboration.

Being a team player is of utmost importance since a lot of tasks involve working with people within and outside the organisation often using an array of new technologies.

An individual not only has to prove his ability to work with others effectively, but also manage and delegate responsibilities to others. Establishing and maintaining positive relationships around you further leads to achieving goals and objectives. 

4. Critical thinking and problem solving skills 

An individual's ability to solve problems and resolve issues logically using analytical approaches is highly valued.

In this dynamic, rapidly changing world, employers look for employees who can solve issues by themselves and provide ideas, thus contributing to organizational growth.

5. Leadership 

'The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example', said (American basketball player and coach) John Wooden.

A key trait employers look for is the potential an individual has in motivating their colleagues.

Leadership is all about setting a good example.

6. Personal management 

An individual must learn to plan, organise, create and execute independently rather than be dependent on someone.

Employers look for self-directed individuals who can take care of tasks by themselves rather than ones who wait for directions all the time. Cultivating this habit is critical to success.

7. Ability to work under pressure 

Interviewers frequently create a stressful environment for interviewees. This helps them judge which individual can remain calm and rational.

There comes a time, while working, when things don't go as planned.

If an employee panics, decisions may not be made logically. Keeping calm in a crisis and not getting overwhelmed helps to tackle difficult situations rationally.

8. Adaptive thinking

In the digital age, things change rapidly. Individuals must learn to continuously adapt to changing conditions as well as be able to learn new things quickly and efficiently. 

9. Technological skills

In the digital age, technology is everywhere. Almost every organisation wants their employees to be skilled at using technology.

10. Perseverance and confidence 

Employers value individuals with perseverance and confidence.

The corporate environment presents many challenges and employers want individuals who can find their way through challenges. 

Confidence is a must-have in the working world. It is an existential necessity.

The above mentioned qualities definitely fall under the priority list.

However, the list does not end here. Soft skills, creativity, innovation, empathy, curiosity, etc. are a few other qualities an individual must possess.

It's not difficult to develop these skills. Make the most of your time at the university to develop general skills.

Plan early to get relevant work experience and voluntary work which will give you transferable skillsets.

Take advantage of careers fairs and employer presentations. Talk directly to recruiters to find out what they look for and always do your homework before applying for jobs.

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Devi Singh