Hey Folks,

As a Five-Star member of Phi Theta Kappa, I was privileged to participate in Phi Theta Kappa’s Five-Star Competitive Edge Professional Development Course. The Five-Star Competitive Edge Professional Development Course is an online course with three primary objectives; to strengthen your soft skills, to guide you in creating an action plan for the career of your dream, to give you a competitive advantage in achieving your college and career goals. Not bad right? then check us out @PTK 😃

During the Professional Development Course period, I created a ‘Personal Reflection journal’. I used the Reflection journal to record my reflections on the lessons, and experiences I learned throughout the Competitive Edge online course.

The first and most Important topic of the course is ‘Soft Skills’. What are these skills? and how can these skills help you as a college student? Soft skills are simply those “personality traits and interpersonal skills that directly affect your relationships with others people”. These soft skills are pretty common, common in a sense that the skills relate from who we are and how we interact with the world around you. These skills can be Identified, harnessed and also strengthened. Think of it as a the concept of being comfortable interacting with others, and others feel good interacting with you. Think about your job (i.e. you work at a fast food or at the mall), and maybe there’s this one person in your department who nobody wants to talk to. He or she is difficult, and makes a federal case out of everything you ask about. In this scenario, The problem isn’t really the person’s personality; the problem is simply the person’s soft skills. This one Individual has almost no soft skills and is unable to effectively interact with the people she works with.

skills2More so, soft skills are categorised into two; these categories were discovered by Lei Han. Lei Han based his discovery on his discussion of “self-management” vs. “people skills”. He explained his discussion into two kinds: Internal, and external Soft skills.

The Internal Soft skills relates to how you interact with yourself (i.e. Self-talk).

Some internal soft skills are: Self-confidence, Self-awareness, self-compassion, Accepting criticism, Critical thinking/problem solving, Resilience, Perseverance, Emotional management, perceptiveness, Growth mindset.

The External soft skills relate directly to how you talk to and handle the people around you.

Some external soft skills are: Collaborative teamwork, Effective communication, interpersonal skills, self-promotion, Managing conflict, Adaptability, Networking, Influence, Negotiation, Expectation management.

And yes, you’ll need both skills to be a successful individual. Soft skills don’t have to be confusing, but they do take effort.

The key is consistency.

You may be asking, why is Cyril sharing this with me right now? Well, we’re all individuals (i.e. students, employers, employees etc.), and I strongly advice that practicing these skills listed above can be beneficial in our everyday life.

With these soft skills you can excel as a leader. Problem solving, delegating, motivating, and team building are all much easier if you have good soft skills. Knowing how to get along with people – and displaying a positive attitude – are crucial for success. The problem is, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued, and there is far less training provided for them than hard skills. For some reason, organizations seem to expect people know how to behave on the job. They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly, and producing high quality work.

Just think about it, soft skills are increasingly becoming the hard skills of today’s workforce. Sometimes it’s just not enough to be highly trained in technical skills, without developing the softer, interpersonal and relationship-building skills that help people to communicate and collaborate effectively. These people skills are more critical than ever as organizations struggle to find meaningful ways to remain competitive and be productive. Teamwork, leadership, and communication are underpinned by soft skills development. Since each category of soft skills is an essential element for organizational and personal success, developing these skills is very important and does matter… a lot!


Thanks for Reading!!!