Higher education can give you the knowledge required to enter your dream field. However, only knowledge cannot help you survive and eventually be successful in your industry. You need certain soft skills that support your knowledge to be truly successful. Internships are a great way to gain such soft skills and experience. Soft skills learned during internship can become the ultimate foundation for your future career.
With the experience of an internship, you can be a whole and professional individual by the time you start looking for full-time opportunities. Since you already know the important soft skills that employers look for, you will be able to navigate the professional world better and stand out from your peers.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills also referred to as interpersonal skills, sometimes are the general characteristics of a person that helps them thrive in the professional world. To get a job and sustain it, people need job-specific skills. But to actually thrive and grow as a professional, you need universal characteristics and skills like leadership, the ability to communicate well, taking accountability for your actions, etc. These skills are called soft skills as a whole.
The Importance of Soft Skills
Soft skills are important for handling people appropriately and collaborating with them effectively. With stronger soft skills, connecting with people and resolving conflicts is easier. The importance of soft skills comes into play when you genuinely want to grow professionally and build the career you want. To ensure that the newly hired employee is a good fit for the team, almost all companies worldwide are looking for individuals with great soft skills.
Learning professional soft skills during college can be difficult since understanding these skills only comes in a more professional environment. To get started with these skills, it is important for students to do internships. Internships can expose you to these skills in a safer environment to make mistakes without the constant pressure of performance.Here are the 10 most important soft skills learned during internship:
1. Commercial Understanding
After graduating from school or university, students mostly don’t know how professional environments work due to a lack of exposure. Doing an internship can help bridge this knowledge gap, exposing students to the basic operations, workflow, and environment of organizations that belong to their field of interest. This commercial understanding of work and life around work can help students become better professionals in their long-term careers. An internship can give students the much-needed headstart with a thorough understanding of how things work.
2. Business Etiquettes
Another very important soft skill to survive in modern workplaces is business etiquette. However, these etiquettes aren’t taught in any book or university; they can only be observed, learned, and imitated. Business etiquette can include the usage of formal language during professional conversations, appropriately expressing yourself on calls or emails, networking with co-workers, etc. These etiquettes may seem very basic, but getting them wrong leads to a bad impression that tends to stick around. Internships can help you learn these etiquette skills from colleagues with experience and know how to navigate such scenarios.
3. Independence and Self-reliance
In modern workplaces, most leaders want independent and dynamic employees since managing people to such a microscopic level is exhaustive. Especially in smaller and more creative teams, independence and self-reliance are significant skills that bring in a lot of growth. Internships can help you better understand the workflow, thus allowing you to be more independent and self-reliant.
4. Self-esteem and Confidence
Having a job that you like and getting to do it every day can boost your confidence and self-esteem like anything. And along the way, as you find yourself getting better at it, your confidence levels start increasing. An internship can give you a similar experience as a student without much stake. Doing an internship leads students to emerge as confident and well-rounded individuals when they start working full-time, making them more likely to succeed in their career paths.
5. Critical Thinking
One of the most important soft skills learned during internship is thinking critically during challenging situations. Most employers want dynamic employees who can think and solve problems rather than wait for instructions. Internships can give you the opportunity to experience the working environment and the challenges that come with it. Challenging situations can allow you to practice critical thinking and help you grow professionally.
With exposure to limited types of crowds, students may need help to accommodate diversity sometimes. This difficulty can manifest as language barriers and cultural differences. You collaborate with people from different backgrounds, age groups, cultures, ethnicities, and professional profiles when you do an internship. This exposure can help you build a more inclusive personality, making you likable and easy to work with.
Problems and challenges can come up anytime when you are a working adult. Since new graduates aren’t exposed to such situations, they can get really worried when faced with challenges. One of the most important soft skills learned during internship is adaptability. This skill allows you to assess the situation better, find a solution, and finally adapt to adverse situations. Modern employers love this skill since adaptability can help employees navigate learning curves better and become an asset to their organization.
One of the most important factors of being a professional adult is accountability. This can include being accountable for your work, behavior, and actions. College students may lack the accountability needed to survive and be successful in workplaces; thus, as full-time employees, these students may suffer the consequences. Internships are a great way to learn professional and social accountability while still making excusable mistakes. This can lead you to become a responsible and pleasant working individual with a great work ethic.
9. Stress Management
As the world becomes increasingly competitive daily, performing well and succeeding comes with significant stress. Be it university or the workplace; stress is inevitable and inescapable. So, the best way to cope with stress and still perform well is to have great stress management skills. Students who have just graduated or are going to soon can be oblivious to the stress that comes at the workplace. Through an internship, you can be exposed to stress in a more controlled way and develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the stress. You can also learn a lot from your organization and co-workers on how to manage stress and perform optimally.
10. Respect and Negotiation
When large groups work together to achieve common goals, the possibility of conflicts is high. To leave personal conflicts behind and unite as a team, respectful conflict resolution is very important. Thus, respect and negotiation become some of the most valuable soft skills learned during the internship. During your internship, you work with different individuals and thus may even sometimes find yourself in a conflict. With the right kind of exposure and mentoring during an internship, you can learn to negotiate professionally and master the art of conflict resolution.
Becoming a successful professional individual is the combined output of a lot of learning, not just academic but also practical. Among different types of practical knowledge, knowing and having desirable soft skills are some of the most important. Internships can be a playground for students to learn and practice these skills. Soft skills learned during internship don’t just make you efficient at work, but they also make you the kind of professional everyone wants on their team!