To survive in the workforce, it is crucial for any employee to build skills that are desirable to employers. However, with the current work environment that’s fast-changing and highly competitive, employees and job seekers need to obtain outstanding abilities for them to survive and be successful in today’s workforce.
Dr Opiyo Andala, the dean of School of Education at Mount Kenya University says analytical thinking, active learning and creativity are some of the most important skills for a career proof skill set, noting that soft skills are now gaining popularity with employers.
“In today’s world, employers and recruiters have realised that it is much easier to train smart individuals on how to perform the specifics of any role. This is as long as they have already acquired a much harder-to-teach skill set,” he points out.
According to Andala, this skillset comprises of critical thinking, soft skills and basic competency in one’s area of expertise.
He went on to note that for one to achieve their dreams and excel in their career they are already pursuing, analytical thinking should be one of the skills to possess as an individual.
Alphonse Uworwabayeho, a lecturer of mathematics at University of Rwanda’s College of Education believes that in the workplace, having the ability to work in a team is very important noting that it’s always vital to work with others in order to complete a certain task or a project.
He says it can as well be either working in a team or dealing with clients or suppliers. Here, he says it’s when interpersonal abilities are required.
He hence points out that the ability to build relationships with those around you under any circumstances and the ability to inspire them to do what needs to be done is essential for any individual.
On this point, Andala also points out the ability to manage people as a very powerful skill that can help one inspire individuals to do what is right as well as guide them along the way.
“Being able to lead a group and manage these individuals in a way that does not impede their progress and insult their judgment is highly desirable in today’s workplace,” he says.
Andala also says communication skills are the first set of skills that potential employers look for in any employee.
He says that it’s important to note that the way one communicates their thoughts should be impeccable.
“This is the way one would expect you to communicate with colleagues and clients alike in your work place. If you happen to miss out on these vital skills, your chances of securing a job are minimal,” he says.
For Diana Nawatti, Head teacher at Mother Mary International School Complex, Kigali being analytical is important however, possessing strong research skills differentiates an employee from others in most cases, according to her.
She in fact stresses that this skill demonstrates one’s determination and ability to assess different settings.
With this, she recommends making use of this skill for any employee who wants to have an outstanding performance.
“It’s imperative for an individual to take time to analyse any situation, think of all possible scenarios and if possible ask for some time to go and do some research to find out more,” she advises.
Decision making and problem-solving is another skill that is high in demand on the job market.
The ability to identify complex problems and review related information in order to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions distinguishes an employee from another. This calls for the ability to use critical thinking to rationalise a decision and will certainly set an individual apart, according to experts.
Nawatti says it’s also as important for an employee to be flexible.
“The ability to manage multiple assignments at the same time and being flexible enough to work under ever changing conditions, management, environment and rules is the way to go in this 21st century,” she says.
In today’s world, she says an employee that is willing to work under a multitude of changing circumstances is highly sought after.
She goes further to highlight that being able to adapt from one working environment to the next or even from one type of assignment to another, is a big advantage.
This, she says, demonstrates an individual’s commitment to their work and the organisation and this will influence one’s career growth.
Uworwabayeho goes on to highlight public speaking as a very crucial skill to possess explaining that this requires a lot of self-confidence, practice and analysing of one’s audience.
Even though this skill comes naturally to some people, he says it is definitely a skill that can be acquired and it is sought after by employers.
According to him, companies are looking for someone that can carry themselves well while expressing the values and products of the company.
This on the other hand calls for creativity and it can also be beneficial to any role one may have in the workplace.
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