With the heat of fall recruiting season coming to a close, now is a great time to start working on soft skills that will help to prepare you for an internship or full-time position. According to Investopedia, soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person's relationships with other people. It can be challenging to develop them, but if you follow these four tips, it will put you ahead of the herd and help you to stand out among your peers.
#1 Be your own self advocate
How often in life do we have desires, but let them drift away as a pipe dream? As often as our big dreams get away from us, it’s just as easy to let small opportunities slip by as well. One reason this may happen is because the people in our network don’t know what we want, so they aren’t able to help connect us with opportunities. A great way to avoid this is to tell people. If you want to work at a company, when you’re talking to folks who work there, be sure to include that you’re interested. If you’re at your professor’s office hours, tell them about your passions. The more people you tell about your dreams, the more they will be able to help you get there.
#2 Find a mentor
A mentor is someone who has been in your shoes before and is there to help provide you with guidance and support. Mentorship is a key part of navigating new seasons of life. Whether your mentor is formal or informal, it can be of great value to have someone more experienced in your corner.
It’s helpful to have multiple mentors for the different areas of your life. Among these may include one for academic support, one for spiritual support, or one to help you navigate social life. Furthermore, as you need support through a struggle, you’ll be able to turn to these people. Each one will be able to chime in and give you guidance in different areas.
#3 Find a sponsor
Similar to a mentor, a sponsor is someone who knows you well. More specifically, they know about your skillset. A key difference between a sponsor and mentor, is that a sponsor is someone who generally has a high position in a company and will bring your name up in conversations that may lead to opportunities for you. Their primary role in your life is not to help you navigate challenges necessarily, but to uplift your name and help you advance your career.
#4 Lift others as you climb
This last tip is to uplift others as you advance through school and your career. Connecting with people who are going through the trials that you’ve previously faced is vastly important. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will help you to stand out professionally as employers often look for candidates who give back, knowing that they’ll get a greater return on their investment if they do so.
Soft skills, while challenging to develop are an enormous asset to your professional presence and if followed, these tips can help you get one step closer to doing well in your internship of full time career.