STI Blog

Date archives April 2015

Soft Skills

How to Leverage Soft Skills

The great Greek mathematician, Archimedes once said, “Give me a lever and I can move the earth.” While that statement may or may not be true, no one can argue that leverage plays a major role in business.

Simply put, leverage is the art of using small object to move a much bigger object through proper positioning. Your soft skills training may not seem like a big deal now, but if leveraged properly, it can help you secure the position of your dreams. The better you leverage what you know, the more likely you are to excel in the business world.

Almost every employer is searching for candidates with superior soft skills (leadership, problem solving, communication, time management, interpersonal, sales, etc.). Most prospective employees are in a mad dash to acquire soft skills. They’re attending conferences; workshops and any other self-help initiatives that can help them achieve soft skills rapidly and inexpensively. Therefore, you must keep pace or run the risk of being left behind. Finding places to acquire soft skills in one thing – leveraging those skills you acquire is another story. Keep the following in mind: Continue reading

Soft Skills

Rate Your Problem Solving Skills?

If you’re currently in the market for a job or a new career, be certain that employers are looking to hire those that have impeccable problem solving skills. In fact, studies show that problem solving is one of the most sought after traits in the workplace.

When was the last time you evaluated your problem solving skills? The better question is: Do you know how determine whether this is one of your strengths and if so, can you leverage it to secure the position of your dreams?

Problem Solving requires mastery of other soft skills including: a, strategic planning, teamwork and leadership. In addition, skilled problem solvers are comfortable taking risks, accepting responsibility and working longer hours until the solutions are achieved. Does this sound like you? If not, think again. Continue reading

Soft Skills

Colleges respond to industry demands for ‘soft skills’

The Globe’s biweekly business-school news roundup.

Employers and education providers don’t always see eye to eye on the job readiness of graduates.

“There is a large gap in the perception of preparedness,” says Ali Jaffer, associate principal in the Toronto office of McKinsey and Co., and a contributor to one of its global reports that found employers and postsecondary education institutions at odds over the skills of graduates.

In a 2012 survey by New York-based McKinsey, 75 per cent of education providers said graduates were adequately prepared for entry-level positions in their career field, a view shared by only 42 per cent of employers and 45 per cent of youth. When asked about soft skills, just 49 per cent of employers felt graduates were skilled in written communication compared to 63 per cent of education providers. (A Canadian report with similar themes is expected to be released shortly).

Read more…

Soft Skills

Do soft skills really matter?

Knowing how to actively listen to colleagues is an important trait everyone in business should learn.

Knowing how to actively listen to colleagues is an important trait everyone in business should learn.

A consulting firm used to send graduates to a finishing school of sorts before they started their career. For a few days, young staff would learn how to talk to clients, conduct themselves at a work lunch, mingle at functions, network and dress appropriately for the job.

How many other businesses and educators still provide formal training on the so-called “soft skills” that are often the hardest to master? Not many, judging by employees who can barely sit still at a lunch without diving for their smartphone, think that a “conversation” is an email, and dress for work on Fridays like they are going to a nightclub.

Or who pretend to listen to conversations but are only waiting for their turn to talk, cannot be bothered to make small-talk at functions, and assume building a business reputation starts and ends with a Facebook or LinkedIn page.

Read more…