For many employment-seekers, piling up academic and professional papers is the most vital step towards landing a job in Kenya.
After all, such qualifications have historically been considered a competitive edge.
Unknown to many, we are living in 2019 and like everything, the workplace has fundamentally changed.
What am I driving at?
Well, today’s employer will still demand the certificates but, and importantly, he/she is also after an extra set of competencies, popularly known as soft skills.
So important are soft skills that a staggering 73% of employers won’t touch you without them when hiring for jobs in Kenya (and elsewhere).
So, what exactly are soft skills?
A soft skill is simply a valuable ability that’s impossible to quantify.
They thus differ from hard skills in that you can always measure the latter by administering some tests.
For example, it’s nearly impossible to assess how innovative you’re (soft) while a single math exam can easily demonstrate your expertise in calculations (hard).
Why you need soft skills in your quest to get a Job in Kenya?
Like I mentioned above, these skills are such popular among recruiters that many of them shun you even if you scored an A in one of the highly demanding courses in Kenya.
And there’s a reason for this..
Employees with excellent soft skills excel at the workplace and improve their organizations.
Tell me, is there an employer who would hate such a worker?
Here is how else they can help you as a job hunter;
Having soft skills separates you from the crowd and makes your resume attractive to HR experts and talent seekers.
And so tend to be invited to more interviews boosting you chance of getting a job in Kenya.
- New employment opportunities
Because you will certainly excel in whatever role, you will always be in high demand whenever new job opportunities arise in Kenya and abroad.
- Boost your chances of earning a promotion real quick
Even when you land a job in Kenya, chances are your bosses will want to retain you and one way of doing this is through a promotion.
In any case, the company is pretty sure you will perform so they have no qualms appointing you to senior and more-lucrative positions.
- Professional accomplishment
Soft skills can as well help push you to the top echelons of your career.
That’s because you’ll likely get opportunities ahead of those who lack them meaning that you have ample time to scale the professional ladder.
Most marketable soft skills in Kenya
Let me now pace you through the various soft skills that employers are looking for when selecting staff for jobs in Kenya:
This is, in short, the ability to direct and supervise others.
In modern-day companies, this is priceless- especially due to the increased nature of work today.
In a nutshell, you need the knowhow to motivate, inspire, and shepherd colleagues to solely focus on the company’s vision.
Leadership also involves solving conflicts and generally ensuring that all the parts are running smoothly to make the whole.
How to acquire leadership: If you already have a job in Kenya, try to take a leading role whenever an opportunity arises.
And if you’re still searching, try to volunteer to lead tasks at your church, home, or family business.
Communication is the professional capability to interact, share, and socialize effectively with others.
You must know when and when not to speak, what and what not to say, how to address others, using your body language to send messages, and more.
The 21st century job seeker should also be competent in using myriad communication media including digital media ethically.
How to acquire communication skills: Join public speaking clubs in Kenya like Toast masters to hone your public speaking skills. You can also attend short communication workshops.
You will always be expected to meet deadlines whatever the task. Thus, time management- the ability to keep time- is valued immensely in workplaces.
How to improve your time management skills: Time management skills are mostly acquired through self-training and observing self-discipline.
You can start by learning how to set and to stick to timetables in your quest to become a better time manager.
Various projects are usually undertaken by teams nowadays with each player assigned a specific role.
No-one will hence dare pick you for a job in Kenya if you’re a sole operator and cannot tolerate others (You know those people who keep away from others…)
In reality, collaboration is multifaceted. You will need to be a clear communicator, have empathy, be a problem solver, have mutual respect for peers, and more.
How to acquire collaboration and teamwork skills: The easiest way is to create a culture of participating in group-oriented tasks at your school, home, internship place, etc. You should soon learn how to co-exist in teams.
This is the ability to convince and argue out your case before peers and bosses.
Even in your life, the only way you can achieve a win-win result always is by persuading other parties to adopt your line of thought so this is critical.
How to improve your negotiation skills: I recommend that you look for a book that teaches negotiation like Getting to Yes (Authored by Roger Fisher/Bruce Patton/William L. Ury)
Hint: Download the Kindle app and access this book on Amazon for free..
Emotional Intelligence (E.I)
E.I. is discerning and controlling your emotions to help you form, nurture, and strengthen important people relationships.
Also referred to as Emotional Regulation, E.I. enables you to recognize and care for your psychological well-being to help you sustain working friendships.
Employers love emotionally intelligent workers since they are transparent in their dealings besides being very approachable.
E.I helps you show empathy (where needed), be more self-aware, read other people’s minds and become more adept at communication.
How to nurture E.I skills: Learn how to press the pause bottom when your emotions are threatening to explode, for example, by practicing deep breathing exercises when angry. Meditation can also help.
Problem Solving Skills
When things go astray, do you complain or act?
When given choice, employers prefer the latter meaning that you will attract hordes of recruiters if you typically take action to correct a messy situation.
This implies that you can think soberly when under pressure and give actionable proposals.
In addition, you don’t shy away if asked to take the bull by its horns.
How to earn problem-solving skills: This is a skill you build over time. Read this Tutorial for a start.
Ability to Change
As you might be aware, the 21st contemporary firm is always evolving.
That means you have to be always ready and willing to experiment to remain ahead of your competition.
For this reason, flexibility is another valued skill and experts prioritize it when selecting employees.
How to become a good change agent: Work-seekers should tune their brains to be appreciating new situations. Always keep an eye on what is happening in the industry and take action to be conversant.
For example, today we even have student accountants working online and some small companies internationally prefer this cadre of accountants because they can work remotely.
Yet you’re there and you don’t even know how to use QuickBooks!
This includes basics like personal etiquette, your attitude, greetings, dressing, courtesy, and work ethics.
Subsequently, job-seekers who demonstrate remarkable professionalism and conduct always win over hiring companies.
What to do: You should strive to act and dress the part whether working or during interviews. Also, practice being courteous in your speaking and being a good example.
Today’s job market is growing more competitive each passing day and job-seekers are now required to have soft skills to secure a job in Kenya.
These include negotiation, problem solving, adaptability, and professionalism.
Others including emotional intelligence also increase your chances of winning jobs as does leadership, time management, and teamwork skills.
You should hence work on your soft skills if you want to jump right ahead of the competition.
I have shared some tips to help you learn and/or build these skills so you have a starting point.
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