Gone are the days when barely having an engineering graduation would guarantee a job in a top raking company in India. Now, with the cut-throat competition and a sudden increase in the number of engineers graduating per year, experts feel that fresh engineers should inculcate more than just pure engineering skills to land that ‘dream’ job. In this context, ‘other’ skills refer to soft skills and external skill enhancement programs that add value to your engineering certification thereby making you employable.
You have the technicals; but still fail to crack interviews
We surveyed fresh engineers, numbering more than a hundred from across Karnataka; over 60% of our respondents stated that despite having the right skill-sets for the job, they did not have confidence while putting these skills across which led to an unfortunate rejection of candidature.
Skills here refer to both oral and written. Our respondents also stated that their resumes lacked proper language resulting in instant rejection.
They also believe that training in soft skills is the need of the hour. Even interpersonal skills cultivation takes engineers places; of-course technical knowledge and domain expertise gets primary priority here.
The above thinking was also echoed by season human resource (HR) professionals who also feel that proper communication achieved via appropriate soft skills is one of the key recruitments to analyse candidates’ potential.
“Defining the problem and narrowing the analysis down often requires a lot of soft skills. Balancing the demands on your time to reduce infinite what-if scenarios, and understanding the requestors’ needs requires effective communication and total understanding of the business needs.” States Bastin Robin – chief data scientist at Bengaluru-based Hash Research Labs.
Bastin is also a vociferous supporter of the soft skills cause. According to him, inculcation of soft skills with interpersonal skills in tandem would weed out the issue of engineers communicating more than that is required during real-world scenarios (job interviews, during presentations, et all).
“Training in soft skills and person skills are mandatory for today’s techies. This should be the responsibility of the placement cell of the college from which engineers graduate,” states a senior human resource (HR) professional at Symantec India who requested anonymity.
“Engineers should also have problem-solving skills. These come in very handy during recruitments where the candidates are totally screened for their problem-solving ability.” adds this anonymous Symantec HR professional.
Breaking down soft skills
Inculcating the right soft skills takes a lot of effort despite the fact that it sounds rosy. Now, soft skills are made up of the below aspects which when mastered come in handy throughout life:
Effective communication not only to get jobs; but with everybody in your life:
“Communication also involves speaking to people who are out of your comfort zone. It is vital that you come across as a true blue-eyed professional; rather than a technology-obsessed bookworm,” states Harish Babu who works as a senior soft-skills trainer at Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation which is also called Keonics. Harish works closely with fresh engineering graduates in Karnataka helping them master soft skills as well as teaching skill enhancement programs.
“Having the right communication skills ensures that you strike the right chord with people. I have personally seen instances where interview candidates who scored high in programming tests were rejected in the HR interview rounds due to bad body language and lack of confidence during communication.” adds Harish.
This clearly means that your communication is your key to unlocking your dream job. You can master the art of communication from various media; the foremost one is your confidence. Be smart to receive the best is a sentiment echoed even by engineering career counsellors.
There are also institutes that offer courses in soft skills, personality development, and interpersonal skills (Keonics is an example here). But these are best done at the college placement levels.
Experts have rated this skill highly and advise that with lateral thinking engineers’ career could go places. These are best used when there are tricky problems.
“Avoid agreeing to delivering too much information that will be not useful to solving the core issues.” adds Bastin who also recommends fresh engineers to learn the ‘connecting the dots’ approach by analysing problems from different angles which results in lateral solutions to these issues.
Even our survey respondents agreed in unison that lateral thinking should be a part of the university curriculum rather than technical jargons. The participants of our survey believed lateral thinking (and soft skills in general) is like a foundation to a multi-storied building; stronger the foundation, stronger the house.