By Mia Casey
Well guys the end of the year is nigh, and if 2017 has been a bit tough for you (as it has been for many) you may be a tad behind on building those marvellous skills that employers are on the hunt for. If this is the case, here are 5 quick soft skills you can work on over the summer break that won’t cause you too much stress (and hey, some of them are actually kind of fun!).
Say goodbye to the textbooks and hello to summer activities (apologies to those studying during the summer period). Building your teamwork skill means putting yourself in situations where you’ll be working with others towards a shared goal, which can be pretty fun if you’ve got the time and motivation.
Look, if you’ve got the time and some of your mates are free as well, why not take advantage of the ridiculous Aussie weather to set up a weekly group activity like a sports club! Not only will it give you the opportunity to catch up with your friends on a regular basis, but you can also work on building those mad team skills that employers are always looking for in new recruits. Or even check out your local sports clubs that may already be running and take part – building your teamwork skill is literally as easy as working together with others to achieve a common goal, and sport is a great way to do just that.
If sport isn’t really your thing, then when not reach out to your local charities and see if they need any help over the holiday season. Many do Christmas campaigns, pack hampers for the less fortunate, or simply need help getting their spaces ready for the New Year. You can build your teamwork skills by working with others to complete set tasks, while also totally boosting your positive karma by giving back to the community – win-win!
2. Interpersonal communication skills
One of the BIGGEST things employers look for is good interpersonal communication skills. This could include being able to make conversation, craft well developed written work, or give presentations.
If you’re really not good at approaching people, why not practice this holiday season by aiming to attend at least one Christmas party and chatting to someone you may not have spoken to before. Everyone will be in a good mood, the pressure will be off, and you can always kick back with some eggnog afterwards.
Or if you’re alright with approaching people, but not as great at maintaining a conversation, why not practice your hectic small talk skills with any family or friends that drop by this holiday period. Those family members who you only see once a year are a perfect audience because they usually have to listen to you because they’re family, and they (hopefully) won’t be super rude because no one wants to upset grandma on Christmas day!
Or if it’s your written communication skills that need touching up, why not set yourself the challenge to write at least 10 Christmas cards for people, making sure that each one says something different. Are there 10 different ways to wish someone a happy holiday season? There’s only one way to find out!
Being innovative in your day-to-day life can be a little tricky, but it’s totally doable if you’ve got the time. If you’ve had a tough year, why not try to innovate and make 2018 easier by setting aside some time and having a review, if you will, of your 2017. What months were hardest? When did you have the most free time? Is there a better way to approach your assignments or exams that you could try out next year? Asking these questions can get you thinking of new and improved ways to make you more productive, and help 2018 be a bit more chill.
4. Time management and prioritisation
Time management and prioritisation skills are great things to have when you’re working in high-pressure environments, or to tight deadlines – so what better time is there to hone your skills than Christmas! Not only is everyone stressed, but most small talk you’ll be having for the next month will be about how quickly 2018 is approaching (and there’s nothing quite like being constantly reminded of an approaching deadline to really get the time management juices flowing!).
You can start building your skills by being prepared: write a list of everyone you have to buy a present for, and create a quick budget prioritising who you need to spend the most on or buy for first. That way you can make sure your final pay cheques of the year can be spent wisely, and you won’t be caught scrambling for a present if you catch up with someone unexpectedly!
Making sure you have your prioritisation and time management skills sorted before Christmas Day is super important – how else will you be able to stick to your Christmas Day food schedule of grandma’s ham, your uncle’s potato salad, AND your mum’s pavlova within a 4 hour sitting?
5. Creativity and problem solving
Want a quick and easy way to test your creativity and problem solving skills? Offer to host a Christmas party! Not only can you be super creative with decorating, the invites, and the food, but something is bound to go wrong (no Susan, we can’t move it to another week because of your yoga retreat!) and you get to problem solve! Plus, you’ll also be utilising your time management and teamwork skills. Or, if hosting your own party seems a little too full on, offer to help your family organise theirs.
You could also make everyone really cute, creative handmade gifts, which not only is a great way to practice your creativity, but is a good money-saving trick.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels