Looking for employment can be a tedious process after finishing university. The majority of times people are still unsure on what career path to follow and how they might acquire that career since they might not have enough work experience. That is why it is highly recommended to do internships in order to gain some work experience and figure out what field of work they would like to enter in and build a career.
Most people might think that what matters the most are the skills that they acquire in university such as learning how to use different software, machines, knowing many languages, and other skills. Although, these are very important factors that will definitely help, it is not the only factor in which most companies will be focusing in when hiring new employees.
Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Most companies will look for the combination of both “hard” and “soft” skills. Hard skills are the ones you learn through studying such as language, the use of software or computer programs, knowledge about different subjects, etc. Although, depending on what you want to do, these skills do come in handy. They are skills that you will master with experience. Therefore, when a recent graduate is hired it is well known that they will not be experts in these skills hence some companies will pay more attention to soft skills. (depending on the field you chose, if it is a very technical job, where it cannot be done without a certain hard skill, they will focus more on that).
Soft skills on the other hand are skills that will be useful across all industries (transferable skills). These skills can really separate you from other candidates applying to that same job. Examples are teamwork, problem solving, time management, attention to detail, positive attitude, people skills, and many more! LinkedIn recently posted which soft skills are the ones companies are looking for the most this year.
And if you are planning on doing in an internship in Japan this are some of the soft skills that are often looked for in Japanese companies.
Although a lot of these skills also take practice to master them, they can be learned in various aspects of your life. For example, in school, time management can be a big factor, so there are definite areas in which you could have strengthened these skills besides work environments.
Even though, anyone can have the same soft skills, a way in which you can make them your own is through your own personality. When you have your interview, your employers will notice some of the most basic ones such as communication skills, or your critical thinking depending on how you answer the questions they ask and if you ask any questions back. They want to know that you have obtained these basic skills and will be able to work with them easily. Also, depending on the job, many times employers will list a few of the main soft skills they will focus on the most. Since there are many soft skills, it is important to focus on the ones that will be necessary for the job you are applying to.
How can interning in Japan help you improve these skills for the future?
As you do the internship in Japan, you will get the experience of how to develop these skills in real work environments. A lot of the times it is hard to develop a good sense of what a company is looking for unless you begin working with them. Especially in a different country it is more difficult since there are often cultural differences and language barriers. However, if you are able to succeed in these circumstances, it is likely that you can work in any field after your internship.
Now we will mention ways in which you can develop the top soft skills in your internship:
- Creativity – Creativity can be described in different ways, but a way in which will help when interning will be by bringing fresh ideas and point of views to improve the company/product you are working for.
- Persuasion – See how it is possible to influence your clients and people you work with. Persuasion requires empathy and awareness of your communication with other individuals, so at work you can try to see how your colleagues deal with the customers or business partners. Check the words they use, intonation and behavior.
- Collaboration and Teamwork – This one is probably one of the most important ones. Wherever you work at, your company will want someone who will be easy to work with. They need someone who will willing to work with other people in a good manner and productively. During your internship you will have lots of chances to work on a team. Present your ideas but also listen to your colleagues and offer your help if you think they need it.
- Adaptability – Since you will be coming to Japan, adaptability will be a soft skill that you will be able to master rather quickly. Coming to a new country and adjusting to a new culture and language is large enough to give you a sense of how to adapt to different environments. So, during your internship you will learn that flexibility and being able to work outside of your comfort zone will help you in any job you do in the future.
- Time management – Learn how to set goals and priorities. Organize ahead and plan your workload to ensure all tasks get done on time. Bring always a notebook and pen in order to take notes about the tasks you have to do for the week. It is also important to take note about procedures or guidance you are told by your supervisor. Never be late.
- Communication skills – These skills can be anything from being able to work efficiently as part of a team and build relationships, the manner in which phone calls and emails are handled, to giving presentations in front of clients and management team. Basically, any communication or interaction you have in your workplace. It is always good to be professional and efficient.
- Leadership skills – Although as an intern you are there to learn it is always good to show that you are willing to step in and show some type of leadership skills. If you want to improve in any job you have it is always beneficial to show that you can take responsibility and charge of a situation. For example, volunteer to chair meetings, help run a team project or mentor a junior member of the team.
These skills will definitely be very helpful in most internships and jobs you get in the future. Of course, you would also be gaining other hard skills depending on the job you do, which can help in future jobs since you will have international experience. But for the most part you will have a solid foundation in which you can start your career on.
We hope this article was helpful, and good luck in your future internships!!