Branding self for future advancement has been identified to be more important to the development of the students across the nation especially for those in higher institutions of learning.
This was disclosed at the 3rd distinguished lecture series of the Lagos State University, Ojo, where role models like Managing Partner, Aelex Legal Practitioner and Arbitrators, Mrs. Funke Adekoya and two alumnus of the University, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Polaris Bank, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru, Specialist and Social Worker, Bountiful Taiwo Adelanwa spoke on the topic: Market Imperatives: Re-Thinking Soft Skills in a Highly Competitive World.
Speaking at the event, Mr Abiru told the students that soft skills are personal attributes that enables someone interact effectively with others and this, he said, all students need to acquire while in school and as they grow in their chosen career.
“To me, soft skills are personal attributes that enables someone to interact effectively with others, this include leadership, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, work ethics and interpersonal relationship.
“I have worked in about three banks and their recruitment process is largely the same. Generally, they start by looking at your background, starting with your education. Eventually, they take you through series of levels of screening and selection and if at the end of the day, you scale through, you are now taken to a training centre, where they culture you into the kind of environment you are coming into.
“When you eventually settle into the organization, you will go through a lot of programmes, the world out there is competitive and soft skills can never be outdated that is why if you must get the jobs, you must adapt.”
Abiru though assured them of success if they can develop soft skills but said beyond soft skills and your education, “you should also look at developing your technological prowess.”
On her part, Mrs Adekoya said education is more than schooling and that is why soft skills must also be learnt.
“As an employer of labour, I have seen that many students who want to get jobs focus on technological knowledge in place of soft skills but there is one soft skill I urge us to imbibe and never to forget, which will make you more marketable in a competitive world. They are character traits which include ethics, honesty and integrity.”
She added that if Nigeria is going to survive as a nation, there is need for the soft skills of ethics, honesty and integrity, they must be part of you, they must be your character.
“Your character may not get you the job you are looking for, but your character will keep you on the job.
As you get education, develop your character alongside, not just learning. Let people know you for who you are. Whether you, believe it or not, honesty is still the best policy.
“In Nigeria today, it is all about money. You are deemed successful only if you have money. We look at the external and consider it to be more important than our character but it is your character that will take you to where your university education stops. It’s a vital soft skill that you need in this highly competitive world,” she added.
Bountiful Adelanwa in her speech told the students that hard skills will get them the job but soft skills will make them stay and excel on the job.
“We tend to place more emphasis on someone’s professional experience (hard skills) and not enough on the person as a whole. Soft skills is all employers are looking for; it’s all entrepreneurs need to survive in this highly competitive economies like now.
Using her experience as a case study, the expert said I don’t know what your story is, but I tell you it’s not an excuse to be in the roadside. “A lot of us carry talents in us that is why I said to this generation all the time that “In all you do, make excellence your culture.
Major soft skills she listed at the programme include: Leadership, teamwork, communication skills, problem solving skills, Work ethics Flexibility/Adaptability, interpersonal Skills, responsibility, integrity and courtesy.
The chairman of the event, Justice Aminat Augie in her remarks urged the students to make use of what they got from the lecture. “You have heard about integrity, ethics and character and for me I add contentment. If you think success is easy, you are wrong. It is the loneliest road to thread. You need a foundation upon which you will build a successful life that is why your institution is doing this between the gown and town.
“Today, you are planting a seed for the tree that will grow tomorrow, every day you come to school, you are laying a foundation for tomorrow,” she added.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun in his remarks said the university has consistently organise the lecture in other for the students to see what they can emulate in them as they proceed in life.