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It's college graduation season, and over the next two months thousands of former students will receive their diploma and take their technical abilities into the job market. What will likely surprise most of these graduates is that their soft skills are what will give them a leg up on competing applicants.
While hard skills are important in boosting a job application, LinkedIn's 2018 Emerging Jobs Report found that soft skills, including oral communication, leadership and time management, make up nearly half the list of skills with the largest skills gaps. An effective way of developing these skills is joining Toastmasters International, the global organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development.
"Even if you aren't required to give presentations or manage a team at work, all employees should have at least basic verbal communication skills and leadership skills," says Lark Doley, Toastmasters' 2018-19 International President. "Toastmasters offers a supportive setting to practice and develop these and other soft skills, including active listening, giving constructive feedback, time management and people management. These are the skills that will set an applicant apart from equally qualified candidates during the interview process and help to advance their career."
More than half of all Fortune 500 companies offer in-house Toastmasters clubs, including Amazon, Bank of America, General Electric, Google and Microsoft. These employers have found the Toastmasters program to be an effective staff development tool that benefits their organization.
To find a Toastmasters club near you, visit www.toastmasters.org/findaclub.