5 Important Soft Skills for International Students


As we enter 2024, which skills will help international students achieve their studies and future employment? We shared the top hard skills in a previous article; now, we’ll have a look at some key soft skills, that are more essential than most individuals realize. 

First, what are soft skills? Unlike hard skills, which are sometimes job-specific and learned through education or training, soft skills are personal traits or features that reflect your personality and work style.

Often, soft skills are useful across a wide range of settings. For example, when you’re an organized team member who excels at communication, those skills will assist you to anywhere! Soft skills are also essential to an organization’s bottom line: Research from the Hay Group showed that managers who construct soft skills into their leadership style can boost their team’s performance by as much as 30%.

Read on to learn five of the most precious soft skills, and the way they’ll assist you to succeed as a world student or graduate.

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Problem Solving

How do you approach a challenge? Are you able to take a look at an issue from multiple angles, or take a creative approach? New grads who can illustrate strong problem solving and important pondering abilities will stand out from the pack. You may need a deep theoretical understanding of mathematics, but applying that knowledge and translating it into effectively solving real problems is commonly what’s going to impress others most. 

In fact, global consulting firm McKinsey shares that the one skill most HR professionals wish they saw more often from job candidates is problem solving. 83% of employers also report that problem solving ties with teamwork as crucial asset entry-level employees can placed on their resume.

Wondering easy methods to construct this soft skill? Being well-rested helps, because it supports healthy brain function. Sometimes, though, the reply is to take a running start—literally. The Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness explains that:

When in motion, our brains are quickly multitasking between moving, anticipating, strategizing, reacting, and performing. Doing all this stuff without delay requires an unlimited amount of brain activity. This could be related to our working world after we plan, reason, monitor our actions, and problem-solve without delay…When you play soccer or every other fast-moving sport, you’re rewiring your brain to be quicker at pondering, processing, and reacting to problems.

As we start a recent yr, listed here are some more suggestions for keeping your mind and body healthy through the winter!

An illustration of hands high-fiving, representing teamwork.


For many, the office is a spot of camaraderie, learning, and engagement. Though not without its challenges (like interpersonal politics), offices provide connection and community for most adults. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a pivot to distant work, or required measures like distancing and masks in frontline roles that might not make money working from home, this sense of connection modified pretty dramatically. 

Fortunately, employees with strong teamwork skills have found recent ways to interact their colleagues and customers. This took many forms. In some workplaces, managers implemented 1:1 meetings to make sure their direct reports were staying well and up-to-date with projects. At others, libraries created buttons with teachers’ smiling, maskless faces to wear in school so the scholars could recognize them. 

Team-building could be informal, too. For example, the Communications team here at ApplyBoard connects weekly over our results on a random BuzzFeed quiz, helping us learn more about our colleagues and feel closer to the team.

Helping to create and take part in that team constructing is more essential than it’s possible you’ll think. If you favor to maintain your head down and work as an alternative of interacting with co-workers or fellow students, it’s possible you’ll risk coming across as unapproachable. Showing you can work productively and interact with others in a collaborative environment is completely vital. Employers will notice, and can often reward you for being a team player!

An illustration of a mountain with a purple flag on top of it, representing the many soft skills associated with strong leadership.


Leadership is a posh trait, and is commonly difficult to quantify. It includes personal traits like empathy and a collaborative spirit, in addition to harder soft skills like with the ability to articulate a vision and compel others to follow you towards its realization. The ability to balance operational and strategic priorities, negotiation, and conflict resolution are also essential leadership abilities.

In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report listed leadership amongst its top 10 most significant skills for employees in 2023, alongside lots of the other soft skills we’ve mentioned in this text.

For recent grads, it’s essential to do not forget that leadership doesn’t just come from company CEOs. In fact, anyone who has influenced others to act towards a greater consequence is a pacesetter. Maybe you took the lead on a college project, mentored others at work, or volunteered as a tutor or coach. Being able to present examples of times where you stepped up as a pacesetter will certainly assist you to stand out when in search of post-graduation work.

Here’s a less complicated method to give it some thought: a very good leader is accountable (keeps guarantees and gets their work done), and a team player (guides others and needs to make everyone successful, not only themselves). Leadership is just not about being blindly confident or “always right.” It’s way more about earning respect, guiding others, and all the time striving to enhance.



United Kingdom-based recruitment agency Michael Page (PageGroup) highlighted adaptability as an important skill for employees to develop. You may additionally consider this as flexibility, or your overall willingness to “roll with the punches” and adjust to alter quickly.

Whether by adapting to a recent meeting style, connecting along with your team in alternative ways, or engaging clients using recent approaches, employees that may adapt to (and even suggest!) these changes will excel. Change is inevitable, so don’t be afraid of it—embrace it!

Adaptability also includes being understanding across the shifting reality of labor for other team members. Writer and branding expert Wendi Weiner shares that it’s essential to be “more accepting of others’ needs and [learn] how to work with those who may have childcare or other critical needs that require flexible work schedules.” 

Studying abroad could be a leap out of your comfort zone. It’s also a implausible method to construct vital soft skills, from cross-cultural communication to being adaptable.

An illustration of a laptop, representing clear communication.


As soft skills go, communication is one in every of the massive ones. Effective communication isn’t nearly with the ability to speak or write typically; it’s about with the ability to communicate clearly and make your meaning understood by others. This soft skill might be essential for every job you ever work (even when you change into a distant lighthouse keeper in rural Canada)!

As many workplaces remain distant or a combination of distant and in-office, strong communication skills can ensure your team’s success. With fewer opportunities for in-person dialogue, written communication skills particularly are increasingly essential. Whether it’s a fast Slack message, an engineering blueprint, or a proper whitepaper, recent grads who can communicate key messages clearly and convincingly will see their team thrive.

The advantages of excellent communication extend beyond colleagues, too. Teams that use empathy and humour to attach with their customer base report stronger customer loyalty and an improved customer experience.

These soft skills will get you far, each in your studies and in your future employment. Brush up on these skills, and it’ll assist you to greater than you understand. Best of luck along with your profession progression in 2024 and beyond!

Looking at options for your study abroad journey? Find the appropriate match and simply apply on the ApplyBoard Platform!


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