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March 1, 2014

A Word of Advice: It's never too early to work on soft skills


Even beyond building skills, taking up additional extracurricular responsibility makes one quality apparent to others more so than anything — initiative. Initiative shows that you’re the one who’s going to step up to the plate with things and get them done, which means more than anything to employers. It speaks to both your work ethic and your creativity and how well you can apply skills to make a difference. In pretty much all situations, it’s the thing that starts you in doing what you’re doing and keeps your drive going to get it done. So above all, initiative is the best thing you can show to anybody you’re trying to impress.

Next to initiative, another important soft skill is communication. Communication is what allows you to build relationships that will help you climb ladders, defuse tension in situations that could blow up in your face, and in general seem like a tolerable person to the people you’re working with and allow you to be a functional gear in the mechanical workplace. Many often say that it can be the people you know more than what you can do, and if there’s any truth to that, good communication skills will get you acquainted with plenty valuable personalities.

I haven’t even started to cover the vast amount of soft skills existent for you to master. If anything, take from this that everything you do, in the classroom or not, is carried with you throughout your life and at some point will become applicable to situations you will be placed in. Just remember to keep your mind open and your experiences varied to truly keep yourself “well-rounded” to tackle anything you may want to partake in in the future.

Austin Czechowski is a junior at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School. Would you like A Word of Advice from him? Send him an email at, or send him a letter to “Teen Talk: A Word of Advice,” C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at

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