When an employer is looking to fill an open position, they have a predetermined list of criteria that they are looking for in suitable candidates. Of course, credentials, experience, and hands-on training are some of the most crucial components of those criteria; however, there’s another element that they weigh heavily and when they’re considering candidates – a criteria that job seekers often overlook: interpersonal skills.
If you’re applying for a job, when you’re preparing your resume, while you’re certainly going to want to include details that pertain to your education, training, experience, and any other credentials that are pertinent to the position, to set yourself apart from the crowd, you’re definitely going to want to highlight your interpersonal skills, too. What are interpersonal skills? Why are they important? How do you incorporate them on a resume? For the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading.
What are Interpersonal Skills?
Interpersonal skills are also referred to as communication skills, and they refer to an individual’s ability to communicate with and interact with others. In other words, they’re the behaviors and qualities that people exhibit when they are interacting with others, and employers consider them a crucial soft skill (character trait). We demonstrate our interpersonal skills whenever we engage in any type of verbal or nonverbal communication with others. Examples of interpersonal skills include:
- Emotional intelligence
- Willingness to accept constructive criticism
- Active listening
Why are Interpersonal Skills Important?
Strong interpersonal skills are considered a key indicator of an individual’s success in a work setting. Individuals who display strong interpersonal skills are more likely to be successful in a work setting. Traits, such as attitudes towards others and body language, have a direct impact on our ability to excel at work; the ability to cooperate with coworkers to solve challenges, and simply uplifting morale, are just some of the benefits that are associated with strong interpersonal skills. Conversely, those who lack interpersonal skills may be more likely to have conflicts with their teammates, or they may have a negative impact on productivity and the overall work environment.
Because they’re so important, the interpersonal skills that potential job candidates display are closely assessed by employers during the interview process. Prior to the interview, however, employers also check resumes to analyze applicants’ interpersonal skills. For that reason, if you’re applying for a job, making sure you highlight interpersonal skills on your resume is crucial.
How to Incorporate Interpersonal Skills on a Job Resume
Before you apply for a position, carefully read the job posting to find out which communication skills (and other key traits and pertinent information) that a prospective employer is looking for in the ideal candidate. Since the requirements for individual jobs differ, it’s so important to custom-tailor each resume you send out to each position you’re applying for.
There are two primary ways that you can include interpersonal skills on your resume:
- Directly, but including them in the skills section of your resume
- Indirectly, but highlighting the skills in the bulleted points of the professional experience section of your resume
Here’s a look at how you can include your interpersonal skills on your resume.
The Skills Section
In the skills section of your resume, highlighting interpersonal skills as bulleted points can be a challenge. The following example illustrates this:
- Excellent communication skills
- Outstanding leadership abilities
- Skilled at negotiating
- Expert at negotiating
While yes, these abilities are important, and at first glance, it may seem like incorporating them in the skills section of your resume seems impressive; however, it’s important to note that when the hiring manager reads these points, they aren’t going to see anything of value. Why? Because they’re too vague to offer any real meaning.
To properly showcase your interpersonal skills, you definitely want to be more specific. The following bulleted points are great examples:
- Exceptional content writing skills
- Advanced management capabilities
- Highly proficient in public speaking
- Proficient with contract negotiation
By including specifics to your interpersonal skills, you’ll add more context to those skills, which will allow the hiring manager gain a clearer picture and a better understanding of your capabilities. With that said, however, it is still crucial to prove your interpersonal skills to prospective employers by illustrating how you used those skills in positions you have held in the past. For more help and inspiration in getting started on your resume, you can check out our resume writing section.