Interpersonal skills are also known as people (or social) skills, and they allow you to effectively and meaningfully interact with others.
In a professional environment, these skills are vital in building and maintaining workplace relationships. Moreover, they are important for reaching both personal and organizational goals and play a key role in resolving conflicts.
In an increasingly competitive job market, you can stand out among the competition by showcasing valuable interpersonal skills on your resume. This article will help you do that by giving you precise instructions and applicable examples, so let’s dive in!
Interpersonal skills are some of the most favored soft skills by recruiters, which makes them vital on resumes for the majority of positions.
Before adding people skills to your resume, you should identify which ones you have and which ones the job ad asks for.
Interpersonal skills are multifaceted and closely linked together, meaning that listing one usually demonstrates proficiency in several others.
One of the best ways to add these skills to your resume is to link them to relevant achievements and results obtained in your resume objective or summary and your work experience section.
You can always work on your people skills and keep improving them through practice, self-reflection, and credible sources.
Why Are Interpersonal Skills Important For Your Resume
According to research conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council, four out of the top five skills wanted by recruiters belong to interpersonal skills, meaning your resume could only benefit from having them.
The same research found communication skills—a subset of people skills—to be the most sought-after by employers in the majority of industries.
Because employers value these abilities so much, they are perfect for showcasing your potential.
By definition, interpersonal skills represent a larger set of complementary traits and abilities that can positively impact your performance in the workplace. By putting them on your resume, you can make yourself more marketable and make recruiters and potential employers more interested in you.
Furthermore, when you demonstrate interpersonal skills, you show that you possess a collection of transferable skills, which can be appliedin many different positions and even industries.
As a result, employers will see you as a versatile candidate who could fill in many different roles or take on challenging tasks, thus becoming a rather valuable member of their team.
How to Identify Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are soft skills that are generally obtained through real-life experience. As such, it can be challenging to quantify or even identify them in the first place.
Here are some tips to help you create a list of interpersonal skills to add to your resume:
You should start by researching the job ad. By reading the job description of the position you’re applying for, you can get a general idea of which skills recruiters are looking for.
Check out a list of common interpersonal skills. This article features a comprehensive list of these with explanations of why they are important. You can also look up some of the most common ones on the internet.
Try self-reflection. Think of the situations and experiences from the past where you interacted with others, and you could draw conclusions as to which interpersonal skills are your strongest ones.
You can ask others for feedback. Friends, family, and coworkers can all help you identify your interpersonal skills. They can also point out areas where you could improve.
Lastly, you could do various personality tests or online assessments to help you determine which interpersonal skills you possess. However, you should take these tests with a grain of salt and only use the information acquired as guidelines—not for granted.
Interpersonal Skills To Include in Your Resume
Let's get down to business and check out some of the most important interpersonal skills for a resume.
We briefly touched on the importance of communication skills and how they are one of the most prominent in the interpersonal skills group.
They allow you to transmit, receive, and understand messages, both verbally and nonverbally. Verbal communication revolves around speaking and listening, while nonverbal communication includes aspects like body language and tone of voice.
While many believe that verbal communication is a lot more prevalent, there’s research that suggests that we use nonverbal communication four times as much.
That makes both methods of communication crucial to ensuring understanding, building relationships, and dealing with possible friction among coworkers and customers.
So, when you highlight communication skills on your resume, you effectively demonstrate the ability to express yourself, be attentive, build and maintain relationships, be persuasive, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and more.
#2. Conflict Resolution
Speaking of conflict resolution, this term refers to the process of resolving disputes between two or more individuals or groups. Therefore, conflict resolution skills are a direct extension of your communication skills and help you maintain positive relationships and a harmonious work atmosphere.
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Here’s what a process of conflict resolution might look like:
Facilitate honest communication
Actively listen to understand every side
Identify causes of conflict
Negotiate and use empathy to find mutually acceptable solutions
Straighten out any disputes and mediate until you reach a resolution
As you can see, conflict resolution skills encompass a whole array of abilities that are valuable in many professions, making them perfect for your resume.
Being a strong leader means that you’re able to inspire and guide others toward a mutual goal. They are a key component of interpersonal skills, as they help you motivate and positively influence others, which can result in an increase in workplace efficiency.
Leadership Skills Examples
Among other things, showcasing leadership in your resume demonstrates these skills as well:
Highlighting leadership skills is especially important in roles that require taking the initiative and managing teams and projects.
#4. Listening Skills
As far as interpersonal communication skills go, active listening is one of the most vital ones. Having sharp listening skills means that you’re able to pay attention to others, understand what they are communicating, and retain information.
Listening Skills Examples
In turn, that can help you talk to and get along with your coworkers, supervisors, and customers even better. In essence, good listening skills involve:
Showing interest and empathy
Giving valuable feedback
Being open-minded to other people’s ways of thinking
#5. Networking & Relationship Management
Networking and relationship management naturally belong to interpersonal skills since they revolve around building and maintaining professional relationships. They help you connect with both individuals and organizations to expand your professional network.
Networking is particularly important in fields such as marketing or sales but can also bring tremendous value to candidates in any profession. For instance, it could give you access to new opportunities, allow you to connect with potential employers, teach you about the latest trends in the industry, and so on.
Lastly, networking and relationship management aren’t exclusive to the workplace. You can also practice them at networking events such as workshops or conferences, social networks such as LinkedIn, or even casual meetings such as happy hours, lunches, alumni events, etc.
#6. Decision-Making Skills
Decision-making skills impact your ability to make informed choices on an individual and team level. That makes them valuable in many careers where you’re expected to take the initiative and solve problems.
To make a good decision, you need to be able to do everything from gathering information and assessing risk to communicating and collaborating.
All of that makes decision-making skills valuable in many careers and vital in managerial and leadership roles, where your decisions could directly influence results.
Empathy is an important part of interpersonal skills because it helps you understand how other people feel. Empathic individuals can also share the feelings and experiences of others, which helps them better understand other people’s perspectives and respond to their needs.
One of the key elements of empathy is emotional intelligence since being able to understand your emotions can help you with others. Furthermore, being empathic shows that you’re a perceptive and compassionate individual who is also a good listener.
In workplaces, empathy helps promote healthy environments, positive interactions, and efficient conflict resolution. This skill is most sought-after in the healthcare, customer service, and counseling fields.
Collaboration sounds easy on paper but can be challenging in practice. Each colleague or team member might come with unique goals, aspirations, strengths, weaknesses, or communication preferences.
Collaboration Skills Examples
Strong collaboration skills mean that you can:
Communicate clearly and openly
Reach common grounds with others
Give recognition and credit where it's due
Put team goals above personal
Solve problems cooperatively
Admit mistakes and address them constructively
As a result, recruiters almost always look for collaboration skills on resumes. The importance increases even further when the position requires working closely with other members of the team (e.g., team leaders, project managers, product developers, etc.).
Negotiation revolves around finding compromises by exchanging opinions through conversation between two or more participants. Reaching compromises in certain aspects results in finding common ground and solutions to problems or disputes that benefit everyone.
Negotion Skills Examples
Being good at negotiation indirectly shows your proficiency in several other skills, such as:
13 Other Highly Sought-After Interpersonal Skills
There are many more interpersonal skills you could add to the list. Here are some that are in demand:
Vital Interpersonal Skills
How to Add Interpersonal Skills to Your Resume
Here are some expert tips to help you list interpersonal skills on your resume optimally:
You should choose the right keywords. As we’ve seen so far, many interpersonal skills are tightly linked to one another. You could research the position you’re applying for and the job description. For example, if you’ve already included empathy in your resume, listening skills might be obsolete, and you’d be better off adding something else.
In addition to creating a list of highly sought-after people skills on your resume, you should showcase them with related experiences. You could use your resume’s work experience section, objective, or summary to do that.
You can demonstrate energy and enthusiasm by using active verbs such as “led” or “negotiated.”
Whenever possible, you should use numbers and percentages to quantify the results obtained due to your interpersonal skills. For example, talk about how your “negotiation skills boosted sales by XY%.”
It’s crucial to be concise when adding people skills to your resume, as they are soft skills. They are important, but recruiters might be more interested in your job-specific hard skills first.
Now, let’s take a look at a job ad example where interpersonal skills are the main focus:
Job Ad Examples
Job Title: Customer Service Representative
We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled customer service representative with exceptional interpersonal skills and a positive attitude.
Respond to customer inquiries via phone, email, and live chat
Resolve customer complaints and issues in a professional and empathetic manner
Collaborate with other departments to resolve customer inquiries
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Excellent problem-solving skills
Strong organizational skills
How to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills
Here are some guidelines to help you improve your interpersonal skills:
Since they are people skills, one of the best ways to improve them is to participate in group activities and practice active listening. Focus on what others are saying and ask questions while avoiding interrupting them.
You can develop emotional intelligence since you’ll be much better at interpreting other people’s emotions once you’re able to understand and manage your own.
You should ask for feedback and constructive criticism. Be open-minded and try to learn from it.
Whenever possible, you should seek opportunities to work with others. Everything from group projects and volunteer work with others to participation in informal social events can help you polish your people skills.
Finally, there are plenty of resources where you can learn more about the topic. Consider taking courses, reading books, watching TED talks, attending team-building activities, and so on.
In conclusion, people skills are indispensable in many professions and can have a big impact on your workplace performance.
Because of that, you should do your best to highlight them on your resume. By researching the job description and emphasizing these skills through quantifiable results, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.
In the end, remember to keep practicing and working on improving these skills, as your career can only benefit from them.