Employers understand good communication is key to increased productivity, effectiveness, and overall efficiency. Regardless of your occupation, demonstrating interpersonal skills on your resume will show that your qualifications extend beyond technical expertise. This guide provides expert tips and a list of over 20 communication skills you can use to build a well-rounded resume that presents you as a versatile candidate.

Which Communication Skills Should You List on Your Resume?

Employers are looking for candidates with soft skills. Emphasizing your effectiveness as a communicator is a great way to show hiring managers you have the emotional intelligence to succeed.

But what do employers mean when they require someone with “good communication,” and how do you list that on your resume? Let’s explore strategies you can employ to showcase your interpersonal skills in a compelling manner.

What are communication skills?

Communication is conveying knowledge of or information about something. We do this every day without thinking much of it. But communication skills allow you to convey information effectively in various contexts.

No matter the industry you work in, you’ll be required to communicate with others. However, the types of interpersonal skills you’ll need will vary. Interactions with patients, customers, colleagues, and leadership all require different abilities within the umbrella of communication. Let’s look at some of those skills below.

Which communication skills do you have?

The soft skills you’ll need to include on your resume will depend on the job description and function of your role. Below, we’ve compiled over 20 resume skills and their related abilities to give you a good idea of what you may need to demonstrate to potential employers.

Top Communication Skills Related Skills Relevant Positions
Active listening Patience, verbal affirmation, open-mindedness, non-verbal communication, consideration Counselor, customer service representative, therapist
Call handling Customer service, professionalism, phone etiquette, product knowledge Call center operator, receptionist, technical support specialist
Conflict resolution Mediation, collaboration, tactfulness, diplomacy, de-escalation techniques Human resources manager, police officer, mediator
Cross-functional collaboration Team building, leadership, relationship building Project manager, event planner, marketing coordinator
Cultural sensitivity Inclusivity, language proficiency, global awareness, cross-cultural communication, tolerance Foreign correspondent, international relations specialist, translator
Empathy Emotional intelligence, social awareness, compassion, mindfulness, active listening Nurse, social worker, childcare worker
Influence Credibility, resourcefulness, relationship building, strategic thinking, networking Salesperson, acting agent, financial advisor
Interviewing Professionalism, clarity, objectivity, analytical thinking, confidentiality Journalist, human resources specialist, retail manager
Learning and development Organization, assessment and feedback, leadership, training, mentorship Corporate trainer, school principal, professor
Negotiation Assertiveness, risk assessment, persuasion, decisiveness, flexibility Real estate agent, sales manager, lawyer
Persuasion Confidence, relationship building, storytelling, research, resilience Grant writer, brand ambassador, fundraiser
Presentation Data visualization, public speaking, presentation software proficiency, audience engagement Entrepreneur, sales representative, health care educator
Public relations Networking, crisis management, brand representation, social media management, public speaking Brand manager, public relations specialist, publicist
Public speaking Scripting, voice modulation, stage presence, expressiveness, body language Sales trainer, keynote speaker, corporate spokesperson
Remote teamwork Platform proficiency, self-motivation, adaptability, virtual team building, digital security Freelance contractor, customer support representative, software developer
Social media etiquette Tactfulness, resilience, digital literacy, social awareness, cultural sensitivity Online community manager, social media consultant, content creator
Storytelling Creativity, audience awareness, emotional engagement, relatability, clarity Public speaker, screenwriter, author
Teaching Positive reinforcement, empathy, relationship building, professional development Teacher, coach, principal, corporate trainer
Transparency Openness, honesty, integrity, authenticity, accountability Financial auditor, medical doctor, internal communications specialist
Writing Editing, reading comprehension, business emails, copywriting Technical writer, copywriter, communications specialist

How should you list communication skills on your resume?

When demonstrating communication skills on your resume, there are a few options to choose from, but it’s often best to do a combination of the following:

  • Cover letter: Including a cover letter not only demonstrates your communication in action, but gives you more space to elaborate on your resume skills. The only caveat to this approach is that some hiring managers don’t read cover letters in-depth, if at all.
  • Key skills list: Create a simple bulleted list of technical and soft skills that match those of the specific job you’re applying for. This makes it easy for the reader by providing a quick overview.
  • Professional experience section: In the job descriptions of your past positions, describe how you applied your skills to provide hiring managers with a clear picture of your abilities. This is a great way to go in-depth on your soft skills, but may not be fully captured if readers only do a quick scan of your resume.

Acing the Interview: What To Do Before, During, and After

An interview is likely your first direct interaction with potential employers. This is the perfect place to prove your communication skills in real-time, as the interviewer will be taking note of what you say and how you say it. So, let’s discuss how you can come to the interview ready and able to communicate effectively.

Be prepared to back up your skills with your experience

If you list a skill on your resume, be ready to explain it further to employers. Before your interview, have a few examples prepared that demonstrate how you’ve used communication in the past. This gives the hiring manager confidence that you can transfer your skills seamlessly to the new position.

How do you showcase communication skills during your interview?

Whether you’re interviewing on Zoom, over the phone, or in person, here are a few communication skills you can intentionally demonstrate during an interview:

  • Active listening: Engage in the conversation by being a good listener. Nod your head, paraphrase (restate their thoughts in your own words), and ask follow-up questions.
  • Clarity and conciseness: Respect the interviewer’s time and show that you can stay focused on the topic at hand. Avoid unnecessary details and long explanations.
  • Nonverbal communication: Be aware of your body when you’re speaking and listening. Make eye contact and sit up straight to convey your interest and professionalism.
  • Positive tone and attitude: Be mindful of the way you’re speaking and how you describe past experiences. Keep things positive even when speaking about challenging subjects.
  • Verbal communication: Speak clearly and confidently. Don’t talk too fast or too slow, and avoid filler words such as “um,” “uh,” and “like.”

Following up after the interview

Express your gratitude and reinforce your interest in the position by sending a thank you note after your interview. This also serves as another way you can highlight the soft skill of professionalism to hiring managers.

Aim to send this note by email 24 to 48 hours after the interview. If you’re not sure what to say, see our thank you note examples guide for inspiration.

Frequently Asked Questions About Communication Skills

How do you quantify communication skills?-

In your professional experience section, use numbers when describing how you used communication to achieve results. You can do this by including things such as:

  • Customer satisfaction and patient satisfaction scores
  • High client retention rates
  • Increase in social media engagement
  • Number of people trained, positive impact on team performance
  • Revenue increase resulting from successful negotiations
Is communication the most important soft skill to put on a resume?-

According to a 2022 LinkedIn survey, employers agree that resume skills like communication are a top priority. However, always look at the job description of the position you’re applying for to determine which skills are most important for you to highlight. There is likely a select set of communication skill requirements listed in the job posting, so tailor your resume to include those keywords mentioned by the employer.

How do I develop my soft skills and communication skills?-

Identify the specific abilities you’d like to work on and create a few goals for yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, ask for feedback from trusted colleagues or mentors. People who interact with you regularly can provide great insight into what they’ve observed and experienced.

Once you have a clear picture of what to develop, start practicing. The only way to improve is to jump in and give it a try. Make a conscious effort to practice these skills at work, at home, and as you go about your day. If you need more help leveling up your interpersonal skills, look to books, training, and role-playing for extra insight and practice.

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