Our interpersonal skills list will show you those most desired by employers, give examples of how each is especially valuable in certain industries, and suggest some effective ways to showcase them in your resume and cover letter.
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Table of Contents
- What are Interpersonal Skills?
- Interpersonal Skills List & Examples
- How to Showcase Them on Your Resume
Interpersonal Skills Definition
So what are interpersonal skills and why are they important? Before we get to examples, it is essential to first define interpersonal skills.
Interpersonal skills are the qualities and behaviors we exhibit while interacting with other people. They are considered to be one of the most sought-after soft skills.
We demonstrate them whenever we engage in any kind of verbal or nonverbal communication. In fact, qualities as basic as body language and attitude toward others greatly affect our chances of excelling at work.
Strong interpersonal skills are a key indicator of success in a working environment, as benefits include the ability to cooperate with teammates to solve difficult problems, as well as simply enhancing your popularity around the office.
On the other hand, lacking them might lead to conflicts with colleagues or management and cause others to see you as a hindrance to getting the job done.
When applying for a position, consider what interpersonal skills are necessary in your target role and industry. You then need to make every effort to match those requirements with demonstrated examples from your own experiences.
After all, employers are not only looking for a candidate with the right credentials, but also one who will fit in with the culture of the company and contribute to its growth.
Here are 10 of the most effective interpersonal skills examples to consider as you get started in building your perfect resume.
Interpersonal Skills List
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to keep one’s emotions under control and navigate social situations with composure. This is an essential skill in any workplace, as we spend a sizable percentage of our life at work and naturally want to be surrounded with emotionally stable and considerate colleagues throughout that time.
Employers are looking for individuals who can keep calm under pressure and avoid pushing their personal frustration onto others. This is invaluable in any position that requires teamwork or communication between colleagues.
For example, project managers must coordinate with coworkers and propose solutions to whatever problems may surface on a daily basis. If the project manager is prone to emotional outbursts in the face of difficulties, he or she may lose the trust of the other project members.
Similarly, a project manager who frequently blames and criticizes others will create a hostile working environment where employees might begin to feel demotivated and seek to avoid responsibility – which is ultimately a detriment to the entire company.
Communication is a quintessential interpersonal skill that must be demonstrated to potential employers. Hiring managers are looking for individuals who can clearly articulate complex ideas to others.
Any job that involves team-based collaboration, or deals directly with customers or clients, requires both verbal and non-verbal communication abilities. Effective body language and eye contact are just as important as the words you use to express your thoughts.
While strong communication is necessary in all industries, sales roles require a wider range of interpersonal communication skills than most. To sell a product to customers, they must be convinced that the product is not only high quality, but also something that they need.
Reliability encapsulates your work ethic and the integrity to see things through to the end. Simply being on time for work everyday puts you on the fast track for promotion, and always fulfilling promises is a key way to earn social capital in the workplace.
Although reliability is a beneficial interpersonal skill for any job, it has added value for tradespeople in industries such as plumbing or construction. Arriving on time and completing high quality work goes a long way in overcoming common negative stereotypes and earning a solid reputation.
Few other industries benefit as much from recommendations and positive word-of-mouth between friends and neighbors.
Leadership is an interpersonal skill that sets candidates apart from their peers. Employers are looking for motivated and capable workers who can inspire others and take charge when work needs to be finished.
Leadership involves not only giving orders and making an operational plan for the company, but also getting the most out of every employee and helping everyone feel like they are making valuable contributions to the organization.
Effective leadership requires self-confidence and vision, not to mention a healthy dose of communication abilities.
Executives and top management in industries such as finance and business services have a large say in the direction and range of activities that a company will pursue. It is also essential that top management not merely give orders, but also provide an example for all employees to follow.
Candidates and employees who demonstrate positivity are much more likely to find success in a position and be well-liked at the company.
Positivity is especially important for administrative assistants such as secretaries, because maintaining a cheerful attitude is valuable in helping others keep stress levels down and in generating a feeling of optimism throughout the office.
It pays for individuals in such a supporting role to be conscious of workplace morale and to approach otherwise stressful situations with a reliably calm and upbeat attitude.
Negotiation is not only the act of buying or selling goods, but any interaction in which two or more people engage in a discussion in an attempt to come to a shared agreement.
Interpersonal communication skills naturally play a large role here, but critical thinking and problem solving are also keys to finding the best solution available to satisfy all parties.
The recruitment consultant industry is one where the art of negotiation takes on an extra level of significance. A recruitment consultant must convince both the client firm and the job candidate that the other party is suitable for them.
Add in overseeing salary and benefits discussions on both sides, and it’s obvious that the life of a recruitment consultant is filled with opportunities to flex the negotiation muscles.
7. Openness to Feedback
No company wants an arrogant or unteachable employee, so it’s great to show a willingness to receive feedback and use it to grow.
A professional mindset calls for suppressing one’s ego and focusing on the objective requirements for an assignment or project. As a result, individuals who accept constructive criticism have a better chance of coming out on top in the long run.
Being receptive to feedback is especially useful in entry-level, report-driven positions, such as an analyst role for financial investment firms.
Managers will have a certain image in mind about how investment products should be described and marketed to potential investors. Employees who can swallow their pride and make the changes required to satisfy upper management will earn a much better reputation than those who ardently defend their first drafts and sulk when they are called upon to make revisions.
People at work gravitate towards those who are capable of showing empathy and taking actions consistent with an understanding of how others feel.
Empathy can be displayed at work in a variety of ways. For example, you could lend an ear to a colleague experiencing problems in the company or, support a project when an unforeseen difficulty strikes.
Empathy is especially welcomed in teaching, as it has been directly tied to fostering an emotionally supportive learning environment and reducing student misbehavior.
Teachers who can show understanding and compassion to students serve as the best kind of role models. In addition, creating an environment where all students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and being treated seriously cultivates both critical thinking and a feeling of self-worth.
Teamwork is another great interpersonal skill to have in your repertoire. Modern workplaces often require employees to rely on each other in some capacity and be willing to support others when called upon.
Effective teamwork involves knowing when leadership is required and when it’s okay to stand back and be a supportive project member. As such, a good team player will also possess a slew of interpersonal skills already mentioned in this list, including emotional intelligence, communication, and negotiation.
Candidates should put extra focus on their capacity for teamwork if applying for a role in an industry like software development, which requires a large number of people to work together to complete a single project.
While it may seem that only programming or other technical skills are required, any given individual might only work on a small piece of the overall project. As a result, extensive teamwork is required to deliver a high-quality finished product that is visually consistent and feels complete from beginning to end.
10. Active Listening
It’s easier to demonstrate being a good listener during a face-to-face interview, but it’s still valuable to show your willingness to listen and respect others on your resume.
Being open to the ideas of others will lead to an environment where all employees feel free to share their thoughts. In addition, actively listening enables you to clearly understand all instructions and thus deliver work that satisfies requirements.
For example, a strong listening ability is especially beneficial in the customer service industry. Understanding and delivering what customers want is the most basic demonstration of active listening, but positions in call centers might also require customer service representatives to diagnose a problem that even the customer is not aware of.
Only through deeply focused listening can the customer service representative understand the problem well enough to offer appropriate solutions.
How to Properly Showcase Interpersonal Skills in your Resume and Cover Letter
There are two main ways to put skills on your resume – directly by including them in your resume skills section, and indirectly by showcasing them in your professional experience bullet points.
1) How to include them in your resume skills section
For interpersonal skills, including them as simple bullets in your skills section can be difficult.
Take a look at the following examples:
- Excellent Leadership Abilities
- Good Communication Skills
- Skilled at Negotiating
While the use of these resume adjectives may make these abilities seem impressive at first glance, when a hiring manager reads them they see nothing of value. Just writing “leadership” is too vague to have any real meaning.
In order to properly highlight your interpersonal skills you need to be more specific.
- Advanced Management Abilities
- Superb Public Speaking and Content Writing Skills
- Expert at Contract Negotiation
By adding specifics it creates more context for your skills, and helps the hiring manager to get a better understanding of your actual abilities.
That being said, it is still essential to prove your interpersonal skills by showcasing how you have used them in past jobs.
2) How to showcase them in your professional experience section
The best place to include interpersonal skills on your resume is in your professional experience. The bullet points enable you to showcase your abilities through action rather than simply listing them.
Take a look at the two following examples that highlight various interpersonal skills:
Leadership and Teamwork:
Led a 6 person marketing team in the development and implementation of 3 new marketing strategies, resulting in a 12% increased market share
Communication and Active Listening:
Transcribed daily meeting minutes and communicated important points to 3 top executives, ensuring smooth business operations
Notice that in the above examples the candidate not only communicates their abilities, but also proves they have used them to achieve real results. This creates a much stronger statement that will win over any hiring manager looking for those abilities.
In order to do this most effectively on your own resume, there are two steps you need to take:
1) Take a look at our interpersonal skills list above and think about what you have done in your past jobs that would highlight those abilities
2) Study the description of your target job and identify which of the above skills the employer seems to value most
Once you have written down the things you discovered in the two steps above, remove the ones that don’t match and then combine them to create strong, accomplishments oriented bullet points.
In such a competitive job market, it’s important to pay extra attention to what interpersonal skills you are conveying to potential employers and how those skills measure up to the requirements of the position.
Once you decide which interpersonal skills to include, the most important thing left to do is to incorporate them into your resume.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of putting interpersonal skills on your resume after reading this article, you can always let our state-of-the-art resume builder do it for you!
Good luck on your job-seeking journey, and let us know below if you have any questions or comments about interpersonal skills and their importance in writing an unbeatable resume.