What are interpersonal skills?
In the corporate world, interpersonal skills are a set of skills that define one's ability to successfully work with others. These include communication skills, ability to listen, positive attitude, dispute resolution, emotional intelligence, etc.
Interpersonal skills are key to effective interaction on the job. Co-workers with well-developed interpersonal skills are considered to be core team players. Generally speaking people with good interpersonal skills know how to behave in society, understand what the norms are, and know what is expected of them. They can also read very well social signals or interpret verbal interaction and adjust their behavior to smoothen communication and improve workflow.
Interpersonal skills are also known as employability skills or people skills. Simply put you might be the best IT engineer in the world but if you lack interpersonal skills chances are that you will not be employed at all.
Why are Interpersonal skills important on your resume?
Interpersonal skills are important on your resume because without them you will not get along with your co-workers making any process in the organization impossible.
Communication is key to everything. If you can not interact properly with others you become the weakest link in the organization and the overall level of the organization is decreasing. Colleagues would prefer to do more work themselves instead of trying to seek help from you. A bad attitude could affect the morale and the performance of the organization in a very negative way and it spreads quickly.
Interpersonal skills are considered a top priority by HR interviewers. This is because it can be difficult to evaluate one’s long-term performance within the organization. Judging by the interpersonal skills you demonstrate through your resume and during the interview, the hiring manager could project how you fit within the organization.
What traits, skills, and abilities help you demonstrate strong interpersonal skills on your resume?
- Communication skills: Clear and effective communication is crucial for the success of the organization. Communication could be verbal, including written communication and nonverbal (gestures, expression, tone, body language, etc.). In case you lack some of these skills you will be able to learn them If you have the right attitude
- Emotional intelligence: Trying to put yourself in your co-worker’s shoes is key to understanding her or him. If you are aware of their feelings and overall values, beliefs, and current situation you will find the right approach.
- Positive attitude: Negative attitude is a disease. It was not a coincidence that during WW2 defeatism was criminalized. A positive attitude on the other hand makes you a desired partner and an approachable person. People will do things for you. The positive attitude has an enormous power to overcome the hardest problems. Statistics show that in extreme conditions those who keep a positive attitude have a higher rate of survival.
- Social intelligence: People with high social intelligence know that to achieve anything they need to communicate and form relationships with others in a proper manner. Social intelligence works hand in hand with emotional intelligence. It helps understand roles, social settings, and how you should behave. The non-fancy word for social intelligence could be “tact”.
- Conflict Management: Conflict is inevitable. A good set of interpersonal skills always includes constructive criticism, counseling, mediating, problem-solving, mentorship, and other abilities that help resolve conflicts. Avoiding and managing conflicts is critical for the workflow. Some estimates show that American companies lose 359 billion per year because of conflicts at the workplace with nearly 35% of the workforce being involved in some sort of conflict.
- Teamwork: Collaboration is another key element of a successful team.Sure some tasks could be completed by individuals but usually, group efforts are those that make a difference. Look at the pyramids.
- Responsibility: Employers value serious and responsible people that they can depend on. With micromanagement getting harder and costlier process people you can depend on become even more valuable.
- Patience: In some cases, patience can help avoid conflict. Patience is also a key ingredient while building a team or mentoring someone. Sometimes the same message delivered prematurely will be rejected but delivered at the right time will be accepted.
How to demonstrate strong interpersonal skills on your resume?
- List examples from your job experience that demonstrate interpersonal skills
- Think of major achievements and breakthroughs made possible by your interpersonal skills
- If you speak foreign languages emphasize this because people who master a few languages usually have excellent interpersonal skills
- If you were in a multicultural environment add this as well
- Use keywords such as “supported”, “resolved”, “improved”, “mentored”, “solved”, “counseled”, “guided”, “encouraged”, “helped”
- List specific courses or certificates related to interpersonal skills
- Make sure to add if you were mentoring or trained someone
- Do not forget to add if you practiced public speaking or debating
- List all technical communication tools that you can work with
- Give examples of problem anticipation and prevention
- List any innovation and improvements that were implemented as a result of your efforts to solve a crisis
Writing “Strong interpersonal skills” on your resume is simply not sufficient. You will need to convince the hiring manager through examples and achievements.
Example 1: Show your interpersonal skills in your experience bullet points