Strong People Skills: Example Usage on Resume, Skill Set & Top Keywords in 2022

4 minute readUpdated on 2022-05-17

What are people skills?

To have strong people skills means to be able to communicate clearly, effectively and positively with those around you. It doesn’t matter whether you have to deal with consumers, colleagues, or people from the senior management. Those who have strong people skills know how to keep their calm and always show respect.

However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t really list the vague “people skills” in your resume. Instead, you can prove that you have strong people skills by showing that you’re a good team player, have empathy for your colleagues and are able to explain difficult concepts in a coherent way.

Why are people skills important on your resume / Why are strong people skills wanted by recruiters on your resume?

Although the phrase “strong people skills” is often listed as a requirement for various job openings, you shouldn’t add it to the skills' section of your resume (or worse - as part of your resume summary). It sounds a bit shallow and could decrease your chances of getting hired.

And yet, strong people skills are among the things every hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. They show that you will perform well in a team and that your work will naturally result in higher success rates, possibly for the whole department.

They also point to the fact that you could have a positive impact on the general office environment. In fact, research shows that individual productivity is often linked to genuinely enjoying the communication with colleagues and team-members.

For these reasons, candidates with strong people skills and no experience are sometimes perceived to be better than those with years of experience but no people skills.

What is more, the more you demonstrate strong people skills, the higher your chances of getting promoted to leadership positions. And isn’t that what every recruitment officer dreams of - hiring people who inspire long-term positive change?

So, how do you demonstrate strong people skills on your resume? How can you prove that you’re an effective and empathetic communicator, whose positivity can be considered contagious?

Let’s look at the types of skills and achievements that will help you highlight your ability to work well with people.

What skills, activities and accomplishments help you highlight your people skills?

There are several types of people skills that you can mention on your resume. These include:

  • Communication: written or spoken, formal or informal, communication is key in every workplace. Depending on the position, you can focus on internal communication skills like empathy, active listening and patience, or external communication skills like being articulate, respectful and persuasive.
  • Teamwork: one of the things that divide candidates with strong people skills from those with weak people skills is the ability to work well in a team. Proving that you are considerate, trustworthy, and open-minded will definitely work in your favor.
  • Organization: being at least moderately flexible and able to adjust to change is often the number one people skill recruiters want you to have. Above all else, it shows your ability to handle conflict.

How to demonstrate strong people skills on your resume

  • Talk about team projects that achieved great success
  • Describe times when you had to deliver bad news, but the outcome was nevertheless positive
  • Give examples for handling difficult situations
  • Demonstrate your persuasion skills in forming long-lasting partnerships

Keep in mind that having strong people skills should not be pointed out explicitly on your resume. You can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have any leadership experience?
  • When was the last time I had to communicate my way out of a difficult situation?
  • Have I ever offered support and sympathy to someone at work?

Now, let’s move on to the part you actually came for.

Below, you will find some resume snippets from actual Enhancv users who have done a great job at demonstrating their strong people skills.

Example 1: Demonstrate strong people skills in the experience section

Peter Roberts
Junior Human Resources OfficerLyft
San Francisco, CA
Identified suitable candidates to fill in various job openings
Interviewed potential employees
Communicated senior management concerns to current employees
Organized team building events and corporate parties
RIGHT

Having strong people skills is a common requirement for every human resources officer. Mentioning the times when senior management concerns had to be communicated to current employees shows the ability of this person to be respectful and empathetic.

On the other hand, the fact that they had to screen suitable candidates and interview prospective employees proves their ability to be objective, articulate and persuasive.

They also showed their organizational skills obtained in the process of planning work-related events.

Example 2: Demonstrate your people skills in the resume summary section

Summary
An experienced Training and Development Officer in the public sector. In the past 7 years, I have been working with colleagues across 10 teams to improve the overall levels of efficiency, productivity and wellbeing.
RIGHT

One or two short sentences are enough to show your people skills to recruiters and potential employers.

This resume summary shows that the person is a real team-player who is able to work well with people with different interests and areas of expertise. It also shows a high level of empathy, which is often considered a prerequisite for increasing productivity without sacrificing wellbeing.

Example 3: Show your people skills in your achievements sections

Achievements
Secured 57% more partnerships
In my first year of working in the IT sector, I secured 57% more partnerships in Q4 compared to Q1, Q2 and Q3 combined.
Was awarded “Colleague of the year” in 2018
Won the annual “Colleague of the year” contest in 2018. The jury looked at three areas - professional growth, personal development, and relation to others.
Was appointed “Anti-discrimination officer”
In my last year of studies I was appointed “Anti-discrimination officer”. My task was to provide a safe space for students who have faced discrimination by teachers or other students and report to senior members of staff.
RIGHT

If there are other things you’d like to highlight as additional achievements, you could add a brief “Most proud of” section at the end of your resume.

Example 4: Demonstrate your people skills through other sections of your resume

Ideally, you’ll have at least one additional activity worth mentioning to recruiters. Maybe you have passed some short courses on leadership and conflict-management. Or maybe you have volunteered to help refugees learn your native language.

The type of extracurricular activity doesn’t really matter. But remember: it is important to emphasize on activities that are clearly related to communication and teamwork.

Passing a course on Microsoft Office might not be too suitable. A course on Psychology on the other hand can actually complement your work-related experience and show that you have stronger people skills than other candidates. So choose wisely!

People Skills: Key Takeaways for Your Resume

  • Demonstrate your ability to work in a team: teamwork requires strong people skills, and recruiters know it.
  • Talk about your achievements: although putting “people skills” in your skills' section is a big no-no, you should definitely mention any awards or distinctions you have received thanks to your ability to be an empathetic listener or an articulate communicator.
  • Choose positive action words: use words like “participated”, “inspired”, “led”, and “negotiated” to emphasize your strong people skills.

About this report:

Data reflects analysis made on over 1M resume profiles and examples over the last 2 years from Enhancv.com.

While those skills are most commonly met on resumes, you should only use them as inspiration and customize your resume for the given job.

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