The job search process is all about building relationships with companies and figuring out how best to convey your value to those companies.
When you are talking with employers, you may want to emphasize your interpersonal skills. These are the skills that relate to communicating with other people, no matter whether they are co-workers, managers, or friends.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss what interpersonal skills are, why they are important, and walk through a few top interpersonal skills you can mention on your resume or in a job interview.
What Are Interpersonal Skills?
Interpersonal skills go by a few different names, such as “people skills” or “employability skills.” However you choose to describe them, the definition is the same. Interpersonal skills are the character traits that allow you to effectively communicate with others.
Interpersonal skills are used when you are working with other people. For instance, if you are working on a team, you will exercise teamwork, which is an interpersonal skill. You may also have to exercise motivation and leadership skills while working on a team.
Why Are Interpersonal Skills Important?
Employers like hearing about interpersonal skills because working with other people is an essential part of almost any job.
If you are a web developer, you may spend a lot of time coding independently. However, you may also have to work with other developers who specialize in different areas of coding, such as quality assurance engineers.
On the other hand, if you are a retail assistant, you will have to do a lot of stocking by yourself. But you’ll still have to work with other assistants to ensure the store at which you work is stocked well. You may also have to work with warehouse workers to help move goods from the loading bay to the store shelves.
Even if you have all the technical skills you need to do a job, if you lack interpersonal skills, you will struggle to reach your full potential. Great work is not done in isolation; it’s done as part of a team effort.
Examples of Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are an example of a “soft skill.” This means that interpersonal skills can be transferred to different disciplines and jobs. For instance, if you learn how to work as a team while in school, you can apply that same skill on the job, whether you’re a lawyer, an accountant, or a dental hygienist.
To help you figure out what interpersonal skills you may want to mention to an employer, here is a list of common interpersonal skills:
Empathy means that you are able to listen to others, internalize their problems, and then show compassion for the issue that they are facing.
Suppose you are an accounts manager and a customer has called to notify you of a problem in the quality of your product. If you show empathy, you would first apologize to the customer, then acknowledge how the disruption may have impacted their business. Then, you would work with them to come to a timely resolution to the problem.
Leadership skills mean that you are able to effectively manage people and make good decisions. Good leaders are those who are able to work with others to understand the factors that relate to a decision and use that information to come to a reasoned conclusion.
Leadership skills aren’t just used by managers but by members of a team as well. This is because leadership does not require any specific authority; taking ownership over any project or task requires some degree of leadership.
Do you follow through on everything to which you have committed? When your boss assigns you a task, do you complete it on time? If so, then you may be a dependable person. Dependable people are those who are known to do what they have said they were going to do, and complete tasks within a given time frame.
While expressing your own ideas is important, being able to listen to other people and stay engaged with what they are saying is a crucial skill to have. You should always be willing to take in other people’s perspectives, and take note of what they have said. Good listeners also stay focused on the conversation at hand and avoid giving in to external distractions.
Communication is a broad term that refers to how you interact with others. Are you able to effectively share information with others? Do you take into account your target audience when communicating a piece of information? If you do, you may be a good communicator.
There are two main types of communication: written and verbal. If you are a good written communicator, you should be able to write eloquently and in terms that people understand; if you are a strong verbal communicator, you should be good at speaking with others, and you may also have skills in public speaking.
How to List Interpersonal Skills on Your Resume
So, now you know that interpersonal skills are valued by employers, and you are armed with a few examples of interpersonal skills. The next step is to use this information to help you better convey your value to an employer.
The best place to list your interpersonal skills is on your resume. These skills should be listed on the “skills” section of your resume. You should only mention the skills that you think best describe you as a candidate for a job.
Here is an example of a skills section on a resume that lists interpersonal skills:
Administrative assistant skills: Familiarity with Microsoft Office, able to anticipate the needs of a manager, team working, verbal and written communication skills, dependable, strong listening skills, experience using CRM software.
In this example, the candidate mentioned interpersonal skills such as dependability, listening, and team working, all of which relate to their ability to work with others.
Talking about your interpersonal skills is a great way to showcase your value to an employer. Ultimately, employers don’t just want to hire people with the right technical skills—they want to hire workers who have good habits, and who are able to work well with others.
As a result, recruiters and interviewers actively look for interpersonal skills. If you mention your interpersonal skills on your resume or in your interview, you’ll be one step closer to convincing an employer that you are the right fit for the job for which you have applied.