Communication in the workplace means the exchange of ideas and information between two persons or a person and a group of people. It includes all types of transmission of the information: verbal, written, and non-verbal. When screening candidates, the employers pay close attention to their communication skills, as they mean that the person will work well in a team, find the common ground with the client faster and avoid miscommunication.
Strong communication abilities are absolutely critical for certain professionals, such as teachers, salespeople, managers, waitresses, and more. However, even if you don’t work in a public-facing position, excellent communication abilities will give you a big plus over other candidates. In today’s guide, our creative resume writers will show you through the following:
• What are the top communication skills for a resume
• How to list those skills to get noticed by recruiters, and
• What other skills will give your resume extra value.
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Before we list some ready-to-use communication skills that you can add to your resume right now, let’s take a look at the three types of communication.
➤ Verbal – it means communicating through the spoken word, face-to-face or on the phone. For most customer-facing jobs, companies specifically want people who can communicate in person clearly and succinctly.
➤ Non-verbal – did you hear that most information during face-to-face interaction is transmitted not through words, but through the nonverbal cues such as a handshake, eye contact, body language or tone of voice. Mastering these nonverbal signs makes you a more persuasive and confident workplace communicator.
➤ Written – obviously, it means communicating effectively through emails, memos, faxes, brochures, news, etc. It means using the appropriate language, tone of voice and minding your audience. A resume and other application documents are considered as an example of professional communication as well.
Strong communication skills are one of the top traits of a perfect employee. Depending on your job, you might want to highlight the proficiency with one or several types of communication. We’ll talk about it below.
Straightforwardly saying that you’re ‘an excellent communicator’ who can ‘find common ground with people from all walks of life’ will probably not persuade the hiring manager that you’ve got the breadth of communication skills they’re looking for. Use more specific communication skills:
1. Active listening
Listening skills in a resume may sound obvious, but in fact, active listening is highly valued on the job that requires much teamwork or dealing with customers/vendors. Active listening is about understanding what the other person has to say, comprehending their message in full and acting on it. It assumes focusing on the speaker fully, asking questions if necessary. This skill helps build trust and solve problems faster, so it’s worth being specifically mentioned on your resume.
2. Giving and receiving feedback
Handling feedback is often tough and can cause emotional tension, especially if an important project you’ve been working on for months is being criticized (by the way, here’s our guide on how to face criticism professionally). If you don’t take criticism personally and use it to learn and grow professionally, it makes you a pleasant person to work with. Similarly, the skill of giving feedback is important if your job assumes mentoring or managing other people.
Some jobs require delivering presentations to stakeholders, staff or holding public meetings. If that’s your case, don’t forget to mention presentation skills (you might want to get more specific, i.e. presentation development, presentation delivery). This skill shows the employer that you are confident with public speaking, can retain the attention of the audience, and persuade the groups of people. Public speaking skill isn’t common, so any skills that assume speaking in front of the audience and presenting information is much sought after.
Negotiation skill generally means securing better agreements in business, including contracts, terms of service, and more. it should be based on the principle of fairness and seeking mutual benefit, which can be achieved only if you can actively listen to the other person, access their needs and demands, at the same time articulating your needs persuasively. On the sales positions, the company’s profits depend directly on your ability to negotiate and reach the compromise with the buyer or vendor. Additionally, if you’re a great negotiator, it will grant you lucrative financial benefits.
5. Relationships building
In any field that assumes building long-term business relationships with vendors or suppliers, or when it comes to acquiring and dealing with returning customers, this skill is absolutely critical. It includes the delivery of high-quality service and accessing other people’s needs so that they choose to deal with your company over and over again.For the company, this skill means steady profits, so be sure to mention on a resume if you’ve succeeded to maintain long business relationships with third parties.
6. Team building
If you’re in a leadership role, this skill assumes that you know how to put the team’s efforts together towards the common goal, how to motivate each employee and how to reward superior performance. A team building skill also implies that you can resolve conflicts, deal with different personalities and take charge. If you’re a regular employee, you can highlight a teamwork skill to show off that you collaborate well with others.
Empathy is about understanding the underlying emotions behind the way they communicate and to respond back, showing understanding and respect to their emotions. Empathy is invaluable across multiple positions: for a sales representative dealing with an angry and dissatisfied client, a department manager trying to resolve a conflict between their employees, or a presenter delivering a speech for a team. Understanding others’ emotions and communicating back appropriately fosters understanding and improves the quality of communication dramatically.
Wondering about how to turn hobby into a job? Read our step-by-step guide.
8. Nonverbal communication
If your job duties mainly include interacting with others (consulting clients, serving customers, or participating in negotiations), it’s essential that you excel in nonverbal communication either as it contributes to an overall impression about you and the outcomes of the communication process accordingly. This skill assumes reading facial expressions, gestures, maintaining eye contact and showing interest to the speaker. You also need to follow your own body language so that it corresponds with what you’re saying.
9. Training and mentoring
Does your job entail instructing the newly hired employees and interns? Do you often teach coworkers on the new policies and procedures, deliver training or explain to the colleagues how to use the newly installed software? Then, this pair of skills absolutely belongs to your resume. These skills assume that you can communicate your message clearly and in a way that is easily understood, can give advice and keep the audience’s (or person’s) attention.
10. Verbal/written communication
Specifying your communication skills on a resume this way is quite straightforward, and it’s always a better idea to list more specific skills. However, it makes sense if the job posting specifically requires these skills. in this case, using these skills will make your resume more ATS-friendly. You can also list communication skills in this brief way if your job doesn’t assume much interactions with team members or clients and you’re not expected to have advanced communication abilities (for instance, if you’re a remote software developer).
Once you’ve decided on the exact skills you’ll be focusing on in your resume, it’s time to choose how exactly you’ll be persuading the employer that your qualifications are right for them. Here are the best ways to list your skills:
➤ List your skills in columns at the top of the resume after the summary section. The format of columns easily catches the reader’s eye and introduces your skill set to them quickly. Moreover, this way of listing skills is very ATS-friendly and the robots see all required qualifications in your resume instantly.
➤ Group skills by categories, for instance, Programming languages, Accounting skills, Soft skills, etc. It helps the reader to evaluate your competencies in different categories and gives context to the skills rather than listing their names.
➤ Give examples of how you used this skill. For instance, instead of saying that you’re a ‘strong negotiator’, you may write ‘negotiated material supply contacts with new suppliers resulting in 10% cost saving’. This will give the recruiter a much bigger picture of how strong your skills are.
It makes perfect sense to complement your communication abilities with proficiency in foreign languages. For most employers, especially those dealing with overseas contractors or clients, language skills are a huge plus. Here’s how to mention your language skills on a resume:
➤ Create a separate Languages section. If, in addition to English, you also speak German, Mandarin, and Spanish, it makes sense for you to list your outstanding abilities in a separate section. Creating a specific section makes sense also if language proficiencies are required for your career (i.e. you work in hospitality).
➤ Show the level of proficiency. It’s not enough to simply list the languages. For each language, mention how well you know it (beginner, intermediate, proficient, or fluent). This will give the employer a bigger picture of your competencies. Note that if you can order a breakfast in French, it doesn’t count!
➤ If you’re bilingual, highlight it. Employers prefer hiring bilingual employees, since they have great communication power, can replace a translator and effectively multitask. You might want to include the fact that you’re bilingual in your career summary.
➤ Don’t lie! Don’t say that you’re intermediate in Italian if in reality you only know a few words. The hiring manager might decide to conduct an interview in this language. In this case, you’ll feel embarrassed, and your professional reputation will suffer.
As you climb higher on the corporate ladder, hard skills are becoming less important than soft ones. If you’re in a mid-level or C-suite leadership role, focus on your ability to organize the processes, empower others and achieve goals in the first place.
In particular, you might want to list your planning skills (business plan development, critical thinking, strategic thinking, project management) to show you can conceptualize the vision and find the long-term solutions to business problems. It’s also important that you highlight the directing skills (creating budget, report generation, decision making, evaluating employee performance, and delegation).
If we say that a person has superb verbal communication skills or written communication skills, we mean that they can convey their message to people from different background in the most appropriate form to foster understanding. Not surprisingly, people who can communicate effectively and have high emotional intelligence are in demand. If you have strong interpersonal communications skills, here are some careers for you to consider.
Hosting a TV program or a podcast is a great career for people with advanced verbal skills. To express your opinion on different subjects and interview guests, you will need effective communication skills like clarity, friendliness, and open-mindedness. Professional speaking abilities are also important since in verbal communication it’s important that the listeners could easily understand you.
Marketing managers develop promotional strategies to market the brand or the product to a target audience. Various communication skills are a must for a marketer as they need to convince people to buy a product or service. They need electronic media excellent presentation skills, and a strong writing ability including technical writing skills. In addition to these important communication skills they use some hard skills, for example, SEO, data analysis, content marketing and more.
Strong communication skills are a must for every teacher, as the success of their students depends on it. A teacher’s job description includes public speaking skills, as they often have to explain complex subject to the entire class in an engaging manner. Also, teachers need to highlight communication skills such as classroom conflict management, the ability to build rapport with difficult students and give constructive feedback about students’ knowledge.
Nurse is a profession where medical knowledge and soft skills are equally important. Nurses need effective verbal communication skills to educate, calm down and encourage patients they work with. They should display empathy and compassion even while working in a stressful environment as a team player. Nurses work in hospitals, private clinics or offer their services to patients at home, but no matter the setting, good communication skill is a must for success in this profession.
Salespeople usually have the best communication skills. They are tasked with identifying the customer’s needs and offering products or services to meet it. Therefore, active listening, empathy, knowledge of buyer’s psychology, and personable nature are the key skills.
Depending on the role, some sales rep might need more communication skills including phone skills, negotiation skills in the case of conflict, business development skills and the relevant knowledge of products offered. Successful professionals also have great non-verbal communication skills and can make a positive, friendly impression on a customer.
There are several rules on how to place common communication skills on a resume:
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