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Definition: Communication skills are all the skills that help people connect with others and build and maintain interactions. They involve speaking, listening, observing, and empathizing.
Effective communication is not just talk.
It’s the eye contact we make when speaking and listening, and the body language we use to express our emotions.
It all seems like a simple concept, but…
Not everybody has the right communication skills to deal with all kinds of people from all walks of life.
Find out what are the most effective communication skills and learn how to develop them to become more successful in the workplace.
In this article:
- What are communication skills and how to improve them.
- How to put communication skills on a resume.
- Definition and examples of effective communication skills.
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Want to learn more about other types of skills and how to include them in your next job application? Make sure to take a look at these articles as well:
- Computer Skills
- Technical Skills
- Marketing Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Conflict Resolution Skills
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Conceptual Skills
- Creative Thinking Skills
Communication Skills Resume Example
Fashion Sales Associate
1382 Sardis St
Fort Worth, TX 76118
Self-motivated and open-minded fashion sales associate with 4+ years of professional experience selling women's designer handbags, clothes, shoes, and jewelry while providing exemplary customer service and building strong clientele relationships. Rated #1 "Sales Associate of the Month" for exceeding sales goal by 63%.
Boutiquette, Fort Worth, TX
June 2019–Aug 2021
- Responsible for entire stock of apparel, also for transferring apparel from stockroom onto sales floor for consumer purchase.
- Communicated with customers and implemented strong work ethic by facilitating their needs.
- Reduced inventory by 23% through category management, stock balancing, creative merchandising ideas and developing purchasing partnerships with outside agencies.
- Achieved company goal of 100% customer satisfaction.
Evoluxury, Fort Worth, TX
Feb 2017–June 2019
- Provided great customer service to ensure top experience for customers.
- Responsible for handling cash, credit card, and gift cards transactions.
- Recognized as Employee of the Month, October 2017.
- Contributed to a 45% increase is sales over the year 2018.
Tarrant Country College
- Retail software
- POS and Payment Processing
- Product knowledge
- Active listening
- Goal orientation
- CPSA Certified Sales Associate (CSA)
1. Communication Skills—Definition
Communication is key to any successful business initiative.
In fact, it’s the foundation of human society.
We all interact with other people every day. Both verbally and nonverbally.
Eye contact, body language, facial expressions, gestures, and posture are all nonverbal aspects of communication, and they all contribute to the perception of your competence, trustworthiness, and character.
We often don't realize the huge impact that communication has on our lives. The way we treat other people and the relationships we establish with them shape many elements of our reality.
Communication skills are needed in the workplace in order to interact with employers, co-workers, clients, and all other people involved in the business. A communicative person is able to effectively state their opinion, present their point of view and defend their ideas while keeping the dialogue diplomatic and respectful.
It’s important to include communication skills on a resume, as employers want to know that you can speak, write, persuade and negotiate like a pro.
2. Effective Communication Skills—Examples
Until recently, the most important thing hiring managers were looking for in a new employee were their hard skills—measurable abilities that could be easily proven.
However, nowadays more and more employers are actually seeking candidates with a strong set of soft skills, which cannot be easily learned, but can make an employee more adaptable and flexible.
Knowledge of software programs, foreign languages, and other technical areas is of course very important, but what if a candidate doesn’t know how to communicate clearly and has a hard time working with a team?
A lack of soft skills can limit their potential and be the back burner for their overall growth and progress…
In order to land more job interviews, make sure to include several communication skills on your resume to show your ability to talk with and actively listen to patrons and coworkers.
Here’s a list of the most important communication skills in the workplace:
1. Active Listening
It might seem that listening is a passive activity, when in fact it’s the opposite. Active listening is a valuable technique of concentrating and observing nonverbal cues. It requires the listener to thoroughly absorb, understand, respond, and retain what's being said. Active listeners are involved in the communication process and constantly engage with the speaker.
Empathy is the ability to see a situation through the eyes of another person. It means that you understand what someone else is feeling and why they’ve acted in a particular way because you see meaning in it. Once you've done that, you can communicate your ideas to others in a way that is meaningful to them, and you begin to understand others when they speak to you.
Strong communication should always be authentic, which means that you say what you feel and mean what you say. Being phony during a conversation can cost you trust points when talking to employees and customers. Of course, you can still adapt a little— for example, you should avoid colloquial language in a conversation with a supervisor or boss.
4. Clear Articulation
When speaking, pay attention to clear articulation. Always make sure to be as brief as possible and clearly formulate your thoughts. Typical examples of poor articulation are using sounds like “uh” or “er”. You should also avoid filler words such as “like” and “y’know”. Mumbling, talking quickly or too slowly, or even in the wrong pitch, prevent open and successful communication.
5. Positive Body Language
An upright, strong posture opens the airways and ensures proper breathing, which allows all of your organs and tissues to function properly and makes your enunciation easier to interpret. Eye contact and a smile also reflect a confident demeanor to others. Over-formal attitudes and body language that do not suit you or the situation may cause discomfort among the people you’re talking to.
Be confident in what you say and in your communicative interactions with others. Being confident can be as simple as maintaining eye contact, a relaxed body position, and speaking concisely. Try not to ask many questions and avoid sounding aggressive or demeaning.
Respecting and acknowledging what others have to say is an important aspect of communication. Being respectful can be as easy as paying attention to what others have to say, using the person's name, and not being distracting. If you show respect to other people, they will feel appreciated, which will lead to a more honest and productive conversation.
8. Using the right media
There are many forms of communication and choosing the right one is important. For example, communicating in person on serious matters (layoffs, salary changes, etc.) is more appropriate than sending an email about it.
In situations where you don't agree with what someone else has to say, whether it's an employer, colleague or friend, it's important to sympathize with their point of view rather than just trying to get your point across. Respect the opinions of others and never resort to belittling those who disagree with you.
3. How to Include Communication Skills on Your Resume
When deciding what to include in your resume, make sure to also write a killer skills section that will grab the hiring manager’s attention.
Here are some tips on how to write a resume so it’s packed with communication skills and proves you’re a competent candidate for the job:
1. Begin with a Resume Profile
Your resume profile is a mini-presentation of you and your experience that’s supposed to include a summary of your experience, skills, and qualifications for a job.
Make sure to throw in one or two communication or interpersonal skills that will have your resume outperforming resumes from even the most experienced candidates.
Check out this example resume summary for reference:
Communication Skills in a Resume Summary
As you can see, this person included two communication skills in their resume summary.
While open-mindedness is one of the most important communication skills, which we mentioned earlier, “building strong clientele relationships” isn’t one per se.
Though it does imply that the candidate can effectively communicate with customers and ensure their satisfaction.
2. Write a Strong Work History Section
Your resume’s work experience section is the most important part of your application.
It should include information on your previous employment with details such as: name of company, city, time of employment, your responsibilities and most notable achievements (with numbers, if possible).
A pretty easy concept to grasp, isn’t it?
Simply listing your experiences is not enough.
You should always remember to target your resume for a specific job opening.
Before you start preparing your entries, read the job offer carefully by scanning the requirements. You will find out what skills are required for a given position.
If in the job advertisement you find competences that you have or that intersect with yours, add them to your job description section and make sure to use similar vocabulary to that in the job offer.
Here’s an example job description section that gives off strong communication vibes:
Resume Job Description With Effective Communication Skills
This person clearly has a knack for helping customers through the use of effective communication skills!
3. Use Your Education Section To Show Off Your Communication Skills
Believe it or not, but you can use the education section on your resume to highlight your communicating abilities.
Especially if you’re writing a resume with no experience, you can really go crazy with it.
Communication Skills in a Resume Education Section
4. Shape Up the Skills Section on Your Resume
From the recruiter's point of view, the most important part of every resume is the work experience section.
However, your skills section is the second most important thing.
And that’s still pretty important.
So don’t just list random skills in your resume’s skills section.
There is a way to do it right.
Here are some tips on how to properly list skills on a resume:
- Make sure your skills section is visible.
- Always try to match the skills that you list with the job offer. Thanks to this, the employer will immediately see that you are the perfect candidate, and that you’re not sending a generic resume to every employer.
- Be as specific as possible. Use numbers, percentages etc.
- You can display your skill level using words or ratings / stars.
Here’s an example resume:
Good Communication Skills: Resume Skills Section
5. Include Additional Sections
Adding extra resume sections is a good way to show that you are an extraordinary candidate that is motivated and dedicated to personal development. Include anything from certifications, foreign languages, and other extra activities on your resume that will showcase that you are a great communicator.
Here are some inspirations:
- Foreign languages
- Volunteer work
Take a look at this example:
Communication Skills in the Resume Extra Sections
Expert Hint: Make sure to include a cover letter with your job application. Writing a cover letter will additionally prove your written communication skills and focus to detail.
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4. How to Improve Communication Skills
The ability to communicate effectively is perhaps one of the most important skills to success in any career. Effective communication allows us to share information with other people and understand what we have been told.
Developing communication skills can help you in all aspects of life, from work life to socializing and everything in between.
So, what actions to take in your every day life in order to improve your communication skills?
1. Listen More
A communicative person is able to establish and maintain a dialogue. It’s not possible to communicate effectively without allowing the other person to speak. Active listening is especially important in business relationships.
2. Ask For Feedback
Knowing your weaknesses is the first step to self-development. So don’t be afraid to ask your superiors, or even your colleagues, to listen to a recording of your phone conversation with a client and evaluate it.
3. Learn From Your Communication Experiences
Analyze specific situations that you’ve been in and list what you think you did well and which areas need improvement. You can use that information to develop your strengths and eliminate any imperfections.
4. Maintain Eye Contact
Keeping eye contact with the person you are talking to shows that you are listening and that you’re involved in the conversation. Making eye contact naturally and effortlessly takes time and a lot of practice, so exercise your eye muscles if you have trouble maintaining eye contact for a longer period of time.
5. Control Your Emotions
In order to communicate effectively with other people, you must learn to manage, for example, stress or anger. Strong negative emotions can trigger a completely different range of thoughts and may affect your communication process.
6. Use Proper Grammar
A communicative person can choose the right words and say them in the right context. To express yourself more correctly, you can, for example, read more books and expand your vocabulary.
7. Know When to Use Informal Language
When talking to your superiors, or someone you don't know, use a more formal language. Informal speech may be used when talking to people you know better, as it often involves using acronyms, nicknames, jargon, dialect, or slang.
8. Ask Questions
Questions can be very helpful in understanding someone else’s intentions. They also show our commitment to the conversation, so if something is unclear to you during a conversation— don’t be afraid to ask questions.
9. Focus On Nonverbal Communication
Effective communication is not only the ability to work with words. It’s also a strong ability to use nonverbal communication, that is: body language, facial expressions, gestures, and eye contact.
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The ability to communicate is one of the most important interpersonal skills, both in our private and professional lives. Exchanging opinions, knowledge and information, presenting, selling, negotiating, persuading, or reaching an agreement are just some things that we need strong communication skills for. Make sure to highlight them in your resume in order to stand out from the crowd and show that you’re a master communicator.