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Definition: Interpersonal skills are social skills that are used to communicate and interact with other people. They are the behaviors and tactics a person uses in order to build and maintain relationships with individuals and groups.
You've probably heard of both hard and soft skills in relation to your job search.
But what are interpersonal skills that keep popping up in every resume writing guide?
Interpersonal skills are soft skills that many employers look for in their ideal candidates.
Why, you ask?
At a certain point, employers became aware that hard, concrete skills are not enough for an employee to perform well.
What good is an experienced software engineer that knows a gazillion programming languages, has a bajillion certifications, but has no idea how to work with others?
So if you’re on a mission to find the perfect job, make sure you know what interpersonal skills are and how to highlight them in your job application.
In this article:
- What are interpersonal skills and how to develop them.
- Why are interpersonal skills so important?
- Examples of interpersonal skills.
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Want to learn more about skills and qualifications for a job or internship? Check out these articles:
- Computer Skills
- Technical Skills
- Marketing Skills
- Conflict Resolution Skills
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Conceptual Skills
- Creative Thinking Skills
- What Skills to Put On a Resume
Now, let’s talk more about what interpersonal skills are and which ones to include when writing a resume.
Interpersonal Skills Resume Example
Digital Marketing Specialist
2123 Gambler Lane
Houston, TX 77060
Highly dedicated and responsible marketing professional with 4+ years of experience developing and managing web presence, including Facebook account and other social media business accounts such as Google and Yelp. Ranked in top 5% among peers for new business acquisition. Responsible for $750K of existing account revenue.
Digital Marketing Strategist
Yorbu, Houston, TX
Sept 2019–Aug 2021
- Collaborated with editorial and consumer marketing teams to create unique, revenue-generating advertising campaigns that included: social media, newsletters, web content.
- Constructed a strategy through a written report for future use
- Analyzed and monitored web presence through Google Analytics.
- Managed the creation and implementation of a marketing campaign for a $250K client, which increased organic traffic by 28% in 3 months and about 41% in a six-month period.
Digital Marketing Associate
Hitfinite, Houston, TX
July 2017–Sept 2019
- Developed content for 12 social media accounts.
- Measured success rate of 23 websites utilizing Google Analytics to improve traffic.
- Created and published necessary forms into digital documents that increased efficiency by 33%
- Created and executed MailChimp email campaigns on news of the firm.
BA in Digital Journalism and Media
Penn State University
- Relevant Coursework: Principles of SEO and Optimization, Web Analytics, Building Your Brand and Website Foundation, Online Advertising, Copywriting I, II, II and IV
- Google Analytics, Google Search Console
- Listening skills
- Excellent communication
- Google Analytics Certification
1. Interpersonal Skills—Definition and Importance
Interpersonal skills are skills that help us to establish or maintain relationships with other people. They are also helpful in personal development and achieving professional success.
In short, interpersonal skills help people to communicate effectively.
Which in essence means being able to network, and succeeding in life, both professionally and personally.
Surely you've heard that people who are friendly and open are more confident, which helps them gain recognition. Actually,studies show that a person’s confidence has a strong influence on how their competence is perceived.
However, not everyone finds it easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger.
Fortunately, it’s possible to learn these skills and develop them in a way that will help you in the workplace.
Interpersonal skills vs. intrapersonal skills
Interpersonal skills and intrapersonal skills sound almost the same, and they very often get confused.
So what’s the difference between them?
Intrapersonal communication can be defined as communication with one's self, and that may include self-talk, as well as acts of imagination and visualization. It’s kind of like a conversation that takes place in your own head, while interpersonal communication is all about communicating and interacting with others.
So, as an example, intrapersonal skills may include abilities like: stress management, assertiveness and productivity, while interpersonal skills demonstrate how well you negotiate or whether you can actively listen to others.
2. Interpersonal Skills—Examples for Your Resume
Interpersonal skills are a very important part of assessing professional competence, but their only drawback is that they are difficult to measure.
To make it easier, let’s look at some examples of interpersonal skills:
Examples of Interpersonal Skills
- Conflict resolution
- Task delegation
- Good judgment
- Motivating skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Communication skills
- Active listening
- Relationship building
- Patience with others
- Problem-solving skills
These competences help us maintain good and healthy relationships with other people, not only professional but also private.
And more often than not, the above-mentioned skills can be found in job advertisements, as they are one of the most important parts of success in performing tasks in a workplace.
That’s why, when writing a resume or a cover letter for a job application, it’s important to make it known that you are, in fact, a people-person.
3. Top Interpersonal Skills in the Workplace
Workplaces are spaces where people from different backgrounds work together and communicate to get things done. These may be co-workers, supervisors, subordinates, as well as customers, subcontractors and clients.
Communication between these people is inevitable.
That’s why interpersonal skills are essential to perform duties more efficiently and successfully.
Establishing contacts (e.g. with prospect clients), the ability to negotiate (with managers, subcontractors), the freedom to work in a team, or the ability to resolve conflicts—these are just some examples of skills that may be necessary when taking on specific positions:
1. Conflict Resolution
Most employers expect employees to be independent thinkers and problem solvers. They value people who have an ease of decision-making and can effectively solve and respond to complicated situations.
2. Leadership Skills
Leadership and team management skills are a very important part of every manager or team leader's job. Regardless of whether you’re working in a production hall or a large corporation, effective cooperation between subordinates is important, as it consequently translates into company results.
Aah! The absolute core of interpersonal skills. In most professions and industries, people must work in teams. It's practically hard to imagine a position where you wouldn't have to work with anyone. Even if you don't work directly with your colleagues, you may have to work with a manager or a client. Therefore, the ability to work in a team is one of the most sought-after skills.
4. Emotional intelligence
Teamwork especially requires good management of one's emotions. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand one's own feelings and the feelings of others. An emotionally intelligent person knows how to react to them confidently and appropriately.
The ability to work in a group is one of the most important soft skills. If you want to work effectively in a team, you should, among other things, know how to actively listen to the expectations of your colleagues and constructively solve problems and conflicts.
6. Conflict resolution
Challenge, trouble, obstacle or conflict—there are dozens of synonyms for the word "problem". Life is full of them, so dealing with them is a key skill for all successful people.
Empathy is the ability to sense other people's emotions. It allows us to put ourselves in their shoes, to understand them. It’s not just about compassion, because empathy makes us understand the needs of the other person, thus being able to meet them.
Career advancement in the business world is dependent on, among other things, the ability to build relationships. Without networking with other people, you won't be able to take certain steps and even if you usually manage alone, sometimes that's just not the case. Establishing and maintaining business relationships results in invaluable opportunities.
Persuasion is a process aimed at changing a person's (or a group's) attitude or behavior toward some event, or idea. Being convincing when presenting a project, get a new job or just getting a point across is essential for professional development.
4. How to Put Interpersonal Skills on a Resume
Showing interpersonal skills on a resume is critical. They prove that you can collaborate with others well, and everyone needs to know how to do it in order to conquer the business world.
Just below, you will learn how to write a resume in a way that clearly demonstrates you have strong interpersonal skills.
1. Start With a Compelling Resume Profile
Right below your resume header, which includes your details and contact information, write an attention-grabbing professional profile. It’s the first thing a hiring manager will read, so make it sound fresh and juicy.
Here’s an example:
Interpersonal Skills in the Resume Summary
While this example resume summary doesn’t directly talk about interpersonal skills, it implies that:
- You have great communication skills, because you know how to acquire new customers.
- You work well with a team in order to reach company goals.
2. Write a Strong Work Experience Section
You can work interpersonal skills into yourresume work experience section.
They’ll look much more impactful if you find a way to quantify them.
Expert Hint: Make sure to use specific keywords from the job advertisement. They will target your resume to a specific job opening.
3. Use Your Education Section to Highlight Your Interpersonal Skills
If you’re writing a resume with no professional experience, make use of your academic experience to show off your interpersonal skills.
You can add some extra details, such as extracurricular activities or relevant coursework, that will prove that you are qualified and have excellent interpersonal skills.
Here’s a resume education section example:
Interpersonal Skills in the Resume Education Section
4. Highlight Your Skills Section
This is where you can really show off your interpersonal skills by actually NAMING THEM!
Your skills section is one of the most important parts of your resume, as it gives the employer the information they’re looking for.
Interpersonal Skills in the Skills Section
5. Spice Up Your Resume With Additional Sections
The last part of your resume layout should consist of bonus sections with any additional relevant information about you, like: certifications, foreign languages, hobbies, or volunteer work.
This type of information could be especially valuable in showing off your interpersonal skills:
Interpersonal Skills in the Extra Sections
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4. How to Improve Interpersonal Skills
At work, you will need to closely collaborate with other people—where it is essential to build great relationships with your team, customers, suppliers, shareholders, investors and others involved.
Some people are better at it than others.
But the good news is…
You don't have to be an extrovert or a "people person" to have good interpersonal skills. You can develop them just like your other skills, and you can get started right away with these tips.
1. Practice Empathy
Get a more complete perspective on things by putting yourself in other people's shoes. This will help you develop empathy towards others, which is a big step in finding solutions that will appeal to all parties involved.
2. Look For Ways to Increase Your Confidence
Confidence is a powerful asset when it comes to interpersonal relationships. A healthy balance between trust and humility makes you look more self-reliant. If you don't feel comfortable, the person you are talking to will also be uncomfortable. Plus, feeling confident even allows you to be better at negotiation, conflict resolution, and giving constructive criticism.
3. Acknowledge Others’ Expertise
One of the best ways to build trust at work is to let your colleagues know that you value their expertise. Ask them for help with projects and tasks that are not your strengths.
4. Cultivate a Positive Attitude
Learn to be positive by reminding yourself of the good things in your life and work every day. If you have personal troubles, put them aside until the end of your workday. If you're stressed out about a work issue, look for the positives and take advantage of it.
5. Be Open to Criticism
If you want to know how other people feel when you interact with them, ask them about it. It's as simple as saying, “Hey, I'm really trying to improve my interpersonal skills. What did you think of me when we first met? How do you feel when we interact? Do you think I am a good listener? Is there anything I could do to improve myself?” Most importantly, listen openly to these comments and use them to develop your skills.
6. Learn to Control Your Emotions
Your workplace is not the place to be overly emotional. Whether you are extremely irritated, severely depressed, or very happy, take a deep breath and moderate your emotions. At all times, be calm and be patient when speaking.
7. Maintain Your Relationships
Connect with your college friends and former colleagues on social media or by email; from time to time, try to meet with them in person. It shows them that you still value your relationships with them—and it can go a long way in advancing your career.
8. Learn How to Resolve Conflicts
Chances are you will need to resolve a conflict at some point. Active listening and problem-solving are helpful in this regard, as you will need to objectively listen to all parties and find a solution that benefits all parties involved.
9. Practice Assertiveness
Being assertive is about confidently expressing your needs and opinions in a fair, honest and calm manner, while taking into account the needs and opinions of others. People are more likely to like and respect you if you communicate assertively rather than passively or aggressively.
To be successful, you need to be able to demonstrate a wide array of skills to convince the hiring manager that you are the right fit for the job. Applicants are usually quick to highlight their qualifications, training, and technical experience, while interpersonal and behavioral skills are of equal interest to recruiters. Make sure to include them on your resume to prove that you have the right set of qualifications for the job.