Interpersonal skills are essential for professional success. Hiring managers are always on the lookout for interpersonal skills while choosing job applicants. People with strong interpersonal skills can share ideas, points of view, expertise, and information effectively – and are hence highly valued in the business world.
Our interpersonal skills guide will help you understand what are interpersonal skills, how they are valued in specific industries and suggest effective ways to showcase them at interviews and in your resume.
You can learn more about project management and improve your interpersonal skills with our PMP® Certification Training Course.
What Are Interpersonal Skills?
Interpersonal skills or ‘people skills’ are the qualities and abilities that help us communicate and build relationships with others. We demonstrate interpersonal skills while engaging in any kind of verbal or nonverbal communication. Strong interpersonal skills are considered an asset in a working environment, as the benefits include the ability to work well with others and succeed in navigating complexity, change, and everyday tasks. It is one of the most in-demand soft skills that employers look for during job interviews – professionals who can perform technical tasks expertly and communicate well with colleagues. When applying for a position, consider what does interpersonal skills mean in your job role and industry. Make every effort to acquire those skills and gain a competitive advantage.
Interpersonal Skills List and Examples
More companies look for interpersonal skills because they help create a positive work environment and maintain efficient workflow.
Here’s a list of interpersonal skills you may wish to possess to bring value to employers.
Emotional intelligence means keeping your emotions in control and handling social situations with composure. This is a valuable skill in any workplace because employers want to hire workers who can stay calm under pressure and avoid venting their personal frustrations onto others. Any job role that requires teamwork or communication between co-workers essentially demands emotional intelligence as a soft skill that applicants must possess.
The popular adage - good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity – holds true for all industries. Strong communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, are quintessential to any job that involves team-based collaboration or deals directly with clients, customers. Effective body language and eye contact are integral aspects of communication, equally important as words to express your thoughts and ideas.
Consider showcasing your communication skills during the job application process by creating a well-written and impactful cover letter.
Reliability involves work ethics and the integrity to hang in the right through to the end. Being punctual to work every day and always fulfilling promises is a sure shot way to earn reliability in any workplace. Particularly in industries like plumbing and/or construction, arriving on time and delivering quality work goes a long way in earning reliability.
A soft skill that sets professionals apart from their peers – leadership entails not only giving orders and making plans for the organization but also motivating others to put in their best. Hiring managers look for capable aspirants who possess leadership qualities, self-confidence, and vision, along with effective communication abilities to inspire others.
A positive attitude can make a huge difference in the workplace. Applicants and employees who exhibit positivity are a lot likely to be successful in their job and be well-liked within the organization. A positive outlook is very important for administrative assistants because a cheerful attitude can help others by keeping stress levels down, producing a feeling of optimism, and increasing productivity. The key is to be conscious of workplace morale and approach stressful situations with a calm and upbeat attitude.
Negotiation refers to any interaction where two or more people engage in a discussion in order to reach a shared agreement. Interpersonal skills play a major role in the art of negotiation. Still, you must also exercise critical thinking and problem solving to arrive at the best solution that satisfies all parties involved.
An industry where negotiation is of utmost importance is the recruitment consultant industry. The consultant must convince both the employer firm and the job applicant that the other party is perfect for them.
Openness to Feedback
Professionals who accept constructive criticism and are receptive to feedback have a better chance of being successful in the long run. Having a professional mindset pays because if you can satisfy the higher management, you earn a much better reputation than peers who cannot suppress their ego and make desired changes. Openness to feedback is particularly important for entry-level, report-driven job roles like an analyst role in a financial investment firm. You should be able to apply the feedback to yield desired outcomes.
Empathy, or the ability to show respect for co-workers and relate to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences, is one of the most valuable interpersonal skills to have in the workplace. Others tend to gravitate towards people who show empathy and take actions considering how others feel. For instance, you could lend an ear to a co-worker who’s facing problems in the company or support a project that is faced with an unforeseen difficulty.
Nothing beats the importance of teamwork and team building in the office. Teamwork not only benefits the organization but also boosts morale and camaraderie, increases job satisfaction among the workforce, and helps them stretch their abilities to the farthest. A good team player will possess not only teamwork skills but also other interpersonal skills like emotional intelligence, communication, and negotiation.
Industries like software development, where a large number of employees work together to complete a single project, require extensive teamwork to deliver finished products. Hence, they put particular emphasis on teamwork abilities while choosing applicants for job roles.
Your willingness to listen and be open to ideas can be an excellent interpersonal skill in your repertoire. Strong listening ability leads to an environment where all employees can freely share their thoughts. Besides, being a good listener means you can clearly understand all instructions and deliver work that meets all required criteria.
Examples of Jobs That Require Interpersonal Skills
Every job in today’s market requires some kind of interpersonal skills. A few jobs that rely heavily on strong interpersonal skills include:
Teachers are required to collaborate with fellow teachers, administrators, students, and parents. Hence, they need strong interpersonal skills like empathy, communication, patience to help students learn and grow effectively.
The prime duty of a nurse is to ensure comfort and care for patients. Interpersonal skills of all kinds, especially empathy and patience, are integral in a nurse’s role.
Administrative assistants need to be extremely dependable and must possess interpersonal skills like positivity as part of their skill set.
Marketing personnel requires several interpersonal skills like communication skills and teamwork abilities to work collaboratively with clients and sales teams.
Customer Service Agents
Customer service is mostly about people skills or interpersonal skills. This personnel must interact for hours with customers; hence communication is a key skill besides patience, empathy, and active listening.
How to Showcase Them on Your Resume?
There are two main ways to showcase interpersonal skills on your resume:
1. Directly by Mentioning Them in the Resume Skills Section
Consider properly highlighting your interpersonal skills in your resume skills section rather than including them as simple bullets as that can be too vague to have real meaning for hiring managers. Be specific to add context to your skills so that the employer can have a better understanding of your actual abilities. For example, use Advanced Management Abilities instead of Excellent Leadership Skills to effectively highlight the skills.
2. Indirectly by Including Them in the Professional Experience Section
The best way to include interpersonal skills on your resume is to showcase them in your professional experience section. Include them using bullet points rather than just listing them.
For example, you can highlight your leadership and teamwork skills by mentioning how you led a 6-membered marketing team in your previous job to develop and implement 3 new marketing strategies, which resulted in a 12% growth in market shares of the organization.
This way, you not only communicate your abilities but also highlight how you’ve used them to achieve real results. This approach creates a much stronger statement that is sure to appeal to any hiring manager looking for those skills.
Review the job role to understand which interpersonal skills are most relevant for the job you are applying. Prioritize accordingly.
More employers in every industry are looking for Interpersonal skills in potential employees. No matter what career you’re looking to enter, good interpersonal skills will make a good impression and ensure positive career growth.
Our PMP® Certification Training Course is aimed at improving interpersonal skills to make you better at your job. For further information on what are interpersonal skills, follow our interpersonal skills article or get in touch with us at Simplilearn.