Excelling in a career takes a lot more than intellect. As researchers have come to find, elements such as interpersonal skills are gradually trumping traditional characteristics such as natural aptitude in the workplace.
The reason is not far-fetched. It is far easier to train and work with untalented but trustworthy people than it is to work with discourteous geniuses. Thus, it is not surprising that relational skills that inspire trust and loyalty are now generally preferred over raw talent.
Knowing what interpersonal skills to train has become one of the conditions of getting and keeping a good job.
For the most part, these skills are common and do not require years of practice to obtain and perfect. A willing and focused mind is all you need. And having practiced some of these skills to perfection, you will be high up the ladder of employability before you know it.
However, despite the ease with which you can get relational skills, some job seekers don’t even know what they are. Thus, this article was put together to define interpersonal skills and describe their value in the present. At the end of this article, you should be able to list at least 10 such skills offhand. You should also be able to showcase them in your resume.
Table of Contents
What Are Interpersonal Skills?
There are many definitions of interpersonal skills. One of the most common of these definitions is that interpersonal or relational skills or social skills are soft abilities used for interacting with other people. On this basis, relational skills are soft, meaning that they are desirable character traits rather than tangible abilities.
Secondly, relational skills are useful, and they are put to the best use when you relate to other people.
There are many interpersonal skills examples. These include verbal and non-verbal communication, leadership spirit, teamwork, patience, diplomacy, humor, tolerance, and many more. Having any of these skills can significantly boost your employability. In the same way, lacking them is tantamount to having poor relations with other people, including potential employers and colleagues.
Why are Interpersonal Skills Important?
Social skills in the workplace are important for many reasons.
- They boost teamwork: Social skills such as active listening, effective communication, empathy, etc., ensure that the workplace colleagues can share ideas thoughtfully. This is one of the determinants of office teamwork and collaboration, especially now that remote work is a thing.
- They encourage employee engagement: Employee engagement is built on the premise of efficient workplace relations. So, as long as the relationship between employees is positive and constructive, it will be easy for employers to engage them as single units. And this is something that employers look out for because it is easier to manage units than individual elements.
- They discourage misunderstandings: With social skills such as patience and thoughtfulness in operation, misunderstandings seldom emerge in a workplace. Rather, social skills help colleagues communicate their thoughts and intentions, listening and responding cordially. In such situations, differences in opinion are resolved before they escalate to disputes. Thus, the workplace is an organized environment instead of a bedlam of inconsiderate intentions and actions.
- They allow for uninterrupted workplace productivity: With each of the above-listed benefits of social skills in operation, workplaces become very productive. This is because every resource and asset is put to the best use possible. Also, managers spend a lot less time roaring and angry, and more time optimizing employee efficiency and effectiveness.
- They indicate humanity: Relational skills indicate humanity. Although the workplace is often described in mechanical terms and employees are expected to work like robots, these soft skills add color to the workplace.
This color, more often than not, contributes to the success of business establishments.
Types of Interpersonal Skills
There is really no precise categorization of social skills. Because all of them are soft skills and most of them are conceptual skills, it is also difficult to rank them in any logical order. Nevertheless, we may want to differentiate demonstrative social skills from passive social skills.
- Demonstrative social skills: These are relational skills that can be observed and measured in one way or another. In other words, you can take notice of demonstrative social skills once they are active. Examples of these are effective communication, leadership, positive attitude, teamwork, compromise, etc. Once you activate these skills, an observer will be able to point them out.
- Passive social skills: Passive social skills, on the other hand, are not so easy to point out. Most of the time, they are internal and can only be felt by whoever has them. Examples of these skills are self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and tolerance. Even though the effects of these skills are often visible, it is not easy to tell when these skills are in effect in an individual.
Relational skills may also be separated into verbal and non-verbal skills. However, these skills are generally understood with reference to communication skills.
Top Interpersonal Skills to Highlight on Your Resume
If you want your resume to pop, here are 8 interpersonal skills you should consider including.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to detect and understand the emotional well-being of people around you. Based on this understanding, you can condition your emotions, attitude, and actions as you relate to these people. This skill is one of the most desired employability skills because it fosters better interaction with other people.
2. Effective Communication
Effective communication is one of the most popular soft skills cited in employment and workplace literature. Having this skill means that you can express your thoughts deliberately and often in a concise manner. Thus, those with whom you are interacting understand everything you expressed exactly how you wanted them to.
Empathy is a lot like emotional intelligence. However, it is far more altruistic and allows you to respond favorably to how others around you are feeling. Thus, we say that you are empathetic when you were just offered your dream job, for example, and decide to cool down your excitement because your neighbor’s cat just died. Empathy is sharing the emotional state of others consciously or unconsciously.
4. Willingness to Listen
Willingness to listen is likely one of the leading social skills that employers and colleagues prefer to have in other people. This skill allows you to keep your cool when other people are expressing themselves and respond only when they are through. It is more of an attitude than an action, but it is a very effective relational skill. Also, it is not very easy to train, making it all the more sought after.
Open-mindedness is closely related to willingness to listen, empathy, and emotional intelligence. This relational skill allows you to put yourself in other people’s shoes, effectively letting you better understand them. Much like willingness to listen, it is not the easiest relational skill to train. Moreover, it is often rare in creative workplaces, particularly in people holding managerial or administrative positions.
Negotiation is a relational skill that can be learned systematically. It essentially revolves around knowing how to deal with difficult decisions and people. It is a skill that accompanies genuine leadership, so it is often considered a tag-along relational skill. Nevertheless, its value cannot be overemphasized especially in unusual workplace situations and experiences.
7. Positive Attitude
A positive attitude, as the name implies, is more attitude than skill. It is a deliberate (could also be unconscious) point of view that is purely optimistic. This attitude may be described as the half-full-cup viewpoint, noting that it sees the best in everything. Such an attitude is often uplifting and refreshing in any workplace. The only objection to it is that it is not easy to train and perfect.
Patience is another very valuable social skill that can boost your career prospects. The skill has a lot to do with mindsets but ultimately centers around perseverance and tolerance. It also serves as one of the companions of emotional intelligence, empathy, willingness to listen, and open-mindedness. Employees that have this skill are often the easiest to instruct and manage. Thus, it is an exclusive social skill.
How to Show Your Skills in Resume and Interview + Examples
Now that you know some of the most valuable relational skills to include in your resume, how do you go about including them?
You can decide to be subtle or direct when you include your interpersonal skills in your resume or showcase them during interviews. Consider this introduction:
I am an open-minded IT specialist with effective communication skills and a positive mindset.
Whether you write something like this or say it, you have managed to call attention to your interpersonal skills.
You can also include integrations like the above in your section about professional experience. Thus, you can have something like:
Patiently negotiated the use of personal MiFi over office broadband options for network connectivity.
Similarly, you can list your relational skills in your skill sections. This is the easiest method to showcase your interpersonal skills as you only need to put them in bulletins like this:
- Emotional intelligence
Willingness to listen
- Effective communication
- Positive attitude
So, interpersonal skills are very important in the present, especially in terms of job applications and in workplaces. In essence, these skills don’t only determine whether and how you land your dream job, but also how impressive you become subsequently.