Communication skills are important for almost any position. The ability to communicate effectively with your team, customers, and managers is essential. Including communication skills on a resume can be tricky, however.
We’ll cover exactly how to include communication skills on a resume along with some examples.
Should I include communication skills on my resume?
Yes! However, you can’t just list “communication skills” in your skills section and call it a day. You should be including communication skills on your resume with more context.
Simply using phrases like “excellent written and verbal communication skills” serves little to no value on a resume. Anyone can make these claims, and it’s difficult to prove.
Here is a list of common communication skills phrases used on resumes that WON’T help you stand out:
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Confident, articulate, and professional speaking abilities (and experience)
- Empathic listener and persuasive speaker
- Public Speaking
- Speaking in public, to groups, or via electronic media
- Excellent presentation and negotiation skills
While these statements may be true, none of them add a whole lot of value to your resume. Use them sparingly, knowing that most other people are using the exact same phrases on their own resumes.
Instead, your skills section should consist of mostly hard skills.
What’s the difference between soft skills like communication and hard skills?
The big difference is that “hard” skills are objective and “soft” skills are subjective. This chart offers some more comparisons:
So how do you include communication skills on a resume correctly?
How to include communication skills on a resume
You should include your communication skills indirectly, meaning you need to “show, don’t tell.” This is best done through explaining your achievements.
For each job application, you need to identify the key skills the employer wants. If communication skills pop up on the job description, that’s a great sign that you should pepper your skills with communicating throughout your resume. The next section of this blog post will give you several examples of how to include common communication skills on your resume.
Here are the most popular communication skills to use on your resume:
- Presenting or public speaking
- Managing groups and people management
- Written communication
Presenting or public speaking
Did you give a presentation or speak publicly at an event? If so, this is a great way to show communications skills! Turn your skill into an accomplishment in your work experience section.
Here’s an example from our Communication Specialist resume example:
Supplied superior customer service training and presentations to external and internal stakeholders, efficiently coordinating relations efforts.
In this example, the applicant has described the nature of the presentations (audience and subject) as well as the results: effectively coordinating relations efforts. This is a great example of describing presentation or public speaking skills.
If public speaking is a big part of the job you want to apply for, you can supplement your talents by listing your specific public speaking engagements under a professional development section. You can also mention your presentation-related hard skills, such as PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi.
Negotiation skills will benefit you in a number of job functions including sales, business development, and law. Showing that you successfully negotiated something will display your good communication skills.
Here is an example of displaying your negotiation skills from our Attorney resume example:
Experienced in delivering high-quality work product in a variety of subject matter areas, building effective case strategies, and negotiating high-value contracts for corporate clients.
This example is not from the work experience section like the presentation skills above. Instead, this is the final sentence in the sample attorney’s resume summary. Negotiation is a key skill for all attorneys, so the resume places the skill in the first section below the contact information.
If negotiation is a key skill for your target industry, try to incorporate it in your own resume summary.
💡ZipTip: resume summaries are a fantastic (and overlooked) way to incorporate more keywords on your resume. Check out our full guide on how to write a resume summary that lands the interview.
Managing a team also requires good communications skills. Try to focus on quantifiable achievements that show you communicated effectively with staff, customers, or the C-Suite, or other groups of people.
Here are two examples to describe managing people in different contexts:
Managed a team of XX customer service employees, decreasing staff turnover by XX% with improved morale.
This example is from a Customer Service Manager resume example. It shows both interpersonal communication skills and the results of those skills. Decreasing turnover is a great metric to use. The more you can add numbers to your soft skills, the more compelling an employer will find them.
Managed a team of 8 support engineers and 3 developers for the operation of 180 servers, 24h/day, 7 days/week.
This example is from an example of a resume for a Technical Manager. Again, the people management skills are made more compelling by adding in the number of team members, number of servers the team operated, and the time commitment. Contextualizing your soft skills within technical fields is an excellent way to present yourself as both a competent worker and a good person to work with.
Written communication is a vital skill for writers, marketers, office staff, and all remote workers. While your whole resume serves as a testament to your writing ability, you can give more weight to your writing skills by mentioning how they’ve helped you succeed professionally.
Here is an example of written communication from our post Professional Writer and Editor Resume Example:
Wrote headlines, edited copy, designed graphics and created pages on both print and digital platforms.
If the hiring manager needs a versatile writer, this experience will speak directly to your abilities far more effectively than “Written and verbal communication skills” in your skills section.
A final tip for including your communication skills:
1. Always start your bullet points with an action verb
Many people fall into a trap when detailing communication skills on their resumes: they start using passive language or vague terms. to avoid that mistake, check that all of your bullet points in your experience section start with a powerful verb.
Here are some good ones to get you started:
If you like this list, head over here next: 101 Power Verbs For Your Resume
Communication skills on a resume are certainly important but you need to describe how you can use them. As a rule of thumb: if you can’t measure or test a skill, you need to give it more context! Hard skills like Excel can stand alone, but your communication skills need to be given results, metrics, accomplishments, and similar details to show your talents.
Best of luck with your job search!
Caitlin’s recommendations for what to read next:
- The Best 10 Skills To Put On Your Resume
- 15 Resume Buzzwords Employers Hate To See
- How To Reply To A Recruiter (+ Templates)
Still have questions? Comment below or hire your own professional resume writer.