Communication skills are something that almost every employer is looking for – and for good reason. Most jobs require some level of human interaction with coworkers, supervisors, subordinates, customers, or other stakeholders. Employers need employees with these abilities to ensure that their operations run smoothly and productively. It is thus vital to include communication skills on your resume if you want to ensure that you capture an employer’s attention during any job search.
In this post, we will explain why you need to include communication skills on your resume, examine the top five skills you need to highlight and 10 others that you may want to consider, and provide a communications skills resume template you can use to showcase your abilities.
Why should you include communication skills on your resume?
While hard skills will help show that you have the right qualifications for most jobs, soft skills are just as important for success. And when it comes to soft skills, few are as vital as the ability to communicate in a skillful way. By including communication skills on your resume, you demonstrate to employers that you can not only interact with customers, colleagues, and supervisors but also work as part of a cohesive and effective team.
How to include communication skills on a resume
Of course, you need to know how to include communication skills in a resume if you want to effectively convey these abilities to employers. To do that, you need to illustrate these skills in various sections of the resume rather than simply claim that you possess them. The following tips can help you ensure that your inclusion of these skills is as compelling as possible:
Don’t just list “excellent communication skills” in your skill section and assume that you’re done. You’ll need to include examples of how you used those abilities to solve problems, create value, or otherwise benefit your previous employers.
Make sure that your resume includes all the key qualifications you find in the job posting, using those exact terms. If a skill like team leadership is cited as a qualification, use that term in one of the achievement examples that you include in your resume.
Use real numbers to quantify the results your achievements provided for those prior employers. For example, instead of just writing that you used negotiation skills to close multiple deals for your last employer, show real value by quantifying those results: “Successfully negotiated and closed new client deals valued at more than $27 million.”
Communication skills resume template
If you’re wondering how all this might look in your resume, it may be helpful to see a simple template for including communication skills on your resume. Below, we’ve provided an easy-to-follow template that you can use to organize your own resume.
[Your name, phone number, email, LinkedIn URL]
[Headline, including desired job title]
[Summary statement. This should be 3-5 sentences highlighting your key skills and achievements to demonstrate value. Think of it as an elevator pitch that sells your qualifications to employers.]
[Core competencies section. This section should include both hard and soft skills. You can list any required communication skills here but be prepared to also highlight them in achievements in other sections of the resume.]
[Professional experience. This section should list your previous jobs in reverse order, beginning with your current or most recent position. Include the company name, job title, and employment dates for each position. Below each job, include several bullet point achievements – including those that relied on your communication skills.]
[Education. Your educational section needs to include the schools you attended, the years of attendance, course of study, degrees earned, and any relevant coursework.]
Communication skills resume example
We’ve also put together a sample resume that highlights communication skills that you can use for inspiration or as a customizable guide for your own resume.
555-555-5555 • Johnj@somewebsite.com • https://www.linkedin.com/in/JohnJohnson
Lead Corporate Negotiator with 10 Years of Fortune 500 Experience
Proven corporate negotiator and deal-closer with 10 years of success in closing multimillion-dollar client deals in the finance and manufacturing sectors. Organized, managed, and led a 20-person acquisition and merger team that created more than $500 million in value for our clients. Personally negotiated ABCD Corp. merger with EFG Inc, increasing company value by 23% while saving more than 1300 jobs.
ABCD Corp, 2015-2023
Chief Negotiator, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Division
Led teams responsible for identifying M&A prospects to further company growth plans
Oversaw creation of M&A outreach, negotiation, and closure plans
Negotiated deals worth more than $400 million, with 72% M&A success rate
Alpha, Inc., 2009-2015
Lead strategist, M&A
Created merger and acquisition strategies that successfully led to more than 35 completed deals in a 6-year period
Developed negotiation presentation plans that were used to achieve a 62% success rate by negotiation teams
Created and managed negotiator training program that boosted overall closure success rate for M&A by 29%
Bachelor of Communications, GoodSpeak College, 2008
Coursework: Digital Communications, Media Relations, Public Relations, Persuasive Speaking, Negotiation Theory
Different communication skills to highlight on your resume
When you’re evaluating your own communication skills, it’s important to remember that they all fall into two main categories. Those two forms of communication include verbal and nonverbal communication. Let’s consider each to get a better idea of how they can help you in your career.
Most people are intimately familiar with verbal communication, which involves the use of words to convey ideas and messages. Verbal communication can occur person-to-person, in a phone call, during a video conference, or through text, email, and other forms of writing. This type of communication is an effective way to deliver information, share new concepts, and solve problems.
While verbal communication is important, many experts believe that seventy percent or more of all human communication occurs without words. This nonverbal communication includes subtle things like facial expressions, body language, posture, and the tone of your voice. Even something as simple as maintaining or avoiding eye contact can impart useful information to other people.
Top 5 communication skills employers look for
Before you start listing communication skills in your resume, it can be helpful to ensure that you have a better idea of the type of abilities today’s employers are looking for. In the following sections of this post, we will examine some of those key communication skills, beginning with the top five communication skills that most employers always appreciate.
Emotional intelligence is more important than ever before. As the workplace grows ever more complex, employers need to know that each member of their team is cognizant of their colleagues’ emotions and points of view. This is especially true in environments where collaboration and workplace harmony are essential for success.
It is one thing to be able to communicate an idea. It is often quite another to do with the type of clarity that most people need if they are to fully understand your message. Whether you are giving directions or taking them, it is important to be able to do so in a direct and clear way. For example, if you not only provide instructions but offer an example that effectively illustrates those directions, you’re more likely to be understood by others.
Honesty and integrity in your communications are the most important keys to gaining others’ trust. Every employer wants to build a team made up of people who say what they mean and follow through on their word. Honest employees can be relied upon to be both responsible and accountable for their actions, transparent in their actions, and authentic in all their dealings.
Team building is a powerful skill that demonstrates an ability to communicate with others, collaborate as part of a group, and even motivate colleagues to reach new heights of success. Good team builders are adept at things like delegation, inspirational messaging, and problem-solving. This skill is one that is often associated with managers – but make no mistake: employers appreciate seeing it on the resume of any job candidate.
Active listening is a skill prized by many employees because those who possess this ability can do more than just hear messages from others. They are also adept at understanding the true meaning of any message because they actively engage in conversations and know how to use questions and reflective listening to ensure clarity.
10 other communication skills to highlight in a resume
Of course, those five critical skills are just a small subset of the full range of abilities you can cite to demonstrate your communication skills. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 other communication-related skills that you can include in your resume to illustrate your ability to articulate information to others.
Are you experienced in giving presentations? If so, then turn that skill into an accomplishment in your work experience section. For example:
Supplied superior customer service training and presentations to external and internal stakeholders, reducing training time and costs by 10% over 2 years.
Negotiation skills will benefit you in many different industries including sales, business development, and law. Showing that you successfully negotiated a deal will display your great communication skills. Here is an example of how that might be conveyed in a resume:
Experienced in delivering high-quality work products in a variety of subject matter areas, building effective case strategies, and negotiating high-value, multimillion-dollar contracts for corporate clients.
3. Coordinating human resources
It is impossible to manage or coordinate other people’s activities without effective communication skills. If you’ve ever managed people at any level of an organization, you can illustrate this ability in your resume through a well-constructed example of a quantifiable achievement.
Managed a team of 26 customer service employees, decreasing staff turnover by 20% with improved morale, and increasing customer satisfaction and retention by 15%.
4. Written communication
Written communication is a vital skill for writers, marketers, office staff, and many other 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. For example:
Created headlines, edited copy, and designed graphics and pages for both print and digital platforms.
5. Conflict resolution
Whenever humans interact, there is always the potential for interpersonal conflict. If you’re adept at resolving these types of issues, you should demonstrate that by citing examples of your conflict resolution skills in your resume.
Regularly called upon to defuse conflicts within the team to reduce distraction and ensure that our combined attention remained 100% focused on our collective mission objective.
As we mentioned earlier in the post, teamwork is essential in many different types of jobs. If your talents include the ability to collaborate effectively with others, then you should make sure that your resume includes that skill. Pick one or more jobs where you relied on this ability for success and include a bullet point example of how it benefited the company.
In collaboration with my team and other departments, successfully reorganized our sales process to increase lead generation by 22%, improve sales conversions by 18%, and increase profits by 19%.
The ability to persuade others can be a vital communication skill that can help you supercharge your career. It is also one of those skills that most employers will prize, especially if you can demonstrate how your persuasiveness can add value to their bottom line. One way to illustrate that persuasive ability is to highlight instances where you’ve been able to persuade others in ways that benefited your employers. For example:
Led acquisition advance team tasked with persuading target company leaders to consider selling their enterprises. Utilized persuasive techniques to achieve more than 19% success rate on first attempts, 52% success rate on second contact.
One of the most important communication skills these days involves the ability to maintain an open mind. Are you someone who values other people’s perspectives and ideas? Do you enjoy brainstorming with others to come up with new and creative solutions to problems? If so, then that open-minded approach to new information and points of view is a strength that you should share on your resume.
Led diverse team in collaborative effort to brainstorm new ideas and solutions for needed technological system changes, resulting in implementation of new systems that improved company logistical efficiency by 33%.
9. Motivational speaking
Your ability to inspire others by using your voice to motivate them to new heights of success can also be an attractive communication skill for many employers. After all, motivational skills are essential for any management or leadership position. If you’ve ever been in any situation where you needed to motivate your colleagues to achieve a goal, be sure to include that as one of your achievements.
As team leader, incorporated daily stand-up meetings to motivate and focus team members, which helped increase productivity by 28% in just 6 months.
10. Giving and receiving feedback
Employers also want to know that you’re capable of receiving feedback, and even providing it depending on your role. Are you someone who always wants to hear constructive criticism or even negative feedback? That desire to be accountable so that you can continue to improve is something that employers will be eager to know about you. They’ll also appreciate your ability to offer constructive advice to other members of your team.
This is one of those skills that you may want to highlight in your summary statement if you’re focused on receiving criticism. For example:
Dedicated team leader who seeks out constructive feedback to fuel consistent growth and improvement in performance metrics.
On the other hand, if you’re usually the one providing the feedback, you may want to mention that in one of your work history achievements.
Provided monthly, quarterly, and annual performance reviews for team members, as well as more frequent feedback designed to prevent performance issues before they became serious problems.
Your communication skills on a resume can make all the difference
Knowing which communication skills to put on a resume could help determine the type of impression you make on any prospective employer. That’s why it’s so important to understand which skills employers are looking for and make sure that your skills align with those needs.
So, take the time to assess your key communication skills and pay careful attention to the qualifications cited in any job posting. If you can ensure that those cited skills align well with the communication skills on your resume, you can increase your chances of landing an interview.
Want to ensure that you have the right communication skills on your resume? Head on over to get your free resume review from our team of experts to learn whether your resume has what it takes to help you achieve your job search goals.
Ken Chase, Freelance Writer
During Ken's two decades as a freelance writer, he has covered everything from banking and fintech to business management and the entertainment industry. His true passion, however, has always been focused on helping others achieve their career goals with timely job search and interview advice or the occasional resume consultation. When he's not working, Ken can usually be found adventuring with family and friends or playing fetch with his demanding German Shepherd. Read more resume advice from Ken on ZipJob’s blog.