Interpersonal Skills Definition, List, Examples
You may have seen interpersonal skills as a request on the job description for the job you are about to apply for. So what are they and why do they matter? We’re going to walk through interpersonal skills so you can better understand what they are in the workplace and why they are valued by employers.
We’re going to cover in this writeup:
- What interpersonal skills are in the workplace.
- Why interpersonal skills are important in the workplace.
- Where you might be able to list interpersonal skills on your job application assets.
- How you might be able to bring up interpersonal skills during your interview.
Ready? Let’s jump in and get started.
What Are Interpersonal Skills?
Before we jump into what these are for the workplace. Let’s see how the dictionary describes the word “interpersonal”:
“relating to relationships or communication between people.”
OK, so this gives us a lot more insight. Interpersonal means the relationship or interaction between groups of people. Or the interaction between people.
I think we can already start to make some conclusions as to why these are valuable skills for the workplace. But let’s stay focused on what these skills are, first.
Is “Interpersonal Skills” a skill? Yes, it is. Unlike clerical skills for example, you can list “Interpersonal Skills” as part of your skills section on your resume.
But what can go even further is to list other soft skills that show and support the fact that you have interpersonal skills.
For example, these soft skills are considered to be under the “interpersonal” parent skill:
- Verbal Communication Skills
- Social Skills
- Meditation Skills
- Flexibility Skills
- Criticism Taking Skills
- Feedback Taking Skills
- Diversity Skills
- Diplomacy Skills
- Integrity Skills
- Kindness Skills
- Empathy Skills
- Trust Development Skills
- Instruction Giving Skills
- Mentor Giving Skills
- Motivation Skills
- Storytelling Skills
- Collaboration Skills
These are skills which are considered “interpersonal”. Why are they considered that? Because they are factors that would go into being able to deal with either group interactions or individual interactions of your coworkers.
Why Are Interpersonal Skills Important?
These skills are particularly important because teamwork is what makes a company operate efficiently. Being able to communicate with your fellow colleagues and being able to address their needs or concerns can make you an especially valuable team member.
The skills mentioned in the list above are variable in the sense that they may come out of you during certain work situations. Is it a conflict you are dealing with? Is it a tight deadline? Is it the need to be flexible during a team management change? What is the factor that is causing you to have to show your interpersonal skills?
It is vital that you consider that as part of your narrative you will be telling in your job application assets as well as in your future interview.
When you show interpersonal skills, you are telling your future employer that you know how to handle office relationships. And know how to conduct business with proper etiquette. And that is valuable to your employer.
Think about it, do you want to hire someone who is going to bring conflict and friction to the workplace? No, probably not. You want someone who is going to bring joy, happiness, enthusiasm, and excitement to the work.
Which Jobs Require Interpersonal Skills?
Certain jobs require interpersonal skills more than others. Though, any office related job will require these skills. For example, if you’re applying for a position as a Truck Driver, you might not need interpersonal skills as part of your resume.
This is clear because your daily work environment is going to be inside of a commercial-grade truck, not in an office.
Any job that may be conducted within an office setting is applicable. Though, any management position would be considered valuable to have interpersonal skills highly emphasized.
Here are a few management positions which would benefit greatly from listing interpersonal skills on your job application assets:
How Can I Show Interpersonal Skills on My Resume?
There are three areas where you can list these skills on your job application assets. Determining which area is best for you will come down to the amount of prior work experience you might be listing as well as whether or not you have a “Skills” section on your resume.
- Listing these skills on your resume summary
- Listing these skills under your “Skills” section of your resume
- Listing these skills within prior work experience bullet points
Listing them on your resume summary
A resume summary is a short three-sentence paragraph that opens up your resume. It shows your future employer your prior achievements as well as future desires within a bold statement. This can be a great way to synthesize your prior work experience.
Here is how you might be able to incorporate interpersonal skills within your resume summary.
“There was a time during my previous employment where our manger was let go. It was a time where we needed to show motivation, flexibility, determination, and focus. The way I helped the team achieve that was by focusing on our work. Putting our customers back in focus instead of our prior manager.”
Listing them in your skills section
A skills section, similar to an education section or prior work experience section of your resume can be helpful. But for those who have a significant amount of prior work experience, you might not have room for this. Alternatively, for those who don’t have a significant amount of work experience (entry-level workers), you may find that having a skills section pads your resume and builds it into the one-page that it needs to be.
Determine if this is the right path for you by the amount of prior work experience you have.
Listing them on your prior work experience bullet points
Showing that you have interpersonal skills may be easiest if you can bring up work scenarios that show your ability to work well with your colleagues. Was it an office conflict between two colleagues that you helped manage? Was it a team change that you helped overcome? Think through these work scenarios and ensure that they speak to people's interactions. If they do, then incorporate them as best as you can.
How Can I Show Interpersonal Skills on My Cover Letter?
Showing interpersonal skills on your cover letter is going to be easier than showing them on your resume. In your cover letter, you have the opportunity to bring up deeper explanations of prior work history.
During these explanations you should be able to incorporate how you worked with other team members to overcome certain hurdles. Was it a tight deadline that you were experiencing? If it was, how did you help to motivate the team to get over it?
As long as you can show the challenge you were faced with and how you interacted with others to overcome the challenge, you are expressing your interpersonal skills and abilities.
Here would be an example of that:
“We were under a tight deadline with one of our clients and the team wasn’t feeling entirely motivated. The simplest thing I did was to get us motivated by playing some good music, ordering good food, ordering coffee, and then having us talk about the challenge. That discussion of the challenge got us inspired and motivated to overcome it.”
How Can I Show Interpersonal Skills in My Interview?
Your cover letter will do wonders in terms of guiding your future interviewer towards the types of questions that might set you up for explaining your interpersonal skills.
If you describe prior work scenarios that incorporate your positive and deep interaction with a team, your interviewer is going to ask you about your abilities to manage, run, motivate, and drive a team forward.
When they do that, be sure that you use at least one to three prior work scenarios that show your ability to interact well with others.
This could be any type of interaction, big or small. Spend the time to understand which hurdle it was that you were faced with and how you overcame it. By doing that, you’ll be more prepared to clearly articulate your skills and present them with brevity, which also shows interpersonal skills in your delivery.
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