Communication skills are crucial to include on your resume because they are always in high demand by employers. A National Skills Commission (NCS) report found that ‘communication skills’ were one of four key skills needed for jobs of the future in Australia — primarily because jobs that require high proficiency in verbal communication and writing are less likely to be automated.
They know that all high performers are, first and foremost, great communicators.
For instance, research conducted by McKinsey found that well-connected teams can increase their productivity by 20 to 25% with effective communication.
Whether you hold a customer-facing, client-facing, or completely internal role, your next hiring manager will want you to showcase your communication skills on your resume. Let’s explore the best methods of doing it in 2023.
(Related: How To Write A Powerful Resume Headline).
What Are Communication Skills?
Researchers in sociology and psychology have long studied communication. Experts have defined it as:
- Your written, spoken and listening skills.
- Your body language.
- The cultural norms you learn to connect with others.
Beyond your ability to wield words without spelling mistakes or project your voice without stumbling, good communication skills include your ability to:
- Understand and interpret goals, instructions and data.
- Build and manage relationships with others, including how you handle conflict.
- Accept and provide constructive feedback.
- Collaborate and coordinate activities within a team environment.
- Choose your message and the medium required to convey it effectively.
As the famous quote from playwright George Bernard Shaw goes:
A person can have an excellent grasp of grammar but be terrible at providing regular updates that keep their team in alignment with a project goal.
Similarly, a person might speak confidently but lack a substantial argument and fail to be convincing.
When writing your resume, it’s important to demonstrate your level of skill by focusing on the positive impact you’ve made by applying your communication skills.
Why Are Communication Skills Important?
Let us ask this: what do Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, and Barack Obama all have in common? They were all highly effective communicators.
These skills fall into the ‘soft skills’ category, also known as ‘common skills’ and ‘employability skills’, which are transferrable across any profession.
(Related: Best Australian Resume Templates For 2023).
Australia’s National Skills Commission says 75% of employers think employability skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, problem-solving, initiative) are as important—if not more important—than technical skills.
Showcasing your communication skills on your resume can increase your odds of being the #1 candidate by demonstrating that you:
- Can positively influence stakeholders.
- Fit into the company’s culture.
- Sell and market the company’s products.
Personality affects your preferred style of communicating — but you can still showcase your strengths. For example, while being naturally introverted might mean you have less experience with large presentations, you’ve probably successfully presented in a team meeting or to smaller groups of stakeholders.
Roles That Require Strong Communication Skills.
While soft skills are broadly in demand, some industries specifically require good communication skills, such as:
- Digital sales.
- Real estate.
- Customer service.
- Human Resources.
- Financial Advice.
- Marketing and advertising.
However, communication skills can improve your success in achieving many career goals and should be an area for professional growth for anyone.
In a digital age, how employers expect you to apply your communication skills is evolving rapidly. For example:
|Marketing Agency||Might use AI-powered tools to create content ideas and blog briefs, so they look to hire writers capable of: conveying an opinion; sharing subject matter expertise; conducting great interviews to get colourful quotes; using multimedia to improve content’s uniqueness|
|Remote-First Software Development Company||Might expect you to conduct daily stand-ups or product tours for customers virtually and want to see evidence that you can navigate technologies like Zoom confidently and communicate effectively within the medium’s constraints.|
|Consulting Firm||Might expect its consultants to move away from attending or speaking at large industry events and instead raise their profile through new media— such as engaging LinkedIn video posts, or being a guest on podcasts.|
Five Important Communication Skills To Include On Your Resume.
I could easily list dozens of verbal and non-verbal communication skills that you could list on your resume. But for the sake of ease, I’ve narrowed them down to the most important ones. Be sure to include them on your resume regardless of industry or seniority.
1. Written Communication Skills.
Clear writing allows you to connect with others, form new ideas, frame brand messaging and engage with new audiences.
If you have experience in any of the following job functions, be sure to include them on your resume:
- Creating advertising copy.
- Designing marketing emails.
- Writing website or social media copy.
- Constructing company-wide emails.
- Editing and proofreading documents.
- Forming brand tone of voice documents.
Even in more technical or operational roles, you’re probably using the written word to communicate regularly, such as:
- Providing instructions, briefs or guidance through emails to team members or external contractors.
- Developing business cases or proposals for strategic plans or commercial opportunities.
- Documenting technical specifications or client requirements for a project or product.
Remember to be specific when showcasing your writing skills on your resume. Describe the impact of your work by including quantified achievements.
2. Presentation Skills.
Presenting, storytelling, pitching and defending ideas are part of many roles, particularly those in managerial and sales positions.
I’m not talking about speaking at large conference-style events.
Rather, I’m talking about the skills you’ll lean on to ensure that daily meetings with your team and clients are effective.
Presenting includes oral communication, non-verbal cues (e.g., good posture and friendly expression) and your ability to present information in a way that makes it easy to understand (e.g., using personal anecdotes or data visualisations).
In industries that require additional spoken or written language skills, you should include your proficiency in other languages (from beginner to intermediate to native speaker).
Presentation skills worthy of inclusion on your resume might consist of the following:
- Data review.
- Salary negotiation.
- HR complaint handling.
- Interpreting online research.
- Team-building activities.
- Sales pitches.
- Marketing overviews.
- Leading campaign brainstorms.
3. Team Building Skills.
“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team,” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn cofounder, confirms the value of high-performing, communicative teams.
Managers must lead team-building by setting a great example, but all employees contribute to the quality of relationships that hold teams together.
When writing your resume, think about the interpersonal communication skills you’ve leaned on to create a higher-performing team.
Employers want to hire people capable of working towards a shared vision and getting along with colleagues, as it improves their employee retention rate and increases employee resilience and creativity.
Team building skills include:
- Motivational guidance.
- Task delegation.
- Active listening.
- Conflict resolution.
- Ongoing training.
I have compiled our guide for improving your team’s performance here.
4. Public Speaking Skills.
In addition to day-to-day verbal communication skills to foster relationships between teams or directly with customers and clients — many hiring managers want employees capable of taking centre stage without hesitation.
In particular, public speaking prowess will help you be a top candidate for leadership roles and jobs in fields like journalism, public relations, entertainment and tourism, consulting, sales, training, campaign management and advocacy.
Evidence of public speaking indicates to employers that you remain persuasive and composed under pressure.
Studies have shown that audiences make their mind up within the first 7 seconds of a speech about whether the speaker is charismatic, intelligent and credible.
Speaking skills include:
- Active listening.
- Eye contact.
- Breath and pace control.
- Vocabulary proficiency.
- Natural, relaxed delivery.
- Physical gravitas (body language).
Albert Mehrabian, a body language researcher, found that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words only! Public speaking relies on physical communication to convey confidence and command attention.
5. Negotiation Skills.
Many industries rely on negotiation to close deals or advance partnerships. For naturally introverted or shy people, negotiation can feel somewhat confrontational.
Other individuals love the game and the push-pull dynamic of negotiating.
If you find negotiation intimidating, you might overlook instances where you’ve applied this skill. Consider times when you’ve:
- Worked with colleagues to reach agreement on changes to a project’s timing, scope or budget.
- Liaised with a client or supplier to adjust the terms of your service to retain business, without a significant downside for the company.
- Resolved a conflict with a colleague or a different team within your organisation by actively listening to their concerns, and finding a shared middle ground.
Including negotiation on your resume shows an employer that you can:
- Read a high-pressure situation.
- Make pragmatic decisions.
- Gauge another person’s emotional needs.
- Exercise your judgement in line with business goals.
Examples Of How To Showcase Effective Communication Skills In A Resume.
You have limited space on a resume to highlight the most relevant communication skills and sell yourself to a potential employer.
Section 1: Objective/Skills Summary.
Role: Sales Representative.
- Native Spanish speaker.
- Spanish to English translation.
- Xero training specialist.
- Sales negotiation.
- Customer-facing support.
Section 2: Experience.
Role: Clinical Social Worker.
- Implemented psychological counselling and group interventions for those aged 15-35 per Tamworth Hospital mental health treatment plans.
- Made community referrals for the acquisition of services for disenfranchised groups in the greater Tamworth area.
- Consulted with staff members to assist with better adjustment tactics for various clients suffering from mental health disorders in a hospital setting.
- Admin consisting of documenting patient behaviour, filling out discharge forms and creating a trail of progress notes.
- The daily measurement of patient progress on-ward and formation of personalised treatment plans with recommendations from other health professionals.
ROLE: Guidance Counselor.
- Participated in 10+ staff training meetings and national conferences, as well as attended training directly related to the well-being of students regarding youth relationships.
- Provided counselling services to students on the subjects of family dynamics, romantic relationships and sexual health.
- Developed contractual partnerships with Children’s Services, Directions for Youth and Families and Buckeye Ranch.
- Managed volunteer recruitment for fundraisers/organising and planning events for the school to continue ongoing education after the camp’s completion.
- Oversaw individual case management and organising a counselling plan for those recommended by school staff and their parents.
ROLE: HR Director Chief of Staff.
- Advised the HR Director, Division Managers, and other top-level administrators on workforce activities affecting customer service initiatives.
- Managed the department’s overall performance weekly with data and action plans presented to the broader team.
- Partnered with the City Manager’s office to create and design performance evaluation tools for City Leadership, which was carried out over three months.
- Effectively enhanced communication with the HR Department and our 6000+ employee staff by creating an online portal and weekly newsletters.
- Developed a social networking presence with timely and pertinent content building an engaged audience of over 20,000.
- Drafted white papers for communication pieces for city-wide distribution.
Section 3: Certifications.
ROLE: Public Relations Coordinator.
- Post-Bachelor’s Certificate in Digital Curation.
- Graduate Certificate in Public Relations (majoring in Corporate Communications).
- Online Certificate in Organisational Leadership & Communication.
- Short Course in Digital Communication – Sydney Community College.
- Internship: MVMNT PR Agency specialising in Crisis Communications.
Demonstrating Strong Communication Skills.
Adding communication skills to your resume could be the difference between an interview offer at one of your dream companies or having to complete many more applications.
Include specific, detailed examples based on our top five communication skills to ensure your resume stands out.
Verbal, written and nonverbal communication skills impact all aspects of our working life and must be prioritised.
Author and CEO Pat McMillan confirms, “Excellent communication doesn’t just happen naturally. It is a product of process, skill, climate, relationship and hard work.” Time to get to work!