Top interpersonal skills to ace your career

In the landscape of professional life, good interpersonal skills are the bedrock of success. But what are they? And how can job seekers leverage them to impress hiring managers? Read on to uncover the top interpersonal skills that can lead to career advancement, together with examples and tips.


Interpersonal skills - brand logos

Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, social skills, employability skills or soft skills, are far more than a mere buzzword in the business world. They encompass an array of competencies and abilities that facilitate effective communication and positive interactions with others.

Their importance cannot be overstated – strong interpersonal skills are the very foundation upon which one can build relationships and then sustain them, both in the professional and personal spheres.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with:

  • A definition of what interpersonal skills are,
  • A list of interpersonal skills one needs in 2024, with examples,
  • Tips on how to improve and use interpersonal skills,
  • A guide on how to best highlight them when applying for a job.

Let’s dive in!

What are interpersonal skills?

First, let’s define interpersonal skills. They are the abilities that facilitate effective and positive interactions with others – and that’s why they are often called people skills. They include a wide range of key skills for a CV such as communication, active listening, empathy, patience, and conflict management.

These skills are critical in any professional setting as they enable individuals to work effectively in teams, build strong relationships, and contribute to a positive work environment. In the context of career success, they are often considered just as important, if not more so, than technical skills.

Indeed, no matter if you are one of the very best in your field and can handle a large number of technical tasks, poor interpersonal skills might hamper positive career growth.

Interpersonal skills meaning in the workplace

What does Interpersonal skills mean in the workplace? They translate into the ability to navigate social interactions and communicate effectively with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders alike.

They are a set of soft skills that help individuals interpret and respond appropriately to others’ behaviours and emotions. Interpersonal skills such as active listening and empathy foster a respectful and collaborative workplace culture, helping to reduce misunderstandings and conflicts.

They also enhance team productivity by enabling better teamwork and collaboration, which are critical in project management and the attainment of company goals.

Furthermore, strong interpersonal skills can facilitate effective leadership and management, as they are integral to motivating employees, resolving issues, and making informed decisions. In essence, understanding the meaning of interpersonal skills means realizing how pivotal they are in creating and maintaining a harmonious and efficient work environment.

Why are interpersonal skills important?

Good interpersonal skills are highly valued in the modern workplace due to the increasing emphasis on team-based projects and collaborative work environments. They foster harmony, facilitate efficient communication and enable conflict resolution — key elements for effective teamwork.

Furthermore, customer-centric businesses require interpersonal skills, as employees with strong interpersonal skills are crucial for building lasting customer relationships and enhancing user experience.

Finally, in a multicultural and diverse workplace, these skills are indispensable for fostering inclusion and mutual respect.

Interpersonal skills examples

Now that we’ve established the importance of interpersonal skills, let’s dive into the top 10 types of interpersonal skills that are essential for nailing your job search in 2024:

  1. Communication: The ability to convey information effectively is a core interpersonal skill. This includes both verbal and written communication and the ability to adjust your communication style to suit different audiences.
  2. Active listening: This skill involves fully focusing, understanding, and responding to the speaker, fostering open dialogue and mutual understanding.
  3. Empathy: Being able to understand and share the feelings of others helps in building strong and meaningful relationships.
  4. Conflict resolution: The ability to identify, address, and resolve conflicts in a respectful and constructive manner is essential in any professional environment.
  5. Teamwork: This involves working effectively within a group to achieve common goals, as good teamwork involves respecting diverse ideas and using the strengths of everyone in the team.
  6. Adaptability: In a rapidly changing work environment, the ability to adapt to new situations and challenges is highly valued.
  7. Problem-solving: This skill requires to analyze situations, identify potential solutions, and implement them effectively.
  8. Leadership: Leadership involves motivating and inspiring others, setting a positive example through the way they build relationships, and making strategic decisions that benefit the team or organization.
  9. Cultural competence: In a global and diverse workplace, understanding, respecting, and valuing cultural differences is crucial.
  10. Emotional intelligence: This skill involves recognizing, understanding, and managing our own emotions and the emotions of others. It enhances interpersonal relationships and helps in dealing with stress and conflict.

There are, of course, other interpersonal and management skills but these are some of the skills the employers are looking for in 2024. Let’s delve deeper and dissect each of these sought-after interpersonal skills, what they involve and why they are so crucial in a professional setting.

What are the interpersonal communication skills?

Effective communication is a key skill that goes beyond merely transmitting information; it bridges gaps, fosters understanding, and builds relationships. It comprises several sub-skills that each play an integral role in how effectively we express our ideas, understand others, and coordinate actions, such as:

  • Verbal communication
  • Non-verbal communication (body language)
  • Written communication
  • Active listening
  • Public speaking
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Conflict management

Why is active listening an interpersonal skill?

Active listening is more than just hearing what someone else is saying; it’s about understanding their message, providing feedback, and responding thoughtfully. This skill is vital in interpersonal communication because it establishes mutual respect and understanding, paving the way for productive conversations and collaborative partnerships. Active listening involves some of the most important interpersonal skills, such as:

  • Attentiveness
  • Reflective listening
  • Summarizing
  • Clarifying
  • Questioning

Is empathy an interpersonal skill?

Empathy is a fundamental interpersonal skill. It involves the ability to understand and share the feelings and perspectives of others. It requires several sub-skills that work together to form a comprehensive, empathetic outlook. Examples of interpersonal skills linked to empathy are:

  • Understanding others’ perspectives
  • Emotional support
  • Expressing understanding
  • Empathetic response

What is conflict resolution?

Conflict resolution is an important skill, especially in collaborative work environments where differing opinions can often lead to disputes. It involves the ability to identify, address, and resolve conflicts in a way that respects all parties involved, maintains relationships, and fosters a positive work culture. Here are a few conflict resolution interpersonal skills examples:

  • Mediation
  • Negotiation
  • Assertiveness
  • Decision-making

Is teamwork an interpersonal skill?

Teamwork and collaboration are interpersonal communication skills that are fundamental in today’s workforce, as well as in everyday life. They bring together diverse perspectives, and experiences to achieve common goals. To help individuals to effectively contribute to their team and enhance overall productivity, make them work on key skills such as:

  • Cooperation
  • Coordination
  • Delegation
  • Sharing responsibility
  • Openness to feedback

Why is adaptability such an important interpersonal skill?

Adaptability, a key interpersonal skill in today’s rapidly evolving work environment, involves flexibility and willingness to adjust to new circumstances and challenges efficiently and effectively. It includes several sub-skills that together build a robust adaptability framework, enabling individuals to embrace change, learn from new experiences, and turn challenges into opportunities. Here are some examples of interpersonal skills related to adaptability:

  • Resilience
  • Learning agility
  • Open-mindedness
  • Humour
  • Positive attitude

Why is problem-solving an interpersonal skill?

Problem-solving is an integral interpersonal skill that involves applying logical thinking to identify solutions to complex situations. It requires a set of sub-skills to be effective, allowing individuals to accurately analyze a problem, generate feasible solutions, and implement them effectively to achieve a positive outcome. Its core components include:

Is leadership an interpersonal skill?

Leadership is a multifaceted interpersonal skill that involves guiding others towards a shared vision or goal. It is not merely about managing people; it’s about igniting passion, fostering innovation, and creating an environment where everyone feels valued and heard. The best leaders demonstrate excellent leadership skills such as:

What is cultural competence?

Cultural competence is an essential interpersonal skill in our increasingly globalized and diverse world. It involves understanding, respecting, and valuing cultural differences, allowing us to interact effectively with people from diverse backgrounds. The key sub-components of cultural competence include:

  • Cultural awareness
  • Open-mindedness
  • Adaptability
  • Intercultural communication

Emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills

Emotional intelligence is a vital interpersonal skill that goes beyond traditional intelligence measures. It encompasses a range of other interpersonal skills that allow us to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and those of others effectively. These sub-skills include:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Relation management
  • Social skills

How to improve your interpersonal skills?

How can you get better interpersonal skills? Improving your interpersonal skills is a journey that demands conscious effort, practice, and patience. However, the rewards — improved relationships, successful interactions, and a boost in career prospects — make it a worthwhile endeavour. Here is a simple, yet effective, five-step winning formula to enhance relevant interpersonal skills:

  1. Self-awareness: Understand your strengths and weaknesses. It’s crucial to identify which skills you already excel at and which ones need improvement. Take advantage of self-assessment tools, seek feedback from others, and reflect on your interactions.
  2. Education and learning: Once you identify the areas for improvement, educate yourself. This could involve reading books, turning to online training or attending workshops. The goal is to understand the theory behind the skill, its importance, and how it can be effectively applied.
  3. Practice and application: Knowledge without application is futile. Find opportunities to practice your newfound skills, whether in your personal life or at work. The more you practice, the better you become.
  4. Seek constructive feedback: Don’t shy away from feedback and practise active listening. Constructive criticism from your peers, mentors, or even family members can provide valuable insights into how well you’re progressing and where you might need to adjust your approach.
  5. Reflect and adapt: Regularly take time to reflect on your progress. Are you noticing improvements in your interactions? Are there still challenging areas? Reflection allows for adjustment, keeping your development dynamic and responsive to your evolving needs.

Remember, improving interpersonal skills doesn’t happen overnight, but with persistence and a genuine desire to enhance your interactions, you’ll witness progressive improvement.

Interpersonal skills: how to highlight them when applying for jobs

When applying for jobs, it’s crucial to highlight interpersonal skills effectively to stand out from other candidates. Focus on these three key areas:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV): Your CV is often the first interaction recruiters have with you. Make sure to highlight your interpersonal skills in the ‘skills’ section. Don’t just list the skills. Provide strong examples of how you’ve applied these skills in previous roles. You can also showcase these skills in the ‘work experience’ or ‘volunteer experience’ sections by explaining how you’ve used them to contribute to team or project successes.
  • Cover Letter (CL): Your cover letter provides a great opportunity to further emphasize your interpersonal skills. Here, you can expand on the examples you’ve mentioned in your CV or provide new ones. Remember to keep your examples relevant to the job you’re applying for. The key is to demonstrate how your interpersonal skills have helped you achieve results and how they can benefit the potential employer.
  • Interview preparation: It’s one thing to claim you possess strong interpersonal skills, but it’s another to demonstrate them in real-time. During an interview, you have the opportunity to show these skills in action. Prepare for the interview by reflecting on past experiences where you used your interpersonal skills to overcome challenges or add value. Also, consider using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to structure your responses. It allows you to clearly and succinctly present your experiences and the impact of your interpersonal skills.

By focusing on these areas, you can effectively highlight your interpersonal skills and increase your chances of catching a potential employer’s attention.

Interpersonal skills: where to add them on your CV?

How to write a CV that showcases your interpersonal skills in more than just your CV Skills section? In this section, we’ll provide you tips and examples of where you can include them, and catch a recruiter’s eye.

Interpersonal skills in your Skills section

The ‘Skills’ section of your CV serves as a snapshot of your abilities, and with the right CV format honing this section with your interpersonal skills can effectively capture a recruiter’s attention. When including interpersonal skills, remember these key points:

  • Be Specific: Instead of merely stating ‘Teamwork’ or ‘Communication’, consider incorporating specific examples or contexts. For example, ‘Crisis-Management Communication’ or ‘Cross-Functional Team Collaboration’.
  • Accompany with Evidence: Each skill should ideally be accompanied by a brief example or quantifiable result that demonstrates your proficiency. For instance, administrative assistants could write something along the lines of ‘Effective Client Relationships: Maintained a 95% satisfaction rate over two years.’ in their administrative assistant CV.
  • Tailor to the Job: Ensure the skills listed are relevant to the job role you’re applying for. Review the job description carefully to identify which interpersonal skills are most valued by the employer and highlight these in your CV.
  • Keep it Concise: While it’s crucial to provide context and evidence, remember to keep your descriptions concise and to the point. The aim is to communicate your abilities effectively, leaving the recruiter intrigued to learn more during an interview.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can optimise the ‘Skills’ section of your CV, ensuring it not only highlights your good interpersonal skills but also demonstrates their impact and relevance to the potential employer.

Interpersonal skills in the workplace

Interpersonal skills in your Work experience section

In the “Work experience” section of your CV, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your interpersonal skills in action. Rather than merely listing the skills, use this section to cite specific instances where you made use of these skills in your previous roles.

For instance, if teamwork is one of your strengths, you might discuss a project where your collaborative efforts led to successful results. If you’re great at conflict resolution, you could mention a situation where you effectively resolved a disagreement within your team, contributing to a harmonious work environment.

Always try to quantify your achievements if possible, as it adds credibility to your claims. Remember to use strong action verbs at the beginning of each bullet point to make your statements more impactful.

Interpersonal skills in nursing

Interpersonal skills in your Profile section

In your CV profile or Objective in CV section, you have a prime opportunity to showcase your interpersonal skills right at the outset. This section should provide a succinct summary of your abilities, including important interpersonal skills that make you suitable for the position.

When mentioning your good interpersonal skills, try to link them directly to the role’s requirements and your career goals. For example, you could write, “Customer-centric sales manager with exceptional communication and team-building skills, seeking to leverage these strengths to enhance customer satisfaction and boost sales figures in a dynamic retail environment.”

Always remember to keep this section concise, clear, and tailored to the specific role you’re applying for, making it easy for recruiters to recognize your value.

Interpersonal skills CV

Display interpersonal skills in other sections

Beyond the ‘Skills’, ‘Work Experience’, and ‘Profile’ sections, there are several other sections in your CV where you can highlight your interpersonal skills:

  • Education: Here, you can mention group projects, presentations, or leadership roles that you undertook during your academic journey, showcasing your teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.
  • Volunteer experience: This section allows you to highlight any unpaid work that required the use of interpersonal skills. For instance, if you’ve done volunteer work for a charity event, you can discuss how your communication and teamwork skills contributed to its success.
  • Hobbies and Interests: In this section, you can highlight hobbies that demonstrate your interpersonal skills. For example, being a part of a sports team could highlight your teamwork skills, while being a part of a book club could demonstrate your communication and critical thinking skills.
  • References: While you won’t directly be showcasing your interpersonal skills here, references from previous employers or educators can serve to corroborate your claims about your interpersonal skills.
  • Courses and Certifications: Any courses or certifications that you’ve completed regarding interpersonal skills, such as conflict resolution or leadership training, can be highlighted here.
  • Accomplishments/Awards: Any accolades or accomplishments you’ve received due to the effective use of your interpersonal skills can be mentioned in this section.

By effectively leveraging these sections, you can create a well-rounded view of your interpersonal skillset.

Interpersonal skills: where to add them in your cover letter?

Your cover letter provides an excellent platform to showcase your interpersonal skills in a direct and personal manner. While your CV lists your skills and illustrates them through your experiences, your cover letter allows you to tell a cohesive story about how your interpersonal abilities have been used effectively in your career. Here’s how you can highlight these skills:

  • Introduction: Briefly hint at your key interpersonal skills in the opening paragraph. This sets the tone and immediately captures the recruiter’s attention. For example, “As a detail-oriented project manager with a knack for fostering collaborative environments, I’m excited about the opportunity to….”
  • Body: In the body of your cover letter, dive deeper into 1-2 key interpersonal skills, using specific anecdotes or experiences to illustrate how you’ve utilized these skills in the past. Be sure to tie these examples directly to the requirements of the job you’re applying for.
  • Closing: Reiterate your key interpersonal skills as you wrap up your cover letter and explain why these make you an excellent fit for the role. For example, “I am confident that my strong intrapersonal skills and ability to work in a team will enable me to excel in this role….”

Remember, the key to effectively highlighting your interpersonal skills in your cover letter is to be specific, use examples, and always tie your skills back to the requirements of the job.

What is interpersonal skills - in a cover letter

How to showcase interpersonal skills in a job interview?

During a job interview, showcasing your interpersonal skills can make all the difference. To do so, consider the following tips:

  • Provide specific examples: When asked about your interpersonal skills, provide specific examples from your previous roles. Instead of just saying you’re a team player, discuss a time when your ability to work as part of a team led to a successful project outcome.
  • Non-verbal communication: A firm handshake, eye contact, and positive body language are powerful non-verbal indicators of strong interpersonal skills. They exude confidence and show you’re genuinely interested in the conversation.
  • Active listening: Show that you’re an active listener by summarizing the interviewer’s question before providing your answer. This demonstrates that you understand their points and are able to respond effectively.
  • Conflict resolution: If asked about a time when you dealt with a challenging situation, focus on how you used your interpersonal skills for conflict resolution. This highlights your problem-solving abilities and shows your capacity to work under pressure.
  • Ask Insightful questions: Towards the end of the interview, when you’re given a chance to ask questions, make them insightful. This shows your interest in the role and organization and demonstrates your communication skills.

Remember that authenticity is key. Showcase your skills genuinely during the job interview and you’ll certainly leave a lasting impression.

Interpersonal skills: key takeaways

Most jobs today require interpersonal skills. That’s why their importance should span across your CV, cover letter, and job interview, where you get to highlight these skills to potential employers. Here are the key takeaways:

  • There are different types of interpersonal skills. They encompass a wide variety of abilities and traits that facilitate effective communication and collaboration. They include but are not limited to teamwork abilities, conflict resolution skills, active listening, empathy, and effective communication.
  • Interpersonal skills can be highlighted in various sections of your CV such as ‘Education’, ‘Volunteer Experience’, ‘Hobbies and Interests’, ‘References’, ‘Courses and Certifications’, and ‘Accomplishments/Awards’.
  • In your cover letter, introduce your interpersonal skills in the opening paragraph, provide detailed examples in the body, and reiterate their importance in the closing.
  • During an interview, provide specific examples of other interpersonal skills, use non-verbal communication, such as making eye contact, to demonstrate them, practice active listening, display your conflict resolution skills, and ask insightful questions to exhibit your communication skills.
  • Authenticity is crucial when showcasing your interpersonal skills. Be genuine and specific in your examples for maximum impact.
Benoit Jacquelin
An article by

Benoit Jacquelin

Boost your career with effective interpersonal skills

Excellent interpersonal skills are not just important, they are essential for success in today’s professional landscape. They foster effective communication, enhance collaboration, and contribute to a positive work environment. However, showcasing these skills effectively in your CV, cover letter, and job interviews is a skill in itself – but with these tips, you’re well on your way.

Ready to put your best foot forward and highlight your interpersonal skills in your CV? Check out our CV maker and start crafting your perfect CV today!

What is interpersonal skills?

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