26 Essential Interpersonal Skills For Job Seekers

By Mike Simpson

If we were to sit down and fantasize about the Mount Rushmore of “skill types that are necessary to get a job” (yes, we are that nerdy), you could bet that interpersonal skills would occupy the George Washington spot… prominent and way out in front of the others.

But why are interpersonal skills so important for job seekers?

Simple.

When you are sitting across from a hiring manager, it may seem like they are admiring your custom tailored suit or the great hair day you are having (hey, when you’ve got it, you’ve got it!), but what they are really doing is trying to identify whether or not you have the skills necessary to get the job done.

But identifying skills that help “get the job done” (despite being a tried-and-true cliche) is not the only focus of the hiring manger. In fact, in many cases skills that help you interact, communicate and succeed with other members of your team are just as, if not more, important.

But we’re not talking about hard skills, like how many words per minute you can type or how many Excel formulae you have memorized (if it’s more than =SUM(B3:B8) you deserve a medal… seriously).

No, we’re talking about skills of the softer variety, of which interpersonal skills make up a large part.

What Are Interpersonal Skills?

In a workplace setting, interpersonal skills are generally related to your ability to interact and communicate with your fellow co-workers. More specifically, they usually focus around more commonly identifiable skills such as communication and emotional intelligence… in other words, relationship building.

Human beings are complicated. And since a workplace is made up of these very complicated beings, it takes a certain set of skills (not you Liam Neeson) to be able to navigate, relate and succeed in that environment.

And that’s not all.

As a general rule, individuals with exemplary interpersonal skills not only interact better with others, but also tend to be more successful in their careers. After all, since collaboration is often such a key indicator of success in accomplishing tasks, it makes sense that someone with skills that lend to this would be such a valuable member of the team.

With that being said, here is our list!

Our 26 Best Interpersonal Skills Examples

So now that you know why interpersonal skills are so crucial, here are the most essential interpersonal skills you need if you want to secure a job from your next interview and go on to be a successful member of a thriving workplace:

  • Collaboration/Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Problem Solving
  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
  • Listening
  • Stress Management
  • Positivity
  • Mediation
  • Communication
  • Feedback Acceptance
  • Negotiation
  • Body Language
  • Time Management
  • Confidence
  • Conflict Management
  • Empathy
  • Critical Thinking
  • Workplace Etiquette
  • Patience
  • Work Ethic
  • Responsibility
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Motivation
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Relationship Management

How And Where to Use These Skills

Now you might be saying, “Ok Mike, I’ve got this fantastic list of skills, but now what the heck do I do with them?”

Great question!

There are three main areas that you should be infusing your interpersonal skills into:

Your Cover Letter

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Try and add some interpersonal skills to your cover letter

As your cover letter is generally your first point of contact with the company you are interviewing with, it is also your first chance to emphasize to said company that you are chocked full of useful interpersonal skills.

This is especially relevant if you have studied the organization’s job description for your role and discovered that they are emphasizing specific skills required for the role.

So what do you do?

Based on the job description, identify what you think are the most relevant skills (just choose one or two… do not go overboard), and casually infuse them into your cover letter.

It will go a long way toward “setting the scene” for when you end up in the interview chair.

Your Resume

The next natural progression is your resume. Continuing the strategy put forward in the cover letter section above, you want to tailor your resume to the specific skills laid out in the company’s job description for your role.

This is as simple as alluding to these skills in your resume objective or resume summary statement, and then echoing the same skills in the more detailed “work history” section, where you can be more role-specific.

Your Job Interview

It’s not enough to just plop yourself down across the desk across from the hiring manager and just start listing these off like you were Bubba Gump listing off delicious shrimp dishes.

Not today Lieutenant Dan!

You need to prove to the hiring manager that you actually possess these desirable skills, and you do that with success stories.

Mike's Tip: A success story is a story from your past (preferably your work experience, but if you are a fresher you can creative... your education, charitable work or athletics) that you use to support your claims in a job interview. In this case, it would be an example from your past that supports that you are blessed with a desired interpersonal skill.

It’s important that you have 3-5 really great success stories planned to support the interpersonal skills you are claiming to have. Otherwise, you run into the possibility that the hiring manager will think that you are just “stuffing” the interview with skills but without having any real substance behind them.

Putting It All Together

So there is our list of our top interpersonal skills you need to add to your repertoire. Heading into a job interview being able to demonstrate these skills is key if you want to get the job!

But remember, it is always best to go into your job interview armed with concrete examples of you demonstrating these skills.

Good luck!

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