Communication Skills for your Resume

I have reviewed thousands of job descriptions in my career as a resume writer. Every single one included some sort of reference to wanting their ideal candidate to have excellent communication skills. Every. Single. One. 

No career field is safe. 

Can’t you just write “excellent verbal and written communication skills” somewhere on your resume? 

Once upon a time, that practice was perfectly acceptable. Not anymore. Now, simply listing it is not enough. 

You have to show your prospective employer how you communicate.

The 3 Types of Communication

There are more than 3 types of communication. When it comes to your resume, there are only 3 you need to focus on.

  1. Verbal
  2. Written
  3. Electronic

Verbal Communication

“A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: ‘Duh.’ – Conan O’Brien

What is Verbal Communication?

Verbal communication is the act of using our words and language to share information with one another. In the workplace, the ones who are successful are the ones who convey messages clearly and effectively. 

Why is Verbal Communication Important in the Workplace?

According to Leadership Choice, good communication in the workplace is a powerful benefit because it reduces conflict, improves employee engagement and team productivity, creates better client relationships, and increases profitability. 

How do I Improve my Verbal Communication Skills?

  1. Practice listening. Too many of us are working on our response before the other person finishes speaking. This problem breeds miscommunication. Work on turning off your internal dialogue and actively listening. 
  2. YouTube Chad Littlefield of We and Me. He is an expert on communication and making connections. One of my favorite tips he gives is to record, and then watch yourself communicate verbally and offer feedback. If you’re brazen, put a snippet of your recording on social media and ask your peers for feedback.
  3. Take a course. Coursera is a great place for free education, and they offer plenty of business, and personal, communication courses. Udemy and LinkedIn Learning have multiple paid options.

How do I Put Effective Verbal Communication on my Resume?

In order to present how great you are at verbal communication, you’ll need to show, not tell. If you only tell the hiring manager, you are either listing it as a soft skill, or you are stating it, as in the example below:

Excellent verbal communicator with a track record of giving, and receiving, feedback well.

When you are showing this skill, you are explaining what you have done in your current or previous position by highlighting an outcome of your effective verbal communication. Here is an example from Resume Assassin of how you would show:

Continually raise the caliber, reputation, and quality to differentiate the MBA program by collaborating with the community, department chairs, deans, and faculty to plan, develop, and assess new/existing graduate programs.

Written Communication

“Several national tests have revealed the following startling statistics about why salespeople fail. . . 20% poor verbal and written communication.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

What is Written Communication?

Written communication is the use of words and words alone, to capture your reader’s attention and get your point across clearly. Written documents are anything from a simple e-mail to a legally binding contract.

Why is Written Communication Important in the Workplace?

A clear, concise, well-written document will encourage trust and integrity, lend credibility, define goals, and set expectations. 

How do I Improve my Written Communication Skills?

  1. Practice. A simple outline will help you be more effective. First, think through what your main point is, and do not stray from your topic. Next, extract any fluff, unless it’s necessary to help convey your tone. Lastly, write your message a few times before sending it out.
  2. Pretend you’re the recipient. Read your letter as if you are the one who’ll receive it. How does your tone sound? Do you understand what the message is about? Is it formatted in a captivating way instead of being a wall of text?
  3. Get a second opinion. Give your document to a second set of eyes. Ask them their opinion on the above questions regarding tone, clear message, and engagement. Take their feedback and adjust accordingly.

How do I Put Effective Written Communication on my Resume?

You’ll add this to your resume the same way you exemplified verbal communication, by showing, not telling. 

Here is an example of telling instead of showing:

Adept at written communication with experience in e-mail, text, and transcription of meetings.

Here is an example from Resume Assassin of showing:

Partner with C-level executives on communications and engagement initiatives, projects, and programs. Develop compelling narratives, reports, presentations, and visuals for cross-functional leaders and teams.

Electronic Communication

“It’s too difficult to convey tone in electronic communication

And we can solve this, my friends. All we need is some new fonts.

 ‘Great party Arj. Best party ever.’ 

What a jerk! How do you know he wasn’t being sincere, Arj? 

Because he wrote it in Sarcastica!

 If he had enjoyed himself, he’d have used Good Times Roman.” – Arj Barker

What is Electronic Communication?

Electronic communication is utilizing electronic media to transmit information. There is a blurry line between written and electronic communication. The most noticeable difference between the two is electronic uses text, visuals, and audio together whereas written communication uses only words.

Why is Electronic Communication Important in the Workplace?

Words are not always enough. Graphics, an explanatory video, or some compelling music provides engaging content for the intended audience. Using electronic communication also opens the possibility of creating international business and recruiting culturally dynamic team members.

How do I Improve my Electronic Communication Skills?

  1. Acquire the necessary skills. Learning to create an Excel sheet complemented with graphs, calculations, and dynamic data is something taught. There is an abundance of free resources to learn various software. 
  2. Understand what is professional and acceptable. There are industries where a well-placed meme is appropriate. In others, it can get you fired.
  3. Become comfortable with popular apps. You must know more than basic computer skills now. Many businesses have been forced to embrace electronic communication. This caused a rise in communication apps such as Slack, Discord, Trello, and the like. They’ve also begun to rely heavily on Zoom, Skype, Google Workplace, and others. 

How do I Put Effective Electronic Communication on my Resume?

I hope you know the answer by now. You will show you are comfortable and experienced with electronic communication instead of just listing the words ‘electronic communication.’

Here is an example of listing the skill:

Proficient in Microsoft Office.

Here is an example from Resume Assassin showing proficiency in electronic communication:

Bolstered the internal culture by building internal communications programs: Online Web Campaigns, Halloween Photo Album, Employee Recipes, Wellness Fair Portal, Team Talks, COVID and Flu Updates & Vaccine Events, etc.

Communication is a skill some come by naturally and others learn. Either way, it’s one of the top requirements for any position you are chasing. If you’re struggling with how to include ways in which you communicate effectively on your resume, we can help! 

Resume Assassin is here to help you update your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. 

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