Communication Skills on Resume: What Do Recruiters Look For?

Need to demonstrate communication skills to land a job? Copy these examples and follow these practical tips for showing those skills on your resume.

a year ago   •   7 min read

By Resume Worded Editorial Team
Table of contents

"This role requires excellent written and verbal communication skills."

If this line looks familiar, that’s because it’s on nearly every job description. It’s kind of a no-brainer — nearly every job requires some form of communication, so of course employers want to see evidence of those skills on your resume. The trick is, how do you convince a hiring manager you have what it takes based on your resume alone?

How to demonstrate communication skills on your resume

Here are the high-level steps of listing communication skills on your resume (we'll get into the details in the rest of the article).

  1. Remove vague words like “communication skills” from your resume and cover letter.
  2. Review the job description to identify the kinds of communication skills the job is looking for, e.g. presenting, influencing, managing, written communication.
  3. Use strong action verbs that show strong communication, like "Communicated" or "Influenced."
  4. Use strong bullet points in your work experience to show how you've demonstrated communication skills in a professional setting.
  5. Highlight hard skills like languages that show your ability to communicate well.
How to show communication skills through your bullet points
How to show communication skills through your bullet points

Why communication skills are important

Communication is almost like a hidden skill — you use it all the time, but rarely notice it. In some jobs, the need for clear communication is obvious, like if the position involves a lot of writing or public speaking. In others, it’s more subtle, but things like taking direction, working with colleagues or clients, and reporting on the results of a project all involve clear communication.

Communication is a soft skill, which means the do’s and don’ts of listing it on your resume are simple.

  • Don’t: List it in your skills section or write in your cover letter that you have “excellent communication skills.”
  • Do: Include accomplishments that involve communication skills.

Where to include communication skills on your resume

Unlike hard skills, there's no one section where soft skills like communication belong. Instead, you can highlight communication skills across different sections of your resume, including:

  • Work experience
  • Education, projects, and activities
  • Skills section
  • Cover letter

In your professional experience

The work experience section of your resume is the best place to list communication skills. You don’t need to have worked in a communication-heavy role to do this — every job uses communication skills. Using the job description as a starting point, identify what kind of communication skills the position requires and address each one with a bullet point accomplishment.

Demonstrate communication skills on a resume by including relevant bullet point accomplishments.
Demonstrate communication skills on a resume by including relevant bullet point accomplishments.

Once you’ve done that, use the tool below to search for skills for the job you’re applying to. You also have the option of adding in your resume — the tool will quickly scan it and tell you which skills are missing and which you need to add.

Education, projects, and activities

If you don’t have a lot of paid work experience, or you’re struggling to pull out examples of communication skills, that’s okay. Personal or academic projects and extracurricular activities can be used to show off communication skills, especially if you’re a current student or recent graduate.

Use action-focused bullet points for these, too, and include metrics wherever possible.

List your accomplishments in bullet points to highlight communication skills from projects and activities.
List your accomplishments in bullet points to highlight communication skills from projects and activities.

In your skills section

You shouldn’t list communication skills in the skills or additional sections of your resume — with a few exceptions. One of these is language proficiency, which is a hard skill that can be included in a simple skills list.

List hard communication skills like language fluency in the skills or additional section of your resume.
List hard communication skills like language fluency in the skills or additional section of your resume.

In your cover letter

Showing most soft skills on a resume is difficult because there’s no way for hiring managers to evaluate those skills for themselves. Communication is partly an exception to this rule — your resume itself, and in particular your cover letter, is a direct example of your written communication skills. If you’re trying to sell yourself as an excellent communicator, make sure your application materials and any other communications are well-written, succinct, and completely error-free.

Find out how well you score on communication skills

The most important thing to remember when listing communication skills on your resume is show don’t tell. An easy way to check if you’ve actually shown hiring managers your strong communication skills is to upload your resume to the tool below. It’ll tell you if your resume has shown enough communication skills, as well as other soft skills like leadership or problem-solving skills.

Synonyms for communication skills

The first step in highlighting communication skills is to avoid repeating the same word or phrase over and over. Try these action verbs instead:

  • Influenced
  • Directed
  • Negotiated
  • Presented
  • Wrote
  • Edited
  • Authored
  • Advised
  • Translated
  • Publicized
  • Mediated
  • Lectured
  • Interpreted
  • Drafted
  • Corresponded

Types of resume communication skills

Not sure what the recruiter wants to see when they mention communication skills? The best place to start looking for skills is always the job description itself, but here is a list of commonly sought-after communication skills you might want to consider including on your resume:

  • Speaking and listening
  • Presenting
  • Negotiating
  • Teamwork and relationship building
  • Sales and pitching
  • Business writing
  • Social media
  • Visual communication
  • Marketing copy
  • Giving and accepting feedback

If you’re looking to get more specific, check out our list of skills and keywords worth including on your resume, broken down by your industry and job title.

Examples of communication skills

Now that you understand the basics, here are some examples of accomplishments that demonstrate communication skills and look great on a resume. Feel free to use these as a template for your own bullet points, or as a concrete example of what works when listing soft skills like communication on a resume.

Communicating with stakeholders

  • Collaborated with developers and product management team to assess project outcomes and prioritize future all features.

Your job doesn’t need to involve writing or public speaking to require good communication skills. If you work closely with other people in any way, you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively. If you’re applying for a job that involves working within or across teams, include at least one bullet point that highlights something you’ve accomplished as part of a team.

Leading meetings

  • Managed international stakeholders in India, United Kingdom and Hong Kong by hosting daily standups and coordinating weekly status reports.

Being on the same page as the people you work with — whether that’s your boss, coworkers, clients, or stakeholders — is essential. Show your ability to communicate by including an accomplishment that demonstrates your ability to manage personnel, host meetings, or coordinate reports and other correspondence.

Communicating with clients and customers

  • Interacted with approximately 45 customers daily, built a strong customer base through providing personalized product guidance, resolving issues, following up on purchases, and opening new accounts.

If the role you’re applying for is customer-facing in any way, recruiters will be looking for evidence that you can solve problems and manage a wide range of customer interactions.

Communicating with clients in a sales role

  • Maintained and solidified 5+ account relationships with daily communication with buyers.

In a sales-based role, your accomplishments should not only show your ability to communicate well, but examples of how this has positively impacted your company, like increasing sales or building a larger customer base.

Running social media campaigns and branding

  • Directed 10+ social media campaigns for RSP clients in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Social media is an increasingly in-demand skill, but it requires more than just the ability to create a Facebook account. If you’re aiming for a position that involves social media, online marketing, or brand management, include an accomplishment that details how many social media campaigns you’ve run, what platforms you’ve used, and any positive results of those campaigns.

Written communication and presentations

  • Wrote and produced 100+ client prospecting video emails, leading to 50+ leads and landing major accounts.

When hiring managers skim your resume, they aren’t just looking for evidence of your skills, but for some indication of what you can bring to the company. Including hard numbers — like the number of marketing emails you wrote, new leads you generated, or major accounts you landed — is the best way to show the outcome of your communications skills, which is far more important than the skills themselves.

Giving and accepting feedback

  • Counseled 50+ employees on performance, which increased efficiency by 20%.

Being able to give — and take — feedback effectively is a key skill, especially in positions of leadership or management. To help your bullet points make an impact, specify the actions you took, the people you gave feedback to (or received it from), the quantity or frequency of feedback involved, and the improvement in cost savings or efficiency.

Building relationships

  • Established and maintained positive internal and community relations through various means of correspondence including on-site recruitment and telecommunications, ensuring 93% community acceptance.

Relationship building is another soft skill closely related to communication. Creating a positive team atmosphere, maintaining client relationships, and reaching out to community partners are all valuable but hard-to-measure skills. Including metrics, like the one above, elevates your bullet points from subjective to objective.

Mediating, negotiating, and solving problems

  • Supported management with handling and resolving human resources issues, decreasing the employee complaints by 70%.

Whether you're negotiating million-dollar contracts or resolving customer complaints, problem solving and communication skills go hand in hand. Illustrate your skills by explaining what the issue was, how you resolved it, and what benefit your company gained.

Delivering education and training

  • Guided and advised 10+ business partners through annual talent assessments, discussions, and proactively pipelining for future openings.

Being able to train others and pass on your knowledge is an invaluable skill in most businesses. If you've led official (or unofficial) trainings, mentored new staff, or guided clients through a complicated process, be sure to highlight those accomplishments.

Spread the word

Keep reading