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.

3 years ago   •   8 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
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"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 employers want to see evidence of those skills on your resume.

The question is, how do you convince a hiring manager you have what it takes based on your resume alone? How do you show you have great communication skills without simply stating that you’re “great at communication.”

In this article, we’ll discuss how to show your strong communication skills through detailed examples, the best competitive communication skills to highlight on your resume, and what recruiters are really looking for when they ask for good communication.

Why is communication so important

Communication is 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 clients, and conflict resolution are all clear forms of workplace communication. Every position, no matter the field, can benefit from good communication, hence why it’s a must-have for your resume.

How to demonstrate communication skills on your resume

Here are the top tips for listing communication skills on your resume:

  1. Remove vague words like “communication skills”, and instead, list detailed, specific examples of times you’ve communicated well.
  2. Review the job description to identify the kinds of communication skills the job is looking for, such as presenting, influencing, managing, and written communication, and detail your experience with these particular skills.
  3. Use strong action verbs and quantified results to create memorable statements. For example, instead of writing “Responsible for communication,” state that you “orchestrated a communication strategy that increased team efficiency by 30%.”
  4. Use bullet points to make your points easy to scan.
  5. Highlight relevant hard skills like languages that show your ability to communicate well.

Now, let’s dive into what skills recruiters are really looking for when they ask for “good communication” and the best examples of communication skills to include on your resume.

How to show communication skills through your bullet points
How to show communication skills through your bullet points

What recruiters mean by “good communication skills”

When recruiters ask for candidates with good communication skills, they’re not just looking for people who know how to chat around the office. They’re looking for candidates who can effectively communicate with colleagues and clients, discuss performance, resolve conflicts, and have experience communicating in their particular professional setting - be it a team environment, a remote workplace, social media, or delivering presentations.

The best way to determine what type of communication each particular role requires is to look at the job description. Here is a list of commonly sought-after communication skills you’ll likely see listed in a variety of job postings:

  • 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, broken down by your industry and job title.

Where to list communication skills on your resume

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

  • Don’t list communication in your skills section or write that you have “excellent communication skills.” When it comes to communication, you need to show, not tell!
  • Do describe accomplishments that involve good communication throughout your resume, in your work experience, resume summary, and education section.
  • Do mention hard skills related to communication in your skills section, such as language proficiency and digital tools like Slack or Teams.
  • Do use your resume itself as an example of good communication. This means proper grammar, no spelling mistakes, and good punctuation.

How to describe communication on your resume

The first step in highlighting good communication skills is to avoid repeating the same word or phrase over and over. When building your bullet points, try these action verbs instead:

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

Top communication skills to put on your resume - with examples

Here are the top communication skills to list on your resume that are relevant to almost all industries, with examples of how to showcase these skills through quantified bullet points.

Conflict resolution

Whether you're negotiating million-dollar contracts or resolving customer complaints, conflict resolution is a critical skill in any workplace. It involves handling disputes effectively, mediating between parties, and arriving at mutually beneficial solutions. On your resume, illustrate these skills by explaining an issue, how you resolved it, and what benefits your company gained. For example:

  • Supported management with handling and resolving human resources issues, decreasing employee complaints by 70%.
  • Resolve customer disputes and enhanced customer satisfaction ratings by 25%.

Digital tools and social media expertise

In today's digital environment, proficiency in modern communication tools like Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams is essential, while social media expertise is increasingly in demand for marketing and customer-facing roles. Demonstrating your ability to effectively use these tools can set you apart in a competitive job market.

Describe your skills by detailing what particular tools you’re proficient with, and include results-based data, such as social media campaigns you’ve run or the number of teams you've collaborated with on Slack. For example:

  • Efficiently managed team projects and communications across global time zones using Slack and Zoom, leading to a 40% increase in project delivery efficiency.
  • Directed 10+ social media campaigns for RSP clients on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Leading meetings and team collaboration

Discussing leading meetings and team projects highlights your ability to convey ideas, engage with audiences, and facilitate group interaction. These skills reflect not only good communication but also leadership and management skills. To show this, describe an accomplishment demonstrating your ability to manage personnel, host meetings, or coordinate reports and other correspondence. For example:

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

Verbal and written communication skills

Highlight both your verbal and written communication skills by mentioning presentations, reports, emails, or projects. Include hard numbers — like the number of marketing emails you wrote, new leads generated, or major accounts you landed — to show the positive outcome of your involvement. For example:

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

Delivering education and training

Training others is an invaluable skill that showcases leadership, communication, and conflict resolution. If you've led training, mentored new staff, or guided clients through a complicated process, highlight these accomplishments. For example:

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

Communicating with clients

Building relationships with clients is another soft skill closely related to communication. Creating a positive atmosphere, maintaining client relationships, and reaching out to community partners are all valuable skills. Including metrics elevates your bullet points from subjective to objective. For example:

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

How to show communication skills in different sections of your resume

As mentioned above, you can showcase great communication skills throughout your resume, as well as in your cover letter, online profiles, and during any professional correspondence. Here is how to showcase different communication skills in various sections of your resume:

Under professional work 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.

Through education, projects, and activities

If you don’t have a lot of paid work experience, or you’re struggling to find examples of good communication, that’s okay. Personal or academic projects and extracurricular activities can be used to show excellent 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 hard skills section

You shouldn’t list communication in the skills section of your resume, but you can list hard skills that demonstrate strong communication. Language proficiency, is a great skill to inclide here, as well as particualr digital communication tools, such as Slack, Zoom, Trello, or Microsoft Teams.

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 an exception to this rule — Your resume itself, and in particular your cover letter, is a direct example of your written communication skills. Make sure your application, and any other communications, are well-written, succinct, and error-free by always proofreading to catch any errors.

Common mistakes to avoid when showcasing communication skills

Here are some key pitfalls to watch out for when trying to showcase good communication skills on your resume:

  • Overusing generic phrases: Avoid vague language and overused terms like "excellent communication skills" or "strong communicator." These phrases are too general and don't provide a clear picture of your actual abilities.
  • Lacking specific examples: Failing to provide concrete examples where your communication skills made a positive impact is a common mistake. Employers want real-world examples that demonstrate your skills in action.
  • Not tailoring your examples to the job: Not tailoring your communication skills to the specific job you're applying for can be a missed opportunity. Highlight aspects of your communication that align with the job description.
  • Neglecting digital communication skills: In today's digital world, not showcasing your proficiency with modern communication tools like Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams can be a significant oversight.
  • Overstating your abilities: Be honest about your level of proficiency. Overstating your skills can lead to challenges if you're unable to meet the expectations set by your resume.

Top-Tip: Create personal branding through good communication

One crucial aspect often overlooked when showcasing communication skills is the role these skills play in personal branding. Personal branding is about how you present yourself to potential employers and the unique mix of skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate. Think of it as your USP, or unique selling point.

When you describe your communication skills, think about how these skills have helped you achieve results and how they reflect your professional brand. For instance, if your selling point is that you’re an effective team leader, highlight instances where your communication skills facilitated team success or resolved conflicts. Or if your brand is about being innovative, highlight how your communication skills have been pivotal in driving change or adopting new technologies in your previous roles.

Ensuring that this theme, or “personal branding”, is reflected throughout your resume can transform a list of job duties into a compelling narrative, painting a picture of a dynamic and capable professional.

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.

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