What are interpersonal skills?

Use your ability to create connections to give your career a boost… 

Everyone has interpersonal skills. They’re the skills you’ve developed over time that help you to communicate clearly and build relationships with people around you. They can also be the key to making you a stand out candidate for a job. 

If you want to know more about interpersonal skills and how these can help you find your perfect job, here’s everything you need to know. 


What are interpersonal skills?

Interpersonal skills are traits that determine how we communicate and interact with others. They are generally learned and developed from interactions we have at school, college or work or whilst carrying out hobbies or volunteering work.  

What are soft skills?


Why are interpersonal skills important?

Demonstrating your interpersonal skills to an employer during an interview is important as these can help you to make a good first impression, and they can demonstrate your suitability for the job – even if you don’t have the experience the employer is asking for. For example, if you’re looking to change careers or are returning to work following a career break

Every job involves some degree of interaction with others, whether that’s customers, stakeholders or colleagues. So for employers it’s important they hire people who will be a good representative for the company, who will perform their job efficiently and who can get along with their colleagues. 

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What are good examples of interpersonal skills?

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are some examples of interpersonal skills that are highly valued by employers: 



Good communication is the one of the skills that employers value most. They’ll generally be looking for people who can actively listen and communicate information with clarity and reasoning, and understand how to tailor their language to suit the people they’re speaking to. Good communication skills also form the basis for other skills as well, such as teamwork and empathy. 



Empathy is an important skill to have in the workplace as it shows that you have the ability to understand your coworkers’ feelings, and that you can support them with compassion and sensitivity. For people in leadership positions, empathy is a key skill as it often helps to improve team bonding and team productivity. 


Team work

Even for jobs that mainly involve working independently, it’s important to show employers that you can collaborate with others. Working as part of a team involves listening to the needs of others, expressing your own goals and resolving any conflicts. A team that works well together is capable of fostering new ideas and working efficiently. 



Some jobs can’t be done without negotiation skills, such as being a salesperson or estate agent. But even in other jobs, having the ability to negotiate is a useful skill to possess. To be an effective negotiator it’s vital you’re a good listener, communicator and know when to compromise, so a solution can be met that works for all parties involved. 



In any work environment there will be people who you don’t connect with or whose ideas you don’t agree with. However, it’s always important that you show people respect, despite any differences you may have. Colleagues that are respectful of each other communicate better, have fewer conflicts and are happier at work. 


How to improve your interpersonal skills

Whether you’re looking for your first job or are wanting to step up on the career ladder, 

brushing up on existing interpersonal skills or developing new ones could help you stand out from the crowd. 

Here are three ways to improve your interpersonal skills: 


Have a positive attitude 

A positive attitude lifts your mood and alters the way you think and how you speak. To foster a positive outlook, use positive words and phrases, celebrate your small successes and look for solutions instead of focusing on problems. 


Practice active listening 

Active listening involves giving your full attention to what is being said so you fully understand the message and respond with the right amount of thought and care. To practice active listening, when someone is speaking to you, stop what you’re doing entirely, turn to face them and don’t think of your reply until they’ve stopped speaking. 


Take a course

The great thing about interpersonal skills is that they can be learned and developed. If you feel your interpersonal skills are holding you back from getting a job, or if you want to focus on improving a specific skill like communication or problem solving, we have a course that covers it. 

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Jobs for people with good interpersonal skills 

Looking to put your communication skills and your ability to interact and engage with others to good use? Here are just a few great jobs for people with good interpersonal skills: 


How to include interpersonal skills in your CV

You want your interpersonal skills to stand out on your CV so make them noticeable by listing them in places that employers expect to see them, like under the ‘Skills’ or the ‘Experience’ section. 

Also, don’t be vague about your skills as recruiters on average look at your CV for only seven seconds. The more direct you are, the better your chances are of being selected for an interview. For example, instead of stating, ‘I increased sales’, something along the lines of ‘my motivational skills helped my team win a large client that was worth £150,000’ will make your statements much more tangible – and help really back up what you’re saying. 

It’s important to be truthful on your CV, so stick to interpersonal skills that you’re confident can be confirmed by your references or that you know you can demonstrate. If you’re not sure what interpersonal skills to list, refer back to the job description and choose the ones that you know you can back up with examples. 

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