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Social Skills: Definition, How To List On A Resume & How To Improve

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The skills section on your resume is crucial since it offers potential employers a snippet of your capabilities. Unfortunately, choosing what skills to include isn’t easy as you cannot list everything.

So, are you wondering what social skills you should list on your resume? If so, you’re not alone! We’ve done all the hard work for you to create a comprehensive guide.

In this post, we’ll look into what social skills are, how to list them on your resume, and how you can develop them. Continue reading to learn more.

What Are Social Skills?

Social skills, also known as interpersonal or soft skills, are skills we use to communicate with others. In any interaction with another individual, you’ll use social skills somehow.

Social skills can either be verbal or non-verbal. Verbal skills center on spoken language, whereas non-verbal skills rely on facial expressions, eye contact, and body language.

For instance, your verbal social skills, the tone of your voice, words you use, and non-verbal cues like gestures can affect how you communicate.

Why Are These Skills Important?

You’ll require excellent social skills to be impactful in virtually any position. If you’re a good communicator, other people will be able to understand you, benefitting:

  • Formal conversations during company meetings
  • Casual interactions with workers
  • Solving conflicts
  • Replying to client inquiries

So, you’ll want to highlight your social skills on your resume.

Often, hiring managers factor in these capabilities when narrowing down their interviewees. Besides, good social skills can expand your career network down the line.

Types of Social Skills

Social skills apply in various ways and circumstances. Here are the different major types of social skills.

Social-Emotional Skills

Social-emotional skills are vital for establishing relationships. They allow us to feel compassion and control our emotions.

For example, you can identify if somebody is sad, understand your feelings and thoughts, and express yourself appropriately in different scenarios, be it with your colleagues or employer.

Social Coping Skills

Social coping skills are necessary to address expected and unforeseen issues. You’ll need to be a critical thinker and be open to new strategies to deal with work-related challenges. These skills also help us deal with emotional stressors.

Social Interaction Skills

Social interaction skills enable us to connect with others. These skills include verbal and non-verbal cues such as body gestures and facial expressions. They allow you to foster healthy friendships, build self-confidence, and gain social acceptance.

Conflict Resolution Social Skills

Conflict resolution social skills equip people to successfully reach a consensus in case of a conflict.

With these skills, you can face an issue, identify the underlying cause, and devise a satisfactory solution. Examples include active listening, avoiding placing blame, open communication, and staying calm.

Social Communication Skills

Social communication skills include the way we use language to converse with different persons in varying social circumstances. These skills include learning and employing correct facial expressions, body language, and eye contact.

10 Most Common Social Skills

You shouldn’t wonder how many skills to list on your resume. You can list virtually any skill you have, so long as they’re relevant to your position.

Nonetheless, here are the most common social skills to include. Plus, consider the tips highlighted on how to build each skill.

1. Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict resolution skills are procedures that enable the disagreeing parties to reach a mutually satisfactory compromise.

A successful resolution leaves both parties feeling their issues are understood and some or all of their requirements are met.

How To Develop Conflict Resolution Skills?

There are numerous conflict resolution skills managers and workers can apply based on the conflict they’re dealing with.

Nevertheless, the foundation of any conflict resolution measure is open and honest communication.

Start by active listening; don’t let emotions cloud your judgment of the conflict.

Try to identify the root cause of the conflict and settle the matter based on facts. Moreover, always devise a resolution that both parties agree to so that nobody feels short-ended.

2. Respect

Respect is the admiration for a person’s characteristics or qualities and treating others with dignity and appreciation. It fosters a positive working environment where you and your team can pursue common goals.

Therefore, respect should be the norm irrespective of individual feelings in any workplace.

How To Develop Respect?

Each work environment is distinct, and employees and employers can demonstrate respect in various ways.

Nonetheless, some common ways to demonstrate respect include paying attention to what others say, avoiding biases, and practicing courtesy, kindness, politeness, and transparency.

You should make every individual feel part of the team. Don’t be dismissive of anybody’s opinion, regardless of the role they serve.

Treat everybody equally, and you’ll receive the same respect for yourself.

3. Effective Communication Skills

Being a good communicator implies being able to express yourself clearly. Unfortunately, no single practice or skill will improve your communication skills.

Effective communication needs a wide range of skills, including verbal and nonverbal communication cues and attentive listening.

How To Develop Effective Communication Skills?

You’ll need to develop several interdependent skills to foster effective communication habits.

Start by practicing active listening skills, as good communicators must always pay attention to what others say before engaging.

In addition, be mindful of your emotions, body language, and facial expressions, especially when talking to somebody in a professional setting.

You should also request feedback on your communication skills. Another great way to hone your communication skills is through public speaking.

4. Active Listening

Active listening is a social skill that involves more than just listening to another person’s words but trying to understand the meaning behind their words.

It requires heightened empathy, attention, and active participation in the conversation. Essentially, you need to make the other individual feel heard and appreciated.

How To Develop Active Listening Skills?

Developing active listening skills requires focusing on the purpose of the conversation. Pay attention to body gestures like eye contact, give the speaker encouraging verbal cues, and ask questions to show you’re attentive.

Moreover, withhold any judgmental remarks and conclusions. It’s best to avoid constant interruptions by waiting for your turn to comment.

5. Leadership

Leadership skills are the traits and abilities that guide, motivate, and inspire others. These skills benefit anybody in a leadership position, whether at school, work, or society.

Numerous skills make up a good leader, including effective communication, proper work delegation, creativity, critical thinking, and adaptability.

How To Develop Leadership Skills?

If you’d like to become a good leader, you should develop all the necessary leadership skills and always be ready to learn.

One great way to nurture your leadership skills is to find a mentor, preferably somebody who’s respected and experienced as a leader. You should also proactively seek feedback and enhance your soft skills.  

6. Relationship Management

Relationship management is a method for constantly engaging an organization’s customers. This management occurs between a business and its clients or between a business and other businesses.

Rather than viewing the relationship as transactional, relationship management builds a collaborative relationship.

Common skills involved include networking skills, active listening, setting clear goals, negotiation skills, and more.

How To Develop Relationship Management Skills?

One of the best ways to develop relationship management skills is by staying open. Take time to listen to others and respond to feedback with a learning mindset.

While doing so, look to demonstrate compassion by recognizing feelings and showing you care.

As well, work to develop trust and show humility and appreciation. Don’t disregard the little things like saying “thank you,” as they can hugely affect one’s morale.

7. Empathy

Empathy lets us see the world through another person’s eyes and understand their perspective on an issue. We use those insights to support others during difficult circumstances.

The common elements of empathy include leveraging diversity, understanding, and a willingness to develop others.

It contrasts with sympathy, which typically manifests as pity for another person without truly understanding what they’re going through.

Having empathy can be highly valuable in the workplace. It can promote teamwork, boost productivity, and improve overall job performance.

How To Develop Empathy?

Developing empathy can be hard. However, you can do so by giving someone your undivided attention.

You can also connect with somebody deeper by improving your observation skills.

Often, people tell a fraction of their story with verbal communication. Non-verbal cues like hand placement or eyebrow movement can tell more about somebody’s experience.

8. Teamwork

Teamwork skills are essential for collaborating with others. Employers seek candidates with great teamwork abilities for various reasons, including that they display leadership and effective communication.

Irrespective of your role, you should demonstrate these skills to potential employers to show you’re a team player.

How To Develop Teamwork Skills?

The best ways to develop teamwork skills include understanding your responsibilities and the team’s objectives. Everybody should understand the objective and have clear-cut roles for the team to achieve a common goal.

No matter what, try to remain positive. Provide positive feedback, be supportive, and remain enthusiastic during a project, particularly if deadlines are near or the workloads ramp up.

9. Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is a mental and emotional state of mind that concentrates on the good and anticipates beneficial outcomes. It’s about expecting success and happiness rather than dreadful outcomes.

Capitalizing on the law of attraction, this attitude generates a positive feedback mechanism that attracts more positivity into your life.

How To Develop Positive Thinking?

Start developing a positive attitude by acknowledging negative thoughts, but remain compassionate towards yourself. You shouldn’t overly criticize yourself but have a growth mindset.

Another effective way to develop positivity is by surrounding yourself with like-minded people. As well, try practicing mindfulness and replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

10. Customer Service

Customer service is the provision of help to both current and potential customers. Client service agents often respond to customer inquiries and develop material for self-service assistance.

Useful social skills in customer service include persuasiveness, adaptability, empathy, clear communication, patience, and more.

How To Develop Customer Service?

If you’d like to develop your customer service skills, practice active listening, and use positive language when communicating. You should also learn to empathize with your clientele.

It’s equally vital to accept mistakes on your end that have cost your customers.

Don’t let emotions affect your decision-making, especially when dealing with angry clientele. No matter how you feel about the situation, always be solution-focused.

How to List Social Skills on a Resume and Cover Letter

Having the right skills for a position is a plus, but how do you boost your odds of landing an interview?

It’s common knowledge that hiring managers hardly read cover letters and resumes comprehensively.

Most hiring managers claim that potential employers only take seconds to scan your CV before deciding whether to retain or discard your application.

Therefore, you should stick out from the crowd if you’re a job applicant. Write a great resume and cover letter that highlights your varying skill levels.

Tips for Highlighting Social Skills in Writing

Here are the best tips to include social skills in your writing in a way that will wow the hiring manager.

Tip 1: Use Specific Examples

If you’ve got instances where you employed social skills before to accomplish something, highlight them.

These achievements could range from steering your workforce to successful project completion, handling workplace conflicts, and offering constructive criticism.

Besides, be concise and clear when describing these accomplishments. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and highlight these examples in a few short sentences.

Tip 2: Include Keywords From the Job Listing

During job applications, it’s important to customize your resume and cover letter for every position. Adding relevant keywords from the job listing is a great way to tailor your CV.

If the job description includes customer service, communication, or teamwork in some way, incorporate those exact keywords on your resume.

This demonstrates to hiring managers that you possess the necessary social skills they want.

Tip 3: Use Figures and Facts to Back Your Claims

Don’t simply state that you possess the necessary social skills for the job. It’s important to back your claims with figures and facts.

For instance, highlight specific sales targets you’ve attained before if you want a sales position. If it’s a managerial role, include the budgets and size of the workforce you’ve handled.

How To Demonstrate Social Skills in an Interview

You’ve shown your social skills on your resume, but now that you’ve got your foot in the door for an interview, how do you show those abilities in person?

How Do I Say I Have Good Social Skills?

You won’t want to simply state outright that you have social skills. You can “show” instead of “tell” by relating a story that involves navigating a complex social situation in the workplace.

Tips for Highlighting Social Skills

  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer when appropriate during the interview.
  • Practice active listening, and respond thoughtfully when prompted to show you are engaged in the conversation.
  • Using active language, describe scenarios in your work life where you’ve been a functioning part of a social environment.

Interview Questions Related to Social Skills That You Might See

Interviewers ask questions regarding social skills to ascertain if you can lead their company toward its goals.

These questions assess how well you engage with others and deal with customers, among other social skills. Here are three common interview questions to expect.

Tell Us About a Situation Where You Guided Your Team Through a Tricky Issue?

Your interviewer may ask this question to determine how good your leadership skills are. This question can determine how well you handle difficult situations.

Irrespective of whether you’re seeking a leadership post, leadership skills are valuable. Institutions need leaders to inspire others to work toward the company’s goals.

How Do You Deal With Huge Workloads?

Interviewers will ask you this question to assess your time-management and organizational skills. They’ll also ask this to see if you complain about workloads in your previous role.

It’s common for emergencies to arise or for projects to run behind schedule.

Hiring managers want to know that you have the skills necessary to effectively organize, prioritize, and manage your responsibilities and time when such situations arise.

How Do You Work With Somebody You Feel You’re Incompatible With?

This question uncovers how good of a team player you are and your level of professionalism.

Everybody claims to be a team player until they get paired to work with somebody they don’t trust or like.

However, for the successful running of any business, every institution needs proper teamwork and professionalism.

Additional Questions To Be Aware Of

Here are some additional questions your hiring manager might pose. Read on to learn why social skills will benefit your responses.

Tell Me About a Time You Failed

Employers might want to know how you react to setbacks. After all, in your desired position, your initiatives may occasionally fail.

However, if you’re flexible and ready to learn from these mistakes, you can improve in the future.

Your interviewer will expect an honest, specific response that demonstrates you take responsibility for your shortcomings. Use this opportunity to show what that experience taught you and how you developed your skills.

What Is Your Work Style?

Interviewers often question applicants about their work style to determine if they’d blend with the organization’s culture.

Your answer will help your potential employer establish if you have the skills to deliver desired outcomes and excel in the role.

This question demands you recognize your skills, shortcomings, work requirements, and corporate culture.

Even if your work style differs from the employer’s, ensure that your response demonstrates a desire to adapt to new circumstances to produce outcomes for the organization.

Before your interview, review the job description carefully and study the company’s culture. If your style differs from the hirer’s, ensure your response demonstrates a desire to adjust to new circumstances to attain organizational goals.

How Do You Handle Stress?

Unsurprisingly, employers want to guarantee their workers won’t give up under pressure. Every job has some level of stress.

When responding to this question, always highlight examples where you handled pressure and stress.

Explain the skills you used to successfully get out of the situation, including time management and organization.

Tips for Improving Social Skills

Developing social skills could allow you to establish and maintain great ties with new contacts, clients, and colleagues.

Here are five key tips for building your social skills.

Watch and Learn From Others

Watch your colleagues at work. How do they relate to one another? Or handle conversations with clients?

If you notice specific body language like posture, keeping eye contact, head nodding, and hand gestures, consider incorporating them into your conversations.

Start Small

Begin building your social skills in simple ways, like engaging with people you encounter daily.

For instance, if a checkout clerk asks about your day, don’t reply with a one-word answer. Likewise, find ways to talk with colleagues and friends.

Develop some modest goals for yourself. You may want to hone a specific talent, such as leadership. Target building this skill first before proceeding to the next.

Be a Social Person

Don’t let your social anxiety hinder your efforts. You can pretend to be social even if you don’t like socializing.

Choose to talk to new people, initiate conversations, and give compliments, even if you’re anxious about it. With time, you’ll realize you have improved communication, active listening, and other social skills.

Ask Open-Ended Queries

Asking someone open-ended queries could be a great way to start a conversation. The answers to these questions can provide understanding and insight into your colleagues, seniors, family, or friends.

When you ask somebody an open-ended question, they may feel validated in their emotions and thoughts, which can massively affect your ability to build relationships.

Often, coworkers appreciate open-ended inquiries because it demonstrates your interest in their thoughts.

Stay Updated With Current Events

You shouldn’t refrain from talking to others simply because you don’t have something to discuss. Keeping up with new stories, current trends, and events can provide conversation starters with others.

Consider joining industry-specific blogs or local news updates to have content delivered immediately to you.

Nonetheless, avoid sensitive issues such as religion and politics to keep interactions cordial and professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re looking for a job, and want to learn more about social skills, here are some frequently asked questions to be aware of.

What is the most important social skill?

The most important social skill is effective communication. If you have great communication skills, you can easily share your ideas and thoughts.

Good communicators make fantastic leaders because they can describe goals and projects in an easily understandable manner.

How are social skills developed?

As with any other skills, you can acquire social skills by being conscious of feelings and communication styles and applying them efficiently with others.

For instance, you can develop social skills by talking to family and friends, negotiating, managing projects, and more.

Additional Skills To Be Aware Of

There are many other social skills you should include in your resume. Here’s a quick look into some additional skills to be mindful of.

  • Interpersonal Skills: These skills help you efficiently communicate, engage, and collaborate with groups or individuals.
  • Communication Skills: These skills allow you to pass and receive different types of information, including maintaining eye contact, demonstrating a rich vocabulary, and active listening.
  • Adaptability Skills: This refers to the skills that denote your ability to readily adjust to changing situations, be it shifting priorities, clientele, projects, and technology.
  • Executive Functioning Skills: These skills entail the ability to plan, demonstrate self-control, remember, focus attention, and work between different projects despite distractions.
  • People Skills: This refers to successfully interacting, influencing, and communicating with others.

Wrapping Up

Social skills are necessary for any job as they foster great relationships with managers, colleagues, and clients.

Applicants with great social skills are great communicators, receptive to feedback, team-oriented, and highly motivated.

So, if you list social skills on your resume, your chances of securing an interview are higher, despite your functional or technical skills.

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