Regardless of your industry, your job will likely involve some communication, whether it’s delivering presentations to clients, writing emails and memos, or navigating interpersonal dynamics with colleagues. The universal need for the ability to communicate effectively in various ways means demonstrating communication skills is an essential part of creating a solid resume.

This article explores the top communication skills and how to include them on your resume. It also provides examples of fast-growing jobs that rely heavily on strong written and verbal communication skills.

Why Communication Skills Are Important on a Resume

As long as a job requires interaction with at least one other person, communication skills are necessary. Interaction can include writing emails, answering phones, participating in in-person and virtual meetings, delivering presentations, writing reports and manuals, and much more. While not every job will require all of these skills all the time, having them in your toolkit will be beneficial when the need arises.

Regardless of the hard skills a role requires, employers often seek candidates with strong communication abilities because clear communication lays the foundation for many other functions, including collaboration, decision-making, and problem-solving. Effective communication can cut down on confusion, conflict, and inconsistency, which can all undermine productivity.

A communication aptitude can also help individuals advance into leadership and management positions. These roles rely heavily on verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills to share ideas, delegate responsibilities, manage conflict, and make decisions.

Individuals who are applying for customer-facing jobs, such as receptionists, sales associates, or customer service assistants, must be proficient in communication, as these jobs focus on interacting with and meeting the needs of various groups.

How to Include Communication Skills on a Resume

The first step for adding communication skills to your resume is reviewing the job posting to identify any specific communication skills required. A job posting may have a general call, such as “excellent written and verbal communication skills,” or may seek out particular skills like public speaking, collaboration, or proficiency with virtual meeting technology. Reading the job description carefully can help you pinpoint what skills you need to highlight in your resume to make it past the initial screening and demonstrate your qualifications for the role.

Another helpful tip is to create a list of all your communication skills, with at least one tangible example for each that demonstrates that skill. If you cannot come up with a specific example that shows how you used a communication skill, reflect on whether it’s something you can include on your resume. Remember, employers don’t just want to know that you have a skill; they want to know how you utilized it in a meaningful, concrete way.

When it comes to listing communication skills on your resume, you have a variety of options. One way is to include a “Key Skills” section, listing your strongest and most relevant abilities, including those specific to communications. Depending on the type of resume format, this section can come at the beginning or the end of your resume. Either way, it’s a helpful method for giving hiring managers a snapshot of your most relevant skills.

You can also include information and examples of your communication skills in the descriptions of your current or past jobs. For example, if you work in project management, include details about teams you’ve led or presentations you’ve given to demonstrate your collaboration abilities,edback, and public speaking.

Your education and volunteer sections can also provide opportunities for demonstrating communication skills. If you have coursework or certifications that focus on communications, list them. You can also include examples of using communication skills in your volunteer activities.

Top Communication Skills for Resumes

There are multiple categories of communication skills, including verbal, written, interpersonal, and digital. We chose three of the most sought-after skills for each category.

1. Verbal communication skills

Public speaking and presenting

Anxiety about public speaking is extremely common, which means those who can confidently address groups of people are in high demand. Beyond feeling comfortable talking in front of groups of people, having strong public speaking and presenting skills means you can connect with your audience while delivering information in an engaging, straightforward manner.

Example: As treasurer of the student government, regularly delivered fiscal reports using PowerPoint and Keynote and answered questions about budget and finances.

Active listening

Active listening is an essential communication skill that elevates hearing what someone else is saying to actually understanding their words and intentions. The ‘active’ element comes from asking questions to clarify what is being said, using nonverbal cues to demonstrate your engagement, and paraphrasing information to demonstrate understanding.

Example: Wrote and distributed meeting minutes from weekly executive staff meetings to all employees.

Articulation and clarity

Articulation and clarity are measures of how well one can express their ideas and emotions to others. Whether speaking to one person or one hundred, you must be able to clearly express your thoughts or instructions so that abstract ideas can be translated into tangible actions and goals. A lack of clarity can often lead to confusion and conflict, which is why this skill is essential.

Example: Led training workshops to familiarize office staff with the new electronic filing system and answered questions regarding how to use the new system.

2. Writing skills

Email and professional correspondence

Successful employees can express their ideas and needs in a variety of written formats, including emails, memos, reports, manuals, letters, and more, while using concise, clear, and professional language that considers the intended audience. If you have experience with a specific type of writing, like legal or technical writing, be sure to include that, especially if it’s relevant to the job you’re seeking.

Example: Composed series of four emails to incoming freshmen with essential information about course registration, orientation, and faculty contact information, with a 95% open rate.

Spelling and grammar

It is a huge benefit to be your own editor and ensure that any written correspondence you send is free of spelling and grammatical errors. This demonstrates not only your proficiency with language but also that you are detail-oriented and hold yourself and your work to a high standard of professionalism.

Example: Proofread and copy-edited quarterly reports distributed to shareholders and the executive board.

Simplifying complex concepts for non-experts

Communicating ideas in writing is as essential as doing so verbally. Writers must know how to balance providing enough details so the reader can understand the information without being overwhelmed or confused. This skill can be valuable for employees who have to write instructions or take notes at meetings that will be shared with others, including those who aren’t present.

Example: Created training manual for student workers, including how to use office equipment such as printer, copier, and fax machine.

3. Interpersonal communication skills

Conflict management and resolution

The possibility of conflict exists any time humans interact, including in the workplace. While clear communication can help prevent a lot of conflict before it begins, situations will arise that are unavoidable. In those cases, individuals who can handle and resolve conflict efficiently and effectively are essential. Many keys to conflict resolution are other communication skills, including articulation and clarity, active listening, and collaboration.

Example: Addressed complaints from dissatisfied customers and rectified the situation by offering a coupon for future service.

Teamwork and collaboration

Being an effective part of a team means listening to others, delegating and sharing responsibilities, being open to new ideas, and making decisions based on what’s best for the end goal, not a single individual. Even if the job doesn’t require group work, as long as you work alongside others, you’re part of a team, making these skills indispensable.

Example: Worked with a content development team to generate and select ideas, create surveys, analyze results, and publish reports on findings, resulting in a 41% increase in site traffic.

Giving and receiving feedback

Whether you’re having a performance evaluation with your supervisor or debriefing on how a completed project went, giving and receiving feedback is a critical part of being in the professional world. Accepting feedback means not taking observations personally and being willing to grow. Providing valuable feedback includes being specific and focusing on objective elements, not subjective.

Example: Conducted annual performance evaluations and developed performance improvement plans for ten junior staff members. 

4. Digital communication skills

Virtual meeting proficiency

From understanding basic virtual meeting etiquette, including how to position your camera and microphone, to familiarity with various video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, the ability to host and participate in online meetings is essential, particularly for remote or hybrid jobs. List any software you’re familiar with and any special skills related to virtual meetings, like presenting virtually.

Example: Host and record weekly Zoom meetings for 15 staff members.

Remote teamwork

While being a good team player involves some of the same skills regardless of whether the team is in person or online, some behaviors are specific to working remotely, including being familiar with messaging apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Chanty, and Discord. It also means being responsive and willing to communicate with team members via phone, email, and video chat when needed.

Example: Worked with six faculty members and two administrative assistants to transition ten courses from in-person to online at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Social media and professional branding

Even if the role you’re seeking isn’t directly related to social media, demonstrating an understanding of how social media and professional branding work can be beneficial. Many small businesses may need a dedicated staff for running social media accounts, so being able to take on these responsibilities can help increase your value to potential employers.

Example: Oversaw Instagram account for a popular local sandwich shop, increasing engagement by 34% over two months.

Career Outlook for Communication Jobs

The following career paths may be a good fit for individuals with an aptitude for written and verbal communication.

Public relations specialists

Job Description: Create and maintain a favorable public image for the individuals, groups, or organizations they represent, including writing media releases and developing social media programs to shape public perception and raise awareness of client’s work.

Median annual salary* $66,750
Projected employment growth (through 2032)* 6%
New jobs projected* 25,800 per year
Minimum required education level Bachelor’s degree
Related degrees Communications, Journalism, Writing

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Handbook

Writers and authors

Job Description: Develop content for various media types, including advertisements, blogs, websites, books, magazines, and movie, play, and television scripts.

Median annual salary* $73,690
Projected employment growth (through 2032)* 4%
New jobs projected* 15,500 per year
Minimum required education level Bachelor’s degree
Related degrees English, Writing, Journalism, Communications

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Handbook

Meeting, convention, or event planners

Job Description: Organize various social and professional events and handle the logistical, financial, and staffing needs for the events they oversee.

Median annual salary* $56,920
Projected employment growth (through 2032)* 8%
New jobs projected* 15,200 per year
Minimum required education level Bachelor’s degree
Related degrees Hospitality Management, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Communications

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Handbook

Producers and directors

Job Descriptions: Make business and creative decisions about film, television, stage, and other productions, and lead teams of collaborators who help execute their vision for the production.

Median annual salary* $82,510
Projected employment growth (through 2032)* 7%
New jobs projected* 16,000 per year
Minimum required education level Bachelor’s degree
Related degrees Film, Communications

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Handbook