How many resumes have you read that included the well-worn line, “Excellent verbal and written communication skills?” Too many! One problem with over-used resume clichés is that the reader doesn’t take them seriously. Another problem is that resume clichés are unoriginal; they demonstrate a lack of effort by the candidate.
Is the answer to delete references to your excellent communication skills? No, that is not the answer. In fact, it is very important to show competent communication skills. In 2014, Adecco Staffing’s “State of the Economy and Employment Survey” suggested that 44 percent of employer respondents cited soft skills, such as communication, as the biggest skill gap among candidates in today’s market. What is the best way to convey your communication skills? You must prove it! Here are five ways to prove your communication skills.
1.) Present a well-written resume and cover letter.
The first sample of your communication skills is often your cover letter (email) and resume. Be sure it is strategically-crafted and error-free. Many candidates seek the help of professional resume writers. Even if you feel your resume is perfect, ask a professional writer to review it. Careers Done Write offers a free resume critique.
2.) Include examples of your abilities.
Employers want candidates who have proficiency in job skills and soft skills. Communication skills are used in a wide range of job functions. Take care to include examples of job functions that you have performed in recent years. This may include presentations, training workshops, and pitches to clients. It also includes writing reports, marketing content, articles, blogs, and newsletters.
3.) Tout results of your accomplishments.
Actions speak louder than words. Furthermore, accomplishments with measured results will help your voice to be heard over the competition. Take the time to recall examples of achievements that were driven by your communication skills. Perhaps you created and delivered a new product pitch that led to a $134,000 sale. That is how you prove your communication skills with an accomplishment.
4.) Interview well.
Some say interviewing is an art. Truly, it is a skill that must be learned and practiced. Perform research, so you are aware of potential points of discussion during an upcoming interview. Learn as much as possible about the hiring employer. Create a list of possible questions and rehearse your answers. Beyond that, make a list of critical talking points that you want to mention before you leave the interview. Seek an interview coach to improve your interviewing ability.
5.) Follow up.
Fortunately for you, not all candidates make follow-up contact. This is how you can keep your candidacy for a job alive, demonstrate your continued interest, and avail yourself of one more opportunity to convey your top values for the job. Test the waters at the interview to determine if a follow-up phone call or email would be best. Know when to be reserved. Excessive follow-up can cut your candidacy short.
The Bottom Line
The best indicator of future success is previous accomplishments. It is easy to chock your resume full of platitudes about your excellent communication skills, strong interpersonal abilities, and outstanding sales talent. What will impress a prospective employer are solid examples of your accomplishments on your resume and a personal demonstration of your communication skills through effective interviewing and follow-up interactions.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.