Why communication is key when looking for a job

Communication skills building blocks

Searching for the next step in your career can be a daunting process, but your chances at landing the job of your dreams can be substantially improved by sticking to the principles of good communication. Communication skills are one of the most valuable skills an employee can possess, so rather than simply including that on your resume, show your potential employer a high level of communication by following these tips!

Before you apply

Prior to applying at a company in the first place, you should give your resume a quick overview and make some edits to communicate more about who you are and what your ideal line of work is. One of the best ways to do this is by using a resume objective. While often decried as being out of fashion or taking up valuable space on your resume, an objective can actually be one of the most authentic means of communicating what your purpose in applying is.

Using a job-tailored objective that utilizes keywords from a job listing and a healthy balance of your experience alongside your goals, which showcases both good listening and comprehension skills as well as your own personal interests.

For tips on updating your resume, download our resume checklist.

First impressions

After making some tweaks to your resume, it’s time to apply for a position. There are even more opportunities to exercise good communication here, including the use of a cover letter, where you can express your interest in a position and your relevant experience in your own words, outside of the constraints of a resume format.

On a cover letter, avoid using cliches like a generic salutation, a formulaic “I am good at X” structure, or accidentally including typos. All of these are signs to an employer that you may lack attention to detail, and aren’t capable of communicating your strengths and goals effectively. Instead, use this opportunity to share what you know about your own skills and how they relate to the position you’re applying for, a sign you’re good at absorbing information and communicating it effectively.

During interviews

Congratulations; you’ve made it to the interview stage! This is arguably the most important stage of a job search, and uncoincidentally, one of the best times to showcase your ability to effectively communicate. Here is where you’ll best practice your skills of nonverbal communication, which include aspects such as body language, ability to dress for success, and your social mannerisms at the interview. Showing up confident, well-groomed, and happy to be there shows your own excitement at the opportunity and the fact you’re able to express yourself in more than one capacity.

The added human element of a personal interview also allows you to show a genuine, personal side to your career goals and how they relate to the company you’re applying for. In the pre-interview stages, you best showed communication skills by explaining your professional goals and interests. According to US News, in a face-to-face interview, showing an employer that you are genuinely passionate about a position through your words and presence contribute to an even greater impression of you as a great communicator, within certain boundaries.

Communication skills also extend after an interview is over. One crucial skill to demonstrate to an employer is an ability to communicate outside of a predetermined context. After an interview, promptly answering calls, emails, or any other communication about your position shows employers you can be reached when necessary and that your interpersonal skills hold their water outside of a rehearsed context. There may be more than one interview, so showing employers you’re capable of staying in touch and making appointments will work wonders for your prospects; after all, it’s hard to give a job to someone who doesn’t answer the phone.

Accepting an offer

If you’ve been extended a job offer, then fantastic! You’ve managed to snag the position you wanted all along. But the opportunities to show communication skills are far from over, and stand to improve your position both when you start and in years down the road. When being offered a job, don’t be afraid to ask for the offer in writing, or even negotiate aspects of the job.

 For one, your employer will recognize you aren’t afraid of speaking up about something important, whether it’s to you (such as your salary or benefits) or to your team (such as an issue at work you need addressed.) It also helps you get what you want out of a job; not only can negotiation result in increases to your pay or other benefits, it’s also a good way to determine if a company values your input from the get-go. A company who rejects any negotiation or even rescinds an offer because you ask for time to review an offer and discuss its terms isn’t somewhere you want to work, anyways.

With these communication skills under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to snagging the job of your dreams. Just make sure you express how excited you are once you land it; your new employer will appreciate your sincere communication skills.