Key Employability Skill: Written/Interpersonal Communication
Employability is defined, in line with the University Employability Policy and Strategy, as “the capability to secure and maintain satisfactory work”, and is all about what skills you have and how you can demonstrate to employers that you have these skills.
Much of the ordinary, everyday activity that students undertake can make a contribution to their employability development (eg working in groups, planning projects, undertaking part time work, giving presentations).
Written and Interpersonal Communication
This is a key employability skill!
You will find that employers now expect candidates to offer more than a good academic record and degree, they also look for work experience (relevant if possible) and evidence of “employability skills” such as communication skills, teamwork and planning/organisational skills. Employers also look for “rounded individuals” – they want evidence that you have been involved in activities that develop your skills in the world outside University, for example involvement in clubs, societies or voluntary work.
- The Importance of Good Communication
- Communication in the Work Place
- What is Communication
- Where to Start
- How Careers and Employability Can Help!
The Importance of Good Communication
Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills are vital to success in life. Being able to show that you can write concisely and with clarity is a key skill in the initial stage of applying for graduate positions. Likewise being able to converse in a confident and effective manner with others from a wide range of backgrounds is a key requirement in life as well as work and is vital in the initial application process.
Being able to demonstrate to employers good written and interpersonal skills at the initial stage of recruitment would demonstrate convincingly to an employer that you have an essential basic life-skill in which to succeed in a graduate position.
Communication in the Work Place
‘As communication is so central to the world of work, it follows that where communication is poor or inadequate, the quality of that work – be it a product or service – will suffer as a result.
Ensuring ‘good’ and ‘effective’ communication is a fundamental component of providing high quality services and products. Good, effective communication at work therefore is not a luxury or an optional extra but essential for success.’
Information taken from: The Open University
Careers & Employability can help give you some ideas to improve your written and interpersonal skills and therefore your employability and your CV!
Interpersonal communication is a complex mix of both verbal and non-verbal communication. It requires you to talk to and deal with people in an efficient and appropriate manner: For example: Verbal skills include: listening, explaining, understanding, negotiating, persuading. Non-verbal can include body language, facial expression, reactions.
Written communication is a record of ideas and facts and can take various forms from creative, formal to factual for example writing letters, reports presentations, essays, poems, books, novels. Things to be aware of are the audience you are aiming for, language used, clarity, presentation/layout and overall construction. Remember that any written communication provides a permanent record of your skill and ability to communicate effectively, for example covering letters, CVs, application forms which are sent to potential employers.
Building up evidence of skills
If you are struggling to think of examples that illustrate your communication skills, think about your time spent at university.
Building up examples of your written and interpersonal skills based on your course work is a useful starting point. For example,
- Written preparation for presentations
- Taking an active part in tutorials or seminars
- Delivering presentations
Think about how your written work has developed whilst at university and the different styles you might use in course work. If you are struggling in this area visit the Academic Learning Skills web page where you will find help through workshops, online materials or through one to one support.
Join a student club!
Why not join a student club or society or get involved with the Students' Union. All of these activities will help develop your personal skills. For example, if you have been involved in debating issues or a member of a role playing group, this can show evidence of your communication skills or further if you have been involved in a student magazine/publication it will show your ability with the written word. As well as having the potential to meet new people you will greatly enhance your CV.
Part-time work will help you to increase your employability skills and will impress employers as well as giving you extra money. Work such as bar work, or working in a shop, can show that you have customer care experience, where you will have developed your interpersonal skills through conversing and liaising with others. Pick up a Careers & Employability handout on Transferable Skills for Employability to give you other ideas. This is also available online at Transferable Skills Handout
Visit our jobs websiteor details of volunteering opportunities in the local community. For example, if you are interested in working with others, there are many local groups that require support for example working with children or helping older people. Not only can you help local groups, but this will give you a chance to demonstrate that you can effectively communicate with others and give you a bank of evidence to draw upon when filling in application forms.
Start Preparing Your CV
If you are applying for a part-time job whilst studying at the University, many employers will ask you to send in your CV (resumé). Your CV is your marketing tool. It summarises your qualifications, experience and skills. If you start preparing your CV now, it can also act as a template that you can develop as you progress through University. This will save you a lot of time in the future if you have all your information collected in one place.
As you develop more evidence of your communication skills, you can add it to your CV and develop a strong bank of evidence that will help when you come to apply for graduate jobs.
Careers and Employability has a range of resources to help you to write a CV and/or covering letter. These can be picked up in person from Careers and Employability or found online.
- Careers Advice
If you feel you need to speak to a Careers Consultant on a one-to-one basis regarding job applications or need advice on your CV, please click here to view & book one of our current appointment options. A Careers Consultant will listen to your ideas, help you identify your strengths, weaknesses and skills and assist you in relating all of these things to the world of work. You can also book an appointment either via theaskUS Desk or ring 0161 295 0023
Appointments are available for current students/graduates of the University of Salford.
View information on different transferable skills below:
University of Bradford Career Development Services - information on key employability skills.
Page Updated: 5th June 2017 (HB)