Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

How Communication Skills Can Get You the Job


I recently read two blog posts about the importance of communicating effectively in order to advance your career. On their resumes, most people offer that they have “excellent communication skills”—an exaggeration on the part of most people and also a very subjective thing to gauge.

So you think you’re an excellent communicator? Then you should be able to prove it to prospective employers. Here’s how.

Would your colleagues say you communicate well?
In Jodi Glickman’s post on being generous at work, she talks about saving people time by being clear in your emails so colleagues understand quickly what you are trying to say and how it impacts them. She also discusses the importance of sharing information so your team has the best chance of success. If you are clear, concise and collaborative, those with whom you work will rate you highly as a communicator. Being a good communicator isn’t quantifiable, but if you get high marks from your boss and others you will be able to convey your strengths through the stories you tell in an interview. And bosses and colleagues will be likely to provide recommendations that mention your skills as a communicator.

How do you fare in a crisis?
It’s all about the communication: how, when, how much and with whom. Dorie Clark, a strategy consultant, says the first thing you have to do is admit the mistake—otherwise nobody can focus on the business at hand. You know that pesky question about your weaknesses? Here is a place where you might tell a story of how you managed a crisis—even of your own making. Everyone makes mistakes, but it requires leadership and keen management skills to deal with the issue as quickly and honestly as possible, and then move on.

These are just two concrete ways of succeeding at work through good communication, but there are many others you may think of to help in your skill storytelling.