The value of good communication

Coast Connect Career Hub Coordinator Maree Thomas

Cc July Facebook post

The COVID-19 lockdown has had a huge impact on our lives and our economy. As a result, many people have found themselves in a position of looking for a new job or considering a change in career. There are some universal skills that employers are always looking for in job candidates and that will generally help in any workplace situation.

In addition to your specific experience and qualifications, these “soft” interpersonal and social skills can help you stand out from the pack – and near the top of the list is the ability to communicate well. These skills determine the style of interaction you have with others as well as how you typically behave within given situations. Employers like to know that you are effectively able to interact and build relationships and networks by sharing information, demonstrating empathy, negotiating or influencing others appropriately.

Think of how often you communicate with people during the day. Emails, meetings, phone calls, social media, written reports – we’re almost always communicating and each channel requires specific skills. So, it stands to reason that communicating clearly and effectively is an important skill to have when you are in the workplace and something that employers value.

Preparing for an interview

If you've landed a job interview, expect to be asked questions about how you communicate, and to have your ability to communicate in the workplace tested and evaluated. As well as your specific answers, interviewers will look for indicators of your communications skills. So, think about how clearly and confidently you can express your answers, take time to listen carefully to the questions and answer directly, and look your interviewer in the eye when you speak to them. Body language is also a communication channel, so think about sitting up straight, being open and not folding your arms across your chest – show that you’re alert, interested and ready for the job.

It’s always worth the time to practice before the interview. Use friends and family or talk to the mirror – it’s all good practice!

Personal communication matters

Just like taking cues from the way you answer questions and your body language, employers will also use social media to find out more about you – so think about what you post on Facebook and Instagram. Employers won’t want to see things like: provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information about use of illicit substances, discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc. It’s never a good idea to bad-mouth a former employer and even the way you post can be of interest to potential employers, so think about your spelling and grammar. You can use social media to your advantage too. It will help if your posts support a professional image, show background information that shows off your experience in relevant situations or describes your personality in a way that’s good fit with company culture.

There’s a lot to think about, but taking the time to communicate well can put you in a good place for the future. And you can always pop into TPP’s Coast Connect Employment and Career Hub at the Greymouth campus for more tips and information about preparing for a job interview or new career.