Moving to Canada and finding employment in a new job market is likely to make you nervous or tense. The recent pandemic may have added an extra layer of stress if you’ve had to delay your move due to travel restrictions. While it is normal to feel some anxiety, try not to panic and stress too much. Instead, take the time to reflect and self-improve while you wait to finalize your travel plans.
One of the areas you can focus on is developing key skills for the job market in Canada. Interpersonal skills are integral to your job search journey and are sought after by many employers. In this article, we will share more information on interpersonal skills that will help you better prepare for job applications, interviews, and the workplace.
What are interpersonal skills?
Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, are often used interchangeably with soft skills. They are a collection of essential skills that enables you to build meaningful relationships, not only in the workplace but also in life. Interpersonal skills include all the traits and attributes that allow you to work well with other individuals and communicate effectively with them. In a professional environment, these individuals could be recruiters, hiring managers, reporting managers/supervisors, coworkers, direct reports, clients/customers, or anyone else you interact with.
Interpersonal skills consist of communication, positivity, motivation, patience, teamwork, leadership, and many more (soft) attributes. In an era of remote work, recruitment trends highlight hiring managers emphasizing soft skills such as empathy, resilience, adaptability, and problem-solving for employees across all positions.
Most hiring managers don’t just consider the technical or job-specific skills; they also look at “culture fit.” Culture fit is generally characterized by the alignment of values, beliefs, and behaviours between the employee and employer, thus making it closely related to interpersonal skills.
How interpersonal skills (or soft skills) can help you in your job search journey as a newcomer
In the Canadian job market, interpersonal skills are greatly valued by employers because it demonstrates that you can be adaptable as job requirements evolve or change. It also shows your ability to work well with culturally-diverse co-workers and customers. No matter which industry you work in, soft skills are very valuable to your career. They can help you –
Get the position you want when applying to jobs
When creating your Canadian-style resume and cover letter, make it a point to include your interpersonal skills and then back them up with examples during the job interview. Follow these three steps before writing your resume:
- Start by reviewing the job description.
- Make a list of all the characteristics required for the position.
- Then match your skills (both technical and soft skills) along with your experience to each requirement.
Interpersonal skills can be added to the ‘summary’ section at the top of your resume, in the ‘skills’ section, or as individual bullet points for specific experiences. Here’s an example of including your collaboration and teamwork skills as a bullet point:
“Collaborated with senior executives and the sales and marketing teams to develop a new marketing collateral database that helped reduce proposal creation time by 60%.”
You can also add relevant interpersonal skills to your cover letter. While describing these skills in the cover letter, remember to focus on how these skills helped you achieve specific business goals and objectives. And outline the skills in order of priority – start with your strongest and most relevant skill.
Communicate in a direct, clear, honest and respectful way during an interview
The hiring process at Canadian companies usually involves a series of phone and in-person interviews. As a job-seeker, you are expected to successfully showcase your skills throughout the process to land a job offer.
Interpersonal skills are essential during your interview process. The recruiter and/or hiring manager will likely be observing things such as punctuality, attitude, how well you listen, whether you maintain eye contact, and how courteous and respectful you are. Also, be prepared to answer any questions pertaining to the interpersonal skills outlined on your resume or in your cover letter.
- Whether it’s on the phone or in-person, remember to let your personality shine during the interview. You can do this by weaving in examples of situations where you used your soft skills.
- If you’re switching industries or careers, highlight how your interpersonal skills are transferable.
- Don’t be nervous, practice active listening, and communicate clearly and confidently. Use every interview as an opportunity to practise, learn, and improvise.
Adapt to the workplace culture and fit-in, once you start your job
Interpersonal skills can help you blend in, adapt faster, and fit-into your new workplace. This, in turn, can help you get ahead in your career and take on senior positions. Communication skills are also very important on the job – being able to communicate assertively without being aggressive is highly valued.
Tip: When you start your new job, set up coffee chats with your co-workers to break the ice and get to know them better.
Empathy is another important quality that’s crucial, especially as we navigate the remote working setup. When interacting with a co-worker, use their verbal and non-verbal cues to identify how they’re feeling. At meetings or during social events at work, show appreciation and be genuine in your interactions with colleagues. Get comfortable with small talk, inquire about the other person’s interests, and be a good listener. Lastly, remember that the office isn’t a place to be overly emotional. If you’re experiencing extreme emotions, take a deep breath, calm down, and continue in a patient manner.
Whether you’re interviewing with a company or working in an office or from home, you will undoubtedly have to interact with various stakeholders. Interpersonal skills are a valuable asset that will position you as an impactful team member and lead you on an upward trajectory of professional success. So, be sure to refine and improve them as you prepare for the next chapter of your life in Canada.
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