Interpersonal skills more important now than ever before

Nick Solari

I sent out seven internship applications to seven separate companies this past summer. Every one of the applications were via email, and I never once actually talked to someone via phone or in person in five of the seven cases.

When I was finally able to use my voice to talk to someone, however, I was able to make a real difference, securing an internship at NESN for this summer.

It was first a phone call, then a follow up face-to-face interview. I ended up landing an internship with the company in large part because I was able to truly sell myself as both a journalist and as a person.

I was able to orally communicate in a successful manner, a skill that is both unappreciated and unattained by many students. Instead, people choose a text message, an email, a Facebook message or a tweet among many other technological advancements as a way to communicate with others.

Americans ages 18 to 29 send and receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, according to TIME’s Mobility Poll conducted in 2012. And 84 percent of those surveyed said they couldn’t go a single day without their mobile device in hand.

Couple that with the fact that 210 billion emails were sent out daily during the same year, and you can understand why humans aren’t developing significant people skills.

Technology is providing great ways to interact with people and transmit information in a faster, more organized manner, but it doesn’t give you the same experience as an in-person conversation or a phone call would. The skills that you maintain from these such things are important to future employers, and provide another way to stand out as a job applicant.

Joe Catrino, assistant dean of career development at Quinnipiac, says it’s your resume and your skills that get you into the interview, but being able to sell yourself is still very important.

“If you don’t have the interpersonal skills and people skills that companies are looking for then it’s difficult to showcase your brand,” Catrino said. “If you’re not able to perform in an interview or a face-to-face conversation you’re going to miss your opportunity.”

Catrino alluded to a job opportunity last year as an example of his claim. Someone had contacted him with a job for public relations majors, and he circulated the information to his students, as he always does.

He received a call weeks later asking that he take down the job ad, because the company had already received hundreds of applicants. He replied saying that he would, but that he had already had one student apply for the job.

The student, who graduated just last year, interviewed with the company and was chosen for the job.

“She was able to showcase what she can do with her personality, and I think that’s what it’s all about,” Catrino said. “She got the job, even though hundreds of people had applied, because she was able to sell herself.”

The importance of something as simple as being able to hold a conversation with somebody can make a great difference, and can even set you apart from your peers.