Oral & Written Communication

Employers look for oral and written communication skills for jobs that require interactions with others in a clear and efficient manner in order to develop understanding relationships. 

Students talking and reading
An effective oral and written communicator is someone who is able to deliver clear and concise verbal or written messages that facilitate a mutual understanding in both parties.

Identify

Understanding what it means to have effective oral and written communication skills can help an individual assess his or her current abilities and identify areas for improvement. 

  • Use syntax, grammar, and/or vocabulary appropriate to the context and modality
  • Ensure messages are organized, clear, and consistent with any supporting material
  • Tailor the message and delivery method to the topic, audience, purpose, and context
  • Reflect on one’s own messages and adjusting as appropriate
  • Critically analyze others’ messages
  • Engage diverse and competing perspectives and the ways they influence communication

Develop

Over the course of your educational experience at Towson University, students can gain oral and written communication skills through some of the following methods:

FRESHMAN YEAR

SOPHOMORE/JUNIOR YEAR

  • Consider adding a Communication Studies Minor
  • Enroll in elective communication courses
  • Attend networking events and campus career fairs (visit Handshake for a list)
  • Complete internships and other experiential learning opportunities (schedule an appointment with the Career Center)
  • Update resume
  • Continue visiting the Writing Center
  • Continue to develop and practice interviewing and networking skills (Use Big Interview for practice)
  • Conduct informational interviews
  • Attend Cook Library Public Speaking Workshops
  • Explore and obtain on-campus jobs via Handshake which involve public speaking, such as Orientation Leaders with New Student and Family Programs or Public Speaking Interns with the Career Center

SENIOR YEAR

“ Communication — the human connection — is the key to personal and career success. ”

PAUL J. MEYER

Articulate

Consider the following activities and identify specific tasks completed within each experience:

  • Leadership roles
  • Customer service roles
  • Public speaking courses
  • Internships which include drafting emails, writing reports, and/or giving presentations
  • Social media usage
  • Meetings
  • Editing and writing experience 
  • Study abroad
  • Languages

Use the following list of action verbs to describe activities related to oral and written communication skills:

  • Articulate; author; communicate; correspond; deliver; develop; draft; edit; engage; explain; facilitate; inform; interpret; listen; persuade; present; promote; publicize; report; sell; speak; translate; write

Sample resume bullet points

  • Drafted and maintained budget through the Student Government Association
  • Developed and participated in a group presentation detailing the relationship between politics and power among South American nations
  • Communicated with current and potential clients in Spanish to address any problems
  • Presented “Title of Research Presentation” at summer symposium to peers and faculty
  • Edited poetry and photography for inclusion in Poet’s Corner and In Focus

For additional resume assistance, visit the Career Center's Resumes page or schedule an Appointment.

Interview questions

Be prepared to answer common communication interview questions including:

  • Describe a time when you effectively communicated something difficult to a supervisor.
  • Tell me about a time when you did not communicate well. What did you learn from it and how did you correct the situation?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to “sell” an idea to your peers or co-workers. How did you do it, and did they “buy” it?
  • Describe a time when you kept other individuals informed about projects or things that impacted their job or role.
  • Describe the most effective written document, report, or presentation you completed. What made it effective and why are your particularly proud of it?
*Adapted with permission from the Clemson University Center for Career and Professional Development, 2018