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Improve your interpersonal skills

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major social and educational impact on students. With virtual learning platforms, social media, and technology, students are spending far more time in front of a screen and less time interacting in-person with others.

Just as physical muscles can atrophy if not used or developed, learning in an on-line mode has not given most students a chance to develop or strengthen their communication skills. Because interpersonal communication skills are vital for personal and professional success, this could negatively impact our student’s futures. At the Internship and Career Center, we routinely see that employers base hiring decisions on their assessment of a candidate's communication skills. Technical competence alone is not enough. Yet, society as a whole is still advancing with minimal face-to-face interactions.

What can you do to ensure your college student is developing interpersonal skills needed for communicating effectively in their personal and professional life? Below are a few career and professional resources that the Internship and Career Center (ICC) recommends for students beginning their college journey.


College is a time for students to reflect on their values. What is important to them now and in the future? What impact do they want to make on society, both personally and professionally? Encourage them to explore what UC Davis campus has to offer and get involved! As students familiarize themselves with campus, make connections with peers and allow themselves to find common ground and interests, they will be surprised at how many friends they will make just by speaking up, asking questions and listening.


Career and professional development can have a profound effect on developing interpersonal skills. For instance, developing a resume allows your student to reflect on experiences, skills and qualifications. By doing this they learn to express themselves by using written communication.

The ICC can help your student get started with resources such as attending a workshop, using Document Review or meeting with a career advisor.


A great way to exercise professional communication skills is by attending an ICC Internship and Career Fair. During these fairs, held 4-6 times each academic year, your student will have the opportunity to learn about industries and network with recruiters. In addition, the ICC offers several career courses where students get structured support for networking and professional communication skills. These experiences are a great way for students to learn how to communicate professionally and build a network that will benefit them throughout their career.

Like strengthening any muscle, developing interpersonal skills takes time and practice (and sometimes a little apprehension and pain). However, by being aware of how they interact with others and seeking out opportunities to develop these communication skills, your student will have the necessary tools to succeed in their personal and professional journey!

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