How to Showcase Leadership Strengths on a Resume

Aug 26, 2021 9 Min Read
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“A short sentence or phrase that expresses a rule guiding the behavior of a particular person or group.”

A requisite to any job is an individual who knows how to take charge of operations. It may be understated, but these individuals add great value to a company because of their organizational skills. It is a soft skill that can only be honed through experience, which adds to its value. 
 
If you think you possess certain leadership skills, try to describe that to the best of your ability on your resume. 
 
Now, simply listing leadership skills on a resume will not get you any points. Recruiters know that it is a meaningless statement if you don’t have evidence to back it up. 
 
Hence, you can allude to your leadership skills in subtle ways that will give your recruiter a much better impression than seeing that senselessly stated in your resume.

What are Leadership Skills?

Before anything, let us establish the fact that leadership is not a title that you earn. You can only prove it through action and evidence, and so leadership skills shine through in relatively small duties as well! 
 
Leadership skills are paramount when it comes to any organization, and it manifests itself in many ways. You can apply leadership skills to any function that you undertake, as it is not a soft skill that can be learned. It takes a visionary with a lot of practice to be called a leader, and so it is the most appreciated soft skill. 
 
Some of the ways where you can expound your leadership skills are:

Communication

A good leader is also a master at effective communication. It includes but is not limited to pitching ideas, receiving suggestions, training new employees, coordinating several departments, and many more. 
 
You can pop these experiences randomly in your work experience, as they are considered a necessity for any job role. 
 
Instead of explicitly stating that you have communication skills, try to weave them into your work experience by using alternative words like liaise or cooperate that say much more than just communication.

Delegation

An effective leader is adept at doing tasks themselves, but a better example is knowing how to delegate work among their team members to ensure high-quality outcomes and to beat deadlines. 
 
You can express these skills by stating that you led a team of X number of members along with boosting creativity and motivation. Note that you cannot blankly state any of your skills, provide evidence to back it up wherever possible. 
 
Instead of using a weak and common word like lead, you can use spearheaded or launched, which emphasizes your leadership skills and does not downplay it in any way. 

Motivation

Try to hone in on your experiences as much as possible and fish out the very instances where you lead to any improvements in efficiency or productivity.
 
Motivating people is a very subjective approach and your methods do not have to be a specific way to impress the hiring managers. You can list your unique way of harnessing productivity and creativity from your employees by motivating and inspiring them. 
 
Doing so will not only show that you are a good leader, but that you are innovative and willing to step out of the conventional box. 

Collective Goal

An ideal leader cares more about collective goals than focusing solely on projects that they undertake on their own. They do so by motivating the employees, delegating tasks effectively, and making the best use of their abilities.
 
When you talk about instances that show that you envision a collective goal, it paints you as a team player as much as you are a leader, and supporting your employees is equally important. For this reason, list out work experience that relates to you working in a team environment. 
 
Another tip is to know what words to use. The only way you can make your case is by explaining your skills through effective use of language. By using words like pioneer or direct, you can create a much better picture than by using words like work or lead. Also, make sure that you are not being redundant with words and try to switch it up ever so often. 
 
Instead of writing:

  • Led operations team to work on mission-critical projects

 
You can write:

  • Spearheaded team of ~10 and directed mission-critical projects with a total budget of USD 1.2M

 
You can achieve this noticeable difference by using action words and quantifying your achievements. Now let us see how you can manipulate these skills to shine on your resume. 

Read more: 7 Resume Writing Tips for Those Without Prior Job Experience

Resume Summary

As its name suggests, your resume summary will be a brief introduction to your whole resume. So, like any other summary, make sure that you carefully craft all of your best accomplishments in a paragraph format. 
 
Within five lines, draft your summary in a way that the ideas flow into each other and create the image of a go-getter! Since you can’t explicitly state that you have leadership skills, weave them into your summary with power verbs. A few examples are:
 

  • Conducted
  • Spearheaded
  • Trained
  • Initiated
  • Oversee
  • Supervise


Such words create a direct impression of power and authority and make a positive impact on your hiring manager. 
 
Here is where you should start to integrate leadership qualities into your resume. Use meaningful, intentional language and convey that you are an innovative visionary skilled in spotting talents and enhancing them for company growth. 
 
Your resume summary would be the first piece of information on your career trajectory, so make sure that it does not fall short of being perfect. You can start your sentences with power verbs instead of I or We to make it a tad more professional and sophisticated. Follow the cause-effect methodology and avoid making it wordy. 

Key Skills

With a compilation of all of your areas of expertise, the key skills section of your resume is what the hiring manager will turn to do a quick assessment of your calibre. 
 
Surprise surprise, you can exude your leadership skills here as well! 
 
Instead of writing generic skills like communication, team player, or leadership, take a step further to try and innovate them into impressive skills.
 
You can add anything that insinuates taking charge, envisioning, or boosting company growth. A few examples are:

  • Project Management
  • Solution delivery
  • Process improvement
  • Asset Management


Read more: Effective Resumes

Professional Experience

An exhaustive yet concise list of your work experiences, the professional experience section of your resume should contain your whole career but filtered to suit the job role. 
 
If you're wondering which section you should pay the most attention to, it is no doubt your professional experience section. 
 
There are a few tips to keep in mind before drafting your professional experience section.

Start with Power Verbs

You can apply the same approach you would use while drafting a resume summary, that is, instead of beginning your sentences with I or We, you can go straight ahead with the big guns, i.e., power verbs. 
 
Beginning a sentence with words like conducted, spearheaded, analysed creates the impression of authority and power.

Read more: Resume Tips For The Experienced Professional

Use the STAR format

Leadership skills go hand in hand with problem-solving skills. You can enhance your leadership qualities by presenting your work experience in a cause-effect relation. 
 
The acronym stands for:

  • The Situation that you functioned in
  • All the Tasks that you were given
  • The Actions you undertook
  • Any Results that you achieved

 
Maintaining your work experience section in this fashion will prove to your hiring manager that you're not all talk. Now that you're talking facts, they have a solid ground to assess your expertise by. 
 
Additionally, try to quantify your results. You can be vague and say that you improved efficiency or boosted growth. Why should they believe you? 
 
Consider these two examples:

  • I organised top-profile IT projects
  • Organised and directed 10+ mission-critical IT-related projects with a total budget of USD 10.2M

 
As you probably guessed, the second one is better because of its clarity. Hiring managers prefer numbers over vague statements as it is a better teller of your leadership skills.

Additional Experience

Aside from work experience in your professional career, any type of community involvement or volunteer work is a great way to hone your leadership skills. 
 
Explain your experiences by starting with an action verb. Make it a powerful statement with a clear description of the results you achieved. If you do not have leadership experience in community involvement, it might be a good idea to take on a volunteering initiative or head a committee. Not only will it justify your leadership skills, but it will also help you network and build your experience while simultaneously benefitting society. 
 
Do make sure that you maintain a cause-effect relationship and that you quantify your impact with numbers wherever possible. Not only does it give your recruiter a solid figure to understand your calibre but says that you are legitimate as well. 
 
The scale of the projects does not matter but completing a project from start to end with efficient use of resources, volunteers and gaining valuable results. While phrasing them, make sure that you do justice to your experiences. 

Read more: Top 10 Most Common Resume Mistakes That Could Cost You The Job

Key Takeaways

Leadership is not a single-handed title that you can just state on your resume, but a quality that should run as an underlying fact throughout your resume. 
 
Here are a few ways you could do justice to your leadership qualities in your resume:

  • Instead of starting your sentences with I or we, consider using action words like conducted, analysed, directed, and the like.
  • Refrain from adding generic skills like communication or team player, and try to have your leadership qualities shine through by adding skills like
  • Maintain a cause-effect relationship while writing your work experience and provide numbers and results as a backup to your claim of possessing leadership qualities
  • Adding to your professional experience, you can also explain your calibre as a leader by listing your accomplishments in community service or volunteer work.

 
If you use our solid advice, we reckon that you’ll state a case to your recruiter after all. However, in addition to this, do the extra homework of assessing qualities that are unique to you and finding out innovative ways of enhancing your leadership qualities. Show them who’s boss!

Read more: Describe The Best Resumes You Have Received. Why Did These Stand Out?
 

Author: On a quest to help professionals across the world land their dream jobs, Aditya lives and breathes Hiration — a platform to help job-seekers find their way in the treacherous job market — where he’s a Co-Founder and the unofficial CPO (Chief Problem-solving Officer). He likes to code away his days and nights when he’s not busy disrupting the career space.


Be sure to check out this Leadership Nuggets powered by Leaderonomics to enlighten yourself on the Secret to Great Leadership:

Do you desire to accelerate your growth, particularly that can adorn your resume better? Look no further. Necole is a state of the art learning platform that curates personalised learning just for you. To find out more about necole, click here or email info@leaderonomics.com

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