Most companies primarily look for candidates with specific qualities when they hire for managerial positions. This specificity ensures they only employ people with the requisite competency to hold such crucial positions. 

Hence, the average hiring manager will give more consideration to applicants who can make a convincing case for the leadership position through skills listed on their CVs and cover letters.

Depicting management and leadership skills on your CV makes you a more attractive prospect. However, that creates another problem — knowing the best leadership skills to include in your CV. 

This blog examines the right leadership skills for your CV. Not just that, but we’ll also explore the best way to highlight each one.

Let’s start off with the finer points.

Why It’s Important to Include Leadership Skills on Your CV

Leadership entails more than being a group head. A leader must be in charge and guide his team to get things done. Additionally, there are many expectations on a leader, all of which require specific skills to satisfy. 

Leadership skills are competencies an individual must possess to execute their responsibilities in a managerial role.

It’s not enough to have leadership skills. The hiring manager must see it in your CV to consider you for an interview. Aside from that, a leadership CV gives you a few more advantages.

  • It makes you stand out and speaks to your credibility as a candidate for the role.
  • It highlights your managerial strengths to the hiring manager and makes it easier for them to decide if you’re the right fit.
  • You’ll show potential employers you have the capabilities to help the organisation achieve its targets.
  • Lastly, it shows your commitment to taking charge and leading people.

Top 8 Most Valuable Leadership Skills to Employers

Yes, you’re a career professional with over four years of experience. So you must have picked up several leadership skills fitting for your CV along the way. And you aren’t wrong to want to include every one of those qualities in your CV.

But, hey! We suggest you slow down a bit. Don’t flood your CV with all your “skills” without considering what can go wrong.

An excellent example of what might go wrong is putting up skills that aren’t useful to the employer. Hiring managers are less likely to care about whatever competencies you have that are irrelevant to the job.

Your leadership CV should only include the skills most relevant to the position and responsibilities you’re applying to. For instance, mentioning in your CV that you sing pretty well won’t help you much when applying to a product design head role.

Nevertheless, some general skills apply to most managerial roles. You can use the skills below to describe your leadership capabilities in your CV accurately.

People Management

As a leader, most people expect you to manage your subordinates and those connected to your team. However, Grace Hopper, an Admiral in the US Navy, said, “You don’t manage people; you manage things. You lead people.”

So, your heaviest responsibility as a leader is to lead people. As an aspiring team lead, you must be proficient in the following and portray them on your CV.

Relationship Building

Your ability to build and sustain relationships is something a hiring manager will likely find intriguing. Hence, portraying this leadership skill on your CV will give you an edge. 

But of course, it starts with having the actual skill. It’s not enough to say you have the competency. It must reflect in your ability to effortlessly meet the right people and foster a relationship with them as necessary.

Admittedly, it can be challenging to build a relationship when you don’t see a need for it. Hence, as a leader, you must first recognise and value professional relationships. That’ll give you the motivation you need to work at building and sustaining interactions actively. 

Fortunately, relationship building is easier when you can genuinely connect with people. Such skills are valuable assets for a leader and are likely to get a hiring manager’s attention on your CV.

Conflict Resolution

It’s hard to find a team of people working together without conflicts popping up occasionally. Team members will regularly fall out with each other or you as a leader, especially when they’re unhappy with your decisions.

Hiring managers look for individuals who are excellent at managing conflicts. So, they expect you as a leader to quell disputes quickly and effectively. 

You’ll do yourself much favour by showing your conflict resolution skills on your CV. Make the reviewers aware of your ability to understand and address employee grievances. 


Even though you’re the leader, you can’t take on every assignment that falls to your department by yourself. You must know your subordinates’ abilities and delegate tasks to their strengths. 

Experienced leaders know when and what tasks to delegate to each team member. The hiring manager expects this leadership skill from you. Hence they’ll search for it on your CV. Not including it can be detrimental to your chances of securing the role 

It’s not enough to say you can effectively delegate tasks to subordinates in your CV. Instead, describe a project you led and how you maximised each team member’s strengths to achieve your goals by assigning them duties best suited to their capabilities.


Adequate communication skills are a must-have for any team lead. And, of course, it’s a must-have skill to include on your leadership CV. 

Primarily, you need practical communication skills to present the company’s mission, goals and other information to employees under you.

Your ability to communicate effectively can make your subordinates’ work easier. Great communication helps them understand their responsibilities and how to execute them adequately. 

Remember that communication is two-way, and you’ve not communicated if the intended recipient doesn’t get or understand the message. 


Eloquence and fluency are two of the best attributes of a leader. That’s why the ability to convey information through speech is a fundamental skill hiring managers look for in managerial role candidates. And 82% of employers value verbal communications skills, according to a survey by (NACE); the national association of Colleges and employers. 

Admittedly you can more easily showcase this skill in an interview than on your CV. However, hiring managers can still pick up bits of your ability based on the keywords you use in your CV. You want to highlight these cues in your CV to indicate your verbal communication ability.

  • Presentation skills
  • Engagement
  • Meeting Management
  • Networking
  • Negotiating
  • Mediation


Effective communication transcends your ability to talk or write. It also includes how you pass the right messages without using words. Your body language and actions can tell people more about you than your words.

An excellent leader’s body language must always convey a sense of openness and approachability. Hiring managers are more interested in candidates with excellent non-verbal communication and posture management skills.

But again, these are skills easier to show in person than on your leadership CV. Nevertheless, there are nonverbal communication traits you can include on your CV to give hiring managers a good idea of your capabilities. 

  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Compassion/Empathy
  • Active listening

Non-verbal communication skills are essential considerations for gauging your leadership ability. 67% of employers in the NACE survey ranked it as important. Hence, showing it on your CV adds to your credibility as a candidate.

Strategic Thinking and Vision

People expect a lot from leaders, sometimes too much. So, to stay ahead, you must always be strategic in your thinking and have vision. 

We’re not talking about long-term goal setting and planning. Instead, you must be able to see three-four steps into the future and anticipate events. Having a big-picture view helps in this regard.

You’re seeing what’s right in front of you and the things to come after. This ability comes with a level of curiosity which will always prompt you to question your moves and where they may lead you. 

Showing such leadership skills on your CV is a way to tell the hiring manager that you can connect with the organisation’s visions and lead the group accordingly. And, of course, that’s a plus for your credibility.

But of course, it’s not enough to simply note that you have such foresight in your CV. Instead, you can show it excellently on your CV by expressing your analytical ability with examples.

For instance, you can mention how you once made a speculative decision which ended up being the right one in a previous role and how it helped the organisation. Or, you can talk about how you anticipated an occurrence and what you did in response to it. 

Consider this example:

“Having previously analysed customer behaviour trends in the industry, I implemented a strategy that enabled us to increase our customer satisfaction scores by 45% in 5 months.”

Planning and Execution

You can never rule planning out of any effective leadership process. While a good leader can be spontaneous and an excellent improviser, they must be able to make strategic plans. 

Proper planning prepares you for what’s to come — your department can hardly survive without it.

Planning goes with strategic thinking and effective delegation to equip the team with what they need for success. It provides a framework that keeps everyone on track and tells them what to do at each point.

Showing your proficiency in planning on your CV tells the hiring manager they can trust you always to take guided steps. So they know you are level-headed and will always prepare adequately before moving.

That said, “Planning” is fast becoming a buzzword most people like to put on their CVs even if they don’t have the skills for it. So, most hiring managers won’t be satisfied with simply saying you’re good at planning and strategy.

Instead, describe a previous situation where you put your planning skills to work and achieved results. Consider the example below.

“Planned a Fundraising project for an organisation with a target to raise £1.2 million for a project. We completed the set-up with time to spare and raised £1.6 million at the end of the event”

Adaptability and Versatility

While a leader must have top-notch planning and execution abilities, they must be able to adapt when things aren’t going according to the book. The best team leads roll with the punches and adjust as necessary when disruptions happen.

Admittedly, it’s difficult to change directions when your team is moving at a certain momentum. But your team’s ability to adapt will depend on your willingness and capacity to do it first. 

Adaptability is vital in crisis management. And you must highlight this leadership skill on your CV to show recruiters you can constantly adjust without reservations when necessary.

An excellent way to show this leadership skill in your CV is by describing how you were able to adjust your plans when things weren’t panning out as expected in previous projects. Alternatively, you can tell how you handled disruptive phases in your past roles.


Being a leader means you’ll have situations where you must pick between multiple conflicting options. You’ll sometimes find yourself in places where you must make tough calls that can significantly affect the organisation. In such cases, decisiveness is key to making decisions quickly and accurately.

And, of course, seeing that you possess such leadership and management skills will intrigue an employer. It assures them they can trust you not to falter when making tough decisions. 

They can also count on you to do what needs to be done without letting doubt or fear cloud your judgement. Hence, it’s an excellent skill for your leadership CV and cover letter. 

The best way to express this ability is by describing situations where you had to make tough calls in the past and how you got through them. Of course, it helps your credibility to share your results if the decisions turn out to be the right ones.

Coaching and Mentoring

Leaders aren’t complete if they cannot get the best out of their subordinates and nurture future leaders. So, a crucial leadership skill you must possess and describe in your CV is the ability to nurture the next generation.

Most organisations have long-term goals, and regardless of your commitment, you won’t always be around to see them through. 

Hiring managers also know that. That’s why they look for leaders who will set up a team that can function effectively even when the head isn’t around.

So, an ability to build and nurture a team where any member can be the leader in your stead is a quality hiring manager will appreciate on your CV. An excellent way to highlight this skill is by describing the teams you’ve built previously and how you’ve set them up to continue thriving in your absence.

Technical Skills

Thanks to increasing digitisation, we’re in an age where tech-savviness is an everyday need. Hence hiring managers expect you to have some fundamental technical skills regardless of the role you’re applying for.  

In fact, at this point, possessing technical skills doesn’t give you much of an edge with the hiring manager. Instead, it puts you on level terms with most of the other applicants. S

Technical skills make your job easier, and you can also command more respect from your team members. So, to keep up with the other applicants, you must portray your technical abilities on your CV. 

It’s always a good idea to illustrate your technical abilities with enterprise computer software you’re familiar with.

For example, you can describe your experience with computer frameworks relevant to your role, such as organisational and project management programs.

Best Way to Show Leadership Skills on Your CV

We’ve provided examples of how you can show leadership skills on your CV earlier. However, simply mentioning the skills and describing the scenarios you used them isn’t enough. 

You must still observe a few best practices when you write your leadership CV to make it complete. 

Tailor Your CV and Skills for a Leadership Role

Hiring managers typically receive several applications for a role. But they don’t have all the time in the world to go through everything carefully. 

You want to make their work a little easier by making your CV fit the specifications they described in the job posting. 

You have a better chance with a customised CV than a generic one. Little things like using the job’s actual title, following the preferred structure and making your skills easy to identify can make your application easier to read for the reviewer. 

Highlight the Leadership Skills in Bullet Points

Speaking of making your skills easy to identify, the best way to do this is by listing them in bullet points. Simply mention the ability and give an example or illustration under it. That way, the reviewer can find and note it quickly.

Describe Quantifiable Leadership Achievements

As you may have noticed, we tried to express major achievements in quantifiable terms in some of the illustrations we gave with the skills above. You’ll find it challenging to convince a recruiter you have specific skills without any results to prove it.

Your CV must contain the results you achieved with your leadership skills and how you did them. That’s the best way to convince the reviewer you’re telling the truth about the skills. 

And, of course, quantifying the achievements makes it easier to picture and analyse. A definite figure is often more effective than an ambiguous claim. 

But it’s understandable that you may not have the liberty to disclose the figures in some cases. Such situations are excusable. In scenarios where you have the freedom, you should always put the appropriate numbers to the claims.

Sound Like a Leader and Optimise for Applicant Tracking Systems

Employers typically look for leadership vocabulary when examining applicants’ CVs for a managerial role. The idea is that an individual’s leadership experience will reflect in their vocabulary and communication.

That doesn’t mean you should fill the CV with ambiguous words. Instead, you should strategically sprinkle meaningful leadership-related words all over the CV. 

Typically, it helps to use a few compelling verbs while you’re at it. To that end, you can put in the following words to describe your experience;

  • Spearhead
  • Execute
  • Initiate
  • Coach
  • Oversee
  • Inspire
  • Motivate
  • Initiate
  • Implement
  • Campaign
  • Mobilise
  • Guide 

Show Leadership in Your Resume

When putting skills in your CV for a leadership position, you must present yourself as a well-rounded candidate for the job. Emphasising some skills helps, but you shouldn’t let one overshadow the other unless you’re sure it’ll give you an advantage.

We’ve thoroughly examined how to show leadership skills on your CV efficiently. But The Cv Expert can go one step further by crafting perfect leadership CVs that accurately express your experience, competencies and personality.

Get in touch with our expert leadership CV writing team. Call 020 8242 4287 or contact us here

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