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How to Highlight Leadership Skills on Your CV

This blog covers the top leadership skills your target employer wants to see in a prospective applicant’s resume. 

Leadership capabilities are the primary factors hiring managers consider when evaluating prospects. Even if the role you’re applying for isn’t a leadership position, the ability to take charge when needed certainly offers an edge. 

There’s hardly any role that doesn’t necessitate leadership competencies. At the very least, you must be able to take responsibility and lead yourself!

But the stakes are higher when you’re a seasoned career professional looking to land your next leadership role as a director, team lead or senior manager. In this case, highlighting leadership skills in your resume is crucial to a successful job hunting experience. 

Up to 82% of companies make the wrong decision while hiring top managerial talent. Therefore, the scrutiny of applicants for leadership roles is higher than ever.

Not only will a well-crafted CV maximise your marketability, but it’ll also showcase your skills that fit the job. So you should take the opportunity to display your leadership competencies in your CV or Resume.

But, you need to adequately understand your various leadership skills to highlight them on your CV accurately. Here, we’ll consider all the crucial competencies you should include in your resume and how to showcase them confidently.

Why it’s Important to Highlight Leadership Skills on Your CV

Your CV is your first point of contact with hiring managers. So, it’ll influence your prospecting journey. Sometimes, you may meet the recruiter or employer before submitting your resume. However, employers will always peruse your CV before calling you for an interview. 

Yes, soft skills qualify you for the job, but leadership competencies make you stand out from the crowd. Hiring managers will always look out for leadership qualities in prospectives. They believe people with dynamic leadership capabilities tend to stay longer in jobs, display more loyalty, and are often more motivated to get to the next milestone.

Leadership abilities are also a testament to having what it takes to commit to a goal for an extended duration. Leaders can build and function in a team. They also know how to manage people and the resources at their disposal. These competencies also include excellent interpersonal and communication skills. 

Filling your CV with these skills will improve your chances with the hiring managers. According to the Jobvite 2019 Recruiting Benchmark Report, an average of 29 people apply for the same position. That means the recruiter has to review 28 other CVs apart from yours. So you have to get it right to stand a chance. This is even more important if you’re applying for a leadership position. 

How to Highlight Leadership Skills on Your Resume

The following are essential considerations you should put in mind when creating your resume.

Know Your Skills, Areas of Expertise and Shortcomings.

One of the attributes of a competent leader is constant and accurate self-evaluation. Great leaders are often self-conscious, staying well aware of their capabilities and shortcomings. 

Once you achieve superior awareness of your capabilities, transfer and reflect that in your CV. In other words, highlight your strong leadership skills and core technical abilities in your CV. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to use confident words to accentuate your strengths.

Accentuate the Core Relevant Skills

It’s good practice never to omit any of your skills in your resume. However, when applying for a leadership position, you want to focus more on the leadership skills relevant to that role. 

The average hiring manager takes about 7 seconds to review your CV. With such a small window, you want to avoid making them lose interest by citing irrelevant information in your CV.

It’s better to structure your CV to make your core competencies relevant to the role. Furthermore, make your skills easy to find on the page; don’t make the reviewer check the CV for long before determining what you have to offer. 

And finally, use powerful words to accentuate and present your skills confidently.

Your Relevant Experiences Testify To Your Skills

Skills are essential for any job, but experience delivers social proof. Of course, you may obtain relevant leadership skills by attending classes and seminars, but your experiences matter.

Employers prefer when you apply the leadership skills mentioned to appropriate IRL situations. That means you not only have theoretical knowledge but also know how to use it.

Experience proves you have the skills and know how to apply them. The competencies are no longer just in your head; they’re also evident in your results.  

When you highlight your leadership skills in your CV, be sure to include the relevant experience along with them.

We understand that not everyone may have had opportunities to build relevant experience. For example, say you’re considering a mid-career switch and haven’t had any extended leadership roles. 

In such situations, you want to highlight ways you can demonstrate your potential. Or better still, sign up for activities that let you practice your leadership skills and indicate them in your CV. 

You can volunteer for a project, offer to chair a local committee or head a community. These activities will not only give you opportunities to accrue relevant experiences, but you’ll also get to network and meet people. You may also pick up a few new skills along the way.

Provide Receipts of Your Accomplishments

Falsifying information CVs to increase hiring chances is becoming commonplace. In reaction to this trend, recruiters are taking a more reserved approach to acknowledge accomplishment claims at face value. 

As such, an employer will not accept you achieved something simply because you mentioned it in your CV. You may need to provide proof to support your claims.

When you highlight your leadership skills, experiences and achievements in your CV, ensure to include scenarios of how you attained them. In addition, illustrate examples of how you displayed your capabilities in situations and the results they yielded. 

Illustrating concrete case studies of your achievements creates a compelling case attesting to your leadership skills. In addition, it helps the recruiter see a better picture of you taking up the leadership role and how you’d perform in it.

Of course, you must portray all of these as briefly as possible. As we said earlier, the recruiter will only spend a little time reviewing your CV. You want to ensure they can grasp the critical information within seconds.

Highlight LeaderShip Accomplishments with Titles

A colleague’s title can indicate they’re in a leadership position, even before you meet them. 

That’s why you’ll often find people attaching titles like “Community Head”, “Team lead”, and “Chief Curator” to their identity. These are prefixes that highlight the individuals’ leadership positions. So, you should remember to include yours in your CV too.

There’s also the applicant tracking system (ATS) angle to using titles in your resume. In today’s digital world, recruiters use an applicant tracking system which scans through CVs and filters out relevant ones based on specific keywords. More often than not, position titles are part of the keywords these systems use to select a shortlist of individuals for the next stage.

Include Recommendations and Inputs From Credible Referees

Credible references go a long way in presenting your case to the recruiters. But it gets better when you get recommendations from individuals who’re recognised leaders in the field.

If you can, highlight recommendations alongside your leadership skills in your CV. It’s pretty crucial and may just help you land the role. 

If you don’t have a referee, you can always get one by serving in a position that gives you access to one. Of course, this will be easier when you volunteer to work in specific capacities. You’ll meet people who’ll be willing to onboard and help you.

Examples of Leadership Skills to Highlight in your CV

The hiring managers are always looking out for specific competencies when reviewing CVs. You must recognise the particular skills and highlight them in your resume when applying for a leadership role. 

So, let’s check a few leadership capabilities to include in your CV. All these skills will apply to any leadership role, and they’re relevant whether or not you have experience.

Human and Resources Management

Most leadership positions are managerial roles. And one of the qualities of proper leaders is their ability to manage a team and the resources at their disposal efficiently. Of course, not every manager can be a good leader, but every good leader possesses requisite management competencies. 

It takes specialised leadership capabilities to coordinate diverse team members to achieve a common goal. And having such skills qualifies you as a competent leader. 

Therefore, you must highlight your leadership skills as related to human and resources management in your CV. In addition, your cover letter must concisely reflect how you’re capable of guiding a team and project to the finish line. 

Include keywords like “manage, manager, management, and coordinate” in your write-up. The keywords applicant tracking systems will most probably be looking for these words. And they may filter out CVs that don’t include them.

Example 

I coordinated a youth team aged 20 – 30 on a community development and sensitisation project. As a result, we raised awareness about the need for greater participation in political affairs. 

Communication

Communication skills are part of the primary competencies hiring managers consider when recruiting. Adequate communication skills are a must for any corporate job position. That’s because most organisations nowadays operate in team settings, and no worker works in isolation. 

People lacking communication skills often find it challenging to function in such organisations. So, it’s even more important that someone coming to take a leadership role in a group must be able to communicate effectively with the team.

Therefore, being a competent communicator is an essential prerequisite for a leader. After all, you’ll need to express your intentions and instructions to the team to push them toward the next milestone. 

But keep in mind that communication goes both ways. Don’t just indicate your ability to express yourself. You must also cite your ability to receive and process feedback. Leaders have well-rounded proficiency in listening and speaking. So, you should highlight this vital leadership skill in your CV as best as possible. 

Recruitment managers will eventually gauge your communication skills during interviews. However, it helps to give them an idea of your capabilities beforehand in your CV.

Example

I was a member of the marketing team, where other team members and I constantly brainstormed and discussed advertisement ideas. I eventually became the head of the Content strategy and copywriting department, where I pretty much served the role of chief writer and editor for the organisation. 

Commitment

A leader must show the highest level of commitment to the team goal. In most cases, the team members look up to the leader and feed on their tenacity and dedication. 

That’s why our CV writing experts recommend demonstrating your ability to commit to your leadership responsibilities in your resume. For example, describe notable projects you spearheaded from conception to completion. Also, clearly express your commitment through a career history that portrays steady, long-term employment.

Example,

I led a team of analysts extensively researching how human behaviour changes with age. The research lasted for ten years, and we had to closely monitor all the research subjects to get accurate information for the project report.

Analytical Decision Making

It takes composure and calmness to analyse the existing situations and come to the appropriate conclusions regarding the way forward. No one wants to work with an edgy, impulsive leader who’s always jumping into decisions. 

The most accomplished leaders are calm and analytical in their approach to problem-solving. Hence, hiring managers will like to see you highlight such leadership skills in your CV. 

More often than not, analytical leaders make the best decisions for their teams. This conclusion is because they consider facts from multiple sources and juxtapose available information from varying sources to arrive at the best conclusions. Therefore, analytical decision-making is a must-have skill for a leader, and you should also include it in your CV.

Example

I worked with the data analytics team and learned how to filter, clean and utilise information to make guided decisions.

Creative Problem Solving

Don’t show off your graphic design and creative skills with elaborate fonts or images on your CV. Instead, highlight your creative skills in clear terms on your CV by citing examples of how you’ve used them to solve problems. 

We’re not saying you should make your CV look bland. On the contrary, your CV can use some creativity. But you should pay more attention to the message and not the display.

You want to cite examples of out-of-the-box solutions you’ve applied to specific challenges. Employers value creative problem-solving skills. They want to hire someone they can count on when unprecedented problems arise. 

And you’ll present yourself as an ideal candidate by highlighting the right competencies in your CV. In other words, use your CV to demonstrate how you can creatively surmount obstacles while executing projects.

Example

I developed a new model of recruiting staff for our customer service department by employing our customers. These people were in the system, so they know the typical customer’s grievances and how to appease them.

Integrity and Trustworthiness

Of course, stating you’re trustworthy on your resume will hardly convince anyone you are. It’s your actions that’ll portray you as an honest person. Nonetheless, it won’t hurt to include it as one of your competencies. 

While putting it may not add much, not putting it may arouse the suspicions of the hiring manager. It can lead them to assume maybe; you don’t trust yourself enough to include your integrity level in your CV.

Of course, the best way to demonstrate your honesty in your CV is to be 100% truthful with every detail you include on the pages. Don’t exaggerate your skills, but don’t downplay them either. More importantly, don’t add any skill, experiences or information that’s not true. 

Present yourself in the most positive manner possible, but desist from lying on your CV. Ensure to review your CV’s details for exaggerated truths and lies before sending it in. Honesty is rare in senior management; dare to be different from others.

Teamwork and Delegation

As a leader, you should be able to work in a team and also know when to delegate tasks to team members. No boss can take on every assignment alone, and only the egocentric ones try to.

When you have a load of work to complete, know the right person for the job and let them handle it. Don’t delegate tasks to individuals unless you’re sure they’re best placed to do it and will also benefit from it. 

Handing over work to a team member and mentoring them through the execution adds to your credibility as a leader. You don’t have to lay it all down for the assignee, simply nudging them in the right direction should be sufficient.

Then again, don’t dump all your tasks to your subordinates while not contributing significantly to project execution. That indicates laziness and doesn’t speak well of your leadership capabilities.

You have these leadership skills already, so you must highlight them concisely in your CV. Make it obvious to the recruiter that even in a leadership role, you’re first a team player. And, you know how to pull your team members along by delegating tasks appropriately. Of course, specific examples of how you can do this will make your case more convincing.

Example

We had several milestones to crash, and time was running out. Knowing that I couldn’t oversee all project execution by myself, I appointed a few senior team members to manage each of the ongoing projects. I also had them all submit daily reports to me and inform me whenever they experienced any challenges in their duties. Expectedly, we crushed all our milestones with time to spare. 

Other Examples of Sentences and Phrases that Indicate Leadership Skills

It’s easy to find yourself lost for ideas while expressing how you’ve applied your skills in a leadership position. Below are some examples to give you ideas on how to show your leadership skills on your resume without being too clumsy.

  • Pioneered a campaign that grew into a large-scale movement and resulted in noticeable changes in organisational administration at xyz.
  • Spearheaded a fundraiser that helped us garner millions of dollars in seed capital for a project and also supervised the project’s execution.
  • Increased operational efficiency by reviewing and revamping workflow processes in the department.
  • Managed a team of 2000 plus Gen Zs and brand ambassadors across the various university campuses in the country.
  • Developed a team of newbie sales reps into the most successful sales team in the organisation’s history at OPQ. Over 70% of them have also headed their separate groups and replicated our results.

Write that Job-Winning Leadership CV Today

Leadership skills are some of the core competencies hiring managers love to see on CVs. So you should highlight them as clearly as possible in your application. 

Above, we’ve done the hard work of compiling a list of important leadership skills to include in your new resume. More importantly, we’ve provided examples of how to illustrate these core leadership competencies in the best light. 
Still need help crafting that leadership resume? Our specialist leadership CV writers at The CV Expert have a track record for delivering impressive results.

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