Leadership skills are essential for many professional positions, but when you're searching for a job, these intangible abilities can be difficult to show on a resume. Focusing on specific experience and solid, measurable results can convince employers that you have what it takes to lead a team.
Describe the Team
As any experienced leader knows, managing a two-person team requires a different mindset and strategy than managing a 50-person company. Likewise, a creative team of creatives demands a different approach than a group of engineers. As such, it's crucial to avoid generalities as you refresh your resume. Help potential employers get a handle on your leadership skills by using specifics to describe the team. Instead of, "Managed a large work group," say, "Coordinated a 15-person team of software engineers and back-end programmers." The second statement tells the reviewer a great deal: that you can handle a medium-sized team, that you're familiar with the technical software design process, and that you can speak the language of engineers and programmers.
Soft leadership skills often go hand-in-hand with hard skills and specific experience. Communicate both by describing the projects you managed, using examples that are likely to speak to the potential employer. If you're applying for a position that requires event planning, you might include a bullet point that says, "Planned and executed annual fundraising gala for 200 guests." For an art director job, say, "Directed client print projects from creative briefs to final production." If you're changing industries, add more details to help the reviewer understand the scope of the project and your role.
Give Measurable Results
In the end, the goal of a great workplace leader is to achieve a specific result. Without it, a potential employer has no way to determine whether or not you were successful in the position. Give your leadership skills weight in your job search by adding numbers and quantifiable results. It's one thing to say that you managed a high-performing sales team — it's more effective to say that you implemented a new workflow and led your five-person sales team to increase profits by 50 percent in one year. If possible, choose results that relate directly to the position for which you're applying.
Use Powerful Language
Effective leadership requires excellent interpersonal abilities, which are by nature difficult to prove. When it comes to leadership skills that cannot be quantified, such as communication and emotional intelligence, language is crucial. Verbs are a powerful way to give employers an idea of your style and professional philosophy. Words such as "mentored" and "championed" paint a very different picture than "outperformed" and "forged." Choose words that represent who you are as a professional and that fit into the needs of the target company.
Whether you're searching for an entry-level managerial job or a CEO position, leadership skills can be a make-or-break factor. By updating your resume to communicate your abilities, you can streamline and shorten the job search.
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