What would you rather have your resume say about you—that you’re a competent working bee or an ambitious self-starter with the potential to lead?
Regardless of whether you’re an experienced manager or budding careerist, conveying leadership skills on your resume is crucial for several reasons. Employers don’t just want to hire someone who meets the minimum job requirements, after all; they want someone who will excel in a position. And leadership skills demonstrate just that by suggesting your ability to take charge of big responsibilities on top of guiding and cooperating with other people.
Moreover, when planning for long-term career advancement, showcasing your ability to lead and manage opens doors for future raises and promotions. Since employers use resumes for carving out first impressions, there’s no better place to start than there. To show your leadership potential, consider incorporating these words and phrases into your resume.
“I’m a Team Player” Words
Beyond business acumen, research on what distinguishes the best leaders from average ones points to team building as a major differentiator. Perhaps it’s no surprise, as, by definition, leaders lead people—and that certainly requires strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence for effectiveness.
Of course, it’s not easy to convey charisma or how well you get along with your peers on a resume. You can, however, indicate your communication prowess, ability to smoothly work with coworkers, and capacity to develop others professionally by using one (or a few) of these choice words:
The most effective leaders aren’t only well versed in soft skills—they’re also productive forces of nature. As such, it pays to use powerful verbs that do justice to your previous accomplishments.
To pack a greater punch, combine these words with quantified descriptions of your past work. For instance, perhaps you revamped an old process, or in more specific terms, “overhauled the company’s purchase order system for 23% faster processing time.” Numbers represent tangible outcomes and when paired with these results-oriented words, indicate to hiring managers what you’re capable of.
Words that Show Initiative
Make sure to hit the backspace button for overdone words and phrases like “responsible for,” which make job seekers sound more like passive work drones than proactive go-getters. As career coach and HR manager Steve Wang says, “If you're too modest with your word choice and start your bullet points with phrases such as ‘helped,’ ‘assisted,’ ‘worked alongside,’ or ‘part of,’ it can make you out to be a follower in the eyes of recruiters.”
Instead, show off your inner trailblazer with words that suggest initiative and action.
Words for Analysis and Strategic Thinking
Last but not least, since managers and leaders are required to make tough calls from time to time, it’s important to emphasize your ability to analyze and think strategically. Pauline Delaney, career coach at Resume Genius, stresses that words of this nature “demonstrate your capacity to think critically and apply sound judgment—in other words, telling potential employers you’ve got a good head on your shoulders.”
So — does your resume paint you as someone who’ll meet expectations or someone who’ll exceed them?
Grab the attention of hiring managers by weaving some of the above words into your resume—they’ll tell employers you’re an influential powerhouse and up-and-coming leader with plenty to contribute.
Remember, use present tense for your current position, and past tense when writing about jobs from your work history.
Joyce is a digital marketer and freelance writer who focuses on writing about personal finance on Financial Impulse. You can find out more about her work on her personal website or by following her on Twitter.