Are you interested in applying for a job that involves management? Maybe you want to climb up the career ladder within your company. Or maybe you want to branch out and take ownership of a project at a new company.
Whatever situation you are in, you may be wondering how you can articulate your leadership skills on a resume. You may already know the fundamentals of leadership, but being an effective leader requires constant practice and a good understanding of people.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss the top five leadership skills to mention on your resume to help you distinguish yourself as an effective leader. We’ll also walk through a few tips on how you can build these leadership skills.
What are Leadership Skills?
Leadership skills are used when managing people. You don’t necessarily need to be a manager or an executive to exercise these skills; any position that involves managing others to some degree requires leadership skills.
Employers highly value leadership skills. Good leaders are more likely to step up to work on projects and drive them from start-to-finish. When a leader is assigned to a project, they take ownership of the project and do what they can to ensure its success.
Top 5 Leadership Skills for Your Resume
You can list “leadership skills” on your resume, but this is just one way to describe your ability to lead. Let’s explore a few of the top leadership skills employers value that you may want to mention on your resume.
Good leaders are able to inspire their colleagues to keep going, even when times get tough. For instance, a team may be working on a few monotonous tasks, leaving its membes feeling uninspired. A good leader would need to remind the workers why they are working on the project, and ensure they feel motivated.
Leaders may use techniques such as recognizing their workers’ efforts more often or providing incentives like awards to motivate the team. The approach used will vary depending on what type of people the workers are and how they respond to various incentives.
#2: Problem solving
You won’t get very far as a leader if you are not able to solve problems. A subordinate may come to you feeling burnt out. Or a project may be running behind schedule and require your attention. Likewise, a problem may arise on a project that requires you to make a quick decision.
Good leaders are able to break down the nature of a problem, and come up with an actionable solution. They can make decisions within a given time frame to ensure the project stays on track.
To be a good leader, you need to be reliable. If you are known as the person that always follows through on their commitments, people will be more likely to approach you with their problems and come to you when they need help.
Good leaders will make commitments publicly and show their team members what they are looking for by example rather than by telling them what to do.
Good leaders are able to communicate effectively with other team members. They are able to explain the responsibilities of each team member clearly and concisely and relate those to the broader vision of the project.
Leaders should be able to use both written and verbal communication in their work. They are good listeners and incorporate suggestions and feedback from the team. This may involve having an open-door policy to allow workers to provide feedback or speaking regularly with workers.
Good leaders know that the buck stops with them, so to speak. If a project fails, it should not be blamed on an individual contributor: the leader should take responsibility for the outcome of the project.
Good leaders work to ensure that the project is on track. If a project is going well, they will celebrate. If it is going poorly, they will accept the failures and work to find actionable solutions to the problems they are facing.
How to Build Your Leadership Skills
Leadership skills are valuable in all facets of life, not just your career. To help build your leadership skills, we have prepared a list with a few tips you can follow.
#1: Figure out what type of leader you are
Before you can start improving your leadership skills, you need to figure out what type of leader you are. Do you like to be hands-on with team members? Or do you prefer a more relaxed approach that values individual responsibility? Do you lead by example?
You can use leadership quizzes such as skillsyouneed.com to figure out your leadership style. Once you know what type of leader you are, you can start reading about how to improve and refine the leadership skills specific to your leadership profile.
#2: Step up on projects
You may not officially be a manager or a team leader in your current job, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot step up and take on a leadership role.
If you are working on a project, you can volunteer to take on more responsibility. Ask your manager if you can help out with tasks and coming up with timelines. You can also volunteer to mentor your less experienced peers, which will give you good practice in supporting other workers as a leader.
#3: Read about leadership
There is no better way to become a leader than to practice. But, if you are still trying to find your style, or you are looking for a few leadership techniques to inspire you, then it can be helpful to read about leadership and how other people have led in similar environments.
There are many great books on leadership, from general leadership advice to specific and actionable business advice. You can also find podcasts, guides, and other resources which will help you beef up your knowledge.
#4: Lead after work
Who said that leadership skills can only be built in the workplace? If you are looking to build your leadership skills, you can do so in your down time. Volunteer to help out a local charity board, or join another organization that you think you can help.
Volunteering is a good way to refine your leadership skills and learn more about how the organization works. For instance, if you volunteer at a local charitable cafe, you’ll also be building valuable customer service skills.
#5: Take a leadership course
There are dozens of online courses out there that can help you improve as a leader. If you want to build your leadership skills, search around for a course that aligns with your personal leadership style and your availability.
In addition, many companies provide continued personal development opportunities related to leadership. You may want to ask your boss whether your company has a leadership or management training program. If not, your boss may be able to recommend other resources that will help you get started.
Some leadership roles have the word “manager” or “director” in the title, but not all. In fact, many of the leadership interactions you’ll have on the job will be casual.
You may provide mentorship to a new co-worker who is still finding the ropes. Or you may offer to take the lead in a project that has fallen behind. You may decide to step up and take on some extra responsibilities while a co-worker is off sick. All of these scenarios involve exercising leadership skills, even if it is not obvious.
No matter whether you are just getting started in your career, or are looking for a management role, building your leadership skills is a valuable investment. Having strong leadership skills may just be what convinces an employer to take a chance on you.