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When building your resume, you may find a section in templates labeled “skills.” This section is most often a bullet-point list that briefly describes a set of skills best suited to the job you are applying for.
But what exactly do you list here?
When brainstorming a list of skills that you have, you likely will think of hard skills at first. That is, skills that you have mastered to some degree through classes or on the job experience.
Examples of hard skills include computer programming languages, foreign languages, technology skills, and other certifications.
What about the soft skills? Soft skills, most importantly, leadership skills, are skills that you probably have not learned in any particular class or through any certification program.
Leadership skills are skills that show your capacity to lead a group to achieve a goal.
Leadership styles and skills show a lot about a potential job candidate: how they can interact in a team setting, how they can communicate with others, and how they can reflect upon the project and provide constructive feedback.
Most importantly, however, a job candidate with good leadership skills is more likely going to be able to finish tasks and work well with fellow team members to do so than those who do not possess leadership qualities.
If you are more of an introvert, you are probably reading this and freaking out a little bit.
Typically when people think of “leaders,” they often create an image in their mind about a strong-willed, enthusiastic, and incredibly charismatic person who can make a crowd follow them without a second thought. They think a good leader is the epitome of the “extrovert ideal.”
Do not worry– leadership is not all about being able to stand up and transform a room, it is also about being able to listen to the advice and ideas of others, give constructive criticism and be able to receive it, as well as being able to delegate the tasks to people with the best ability to complete them.
Here are the nuts and bolts to leadership skills on a resume:
Ready to learn the top keywords used in resumes to show leadership capacity?
When looking for new employees, recruiters are looking for a well-rounded person who has the hard skills needed for the job, as well as the soft skills to be able to work seamlessly and effectively as part of the team.
While you may want to list “leadership skills” as a skill in the skills section, it isn’t the best idea to do so because saying you are a leader doesn’t show them how you are a leader.
When thinking of leadership skills, think of times when you worked in a group setting. What worked well and what didn’t? Leadership can be many things, but often, it is about how someone can effectively navigate interpersonal communication among a group to utilize the strengths of each member to achieve the goal.
To do so, a leader often possesses these main qualities that can be used on a resume.
1. Communication. Communication shows your ability to speak effectively with others. What many people miss about communication, is that communication isn’t all about you talking. Active listening is a crucial part of communication that is an incredibly important leadership skill to have.
2. Decision-making. This leadership skill shows your ability to make executive order on a project when asked to make a decision. It involves weighing the pros and cons and coming up with a compromise that best suits the goal and the team.
3. Conflict resolution. Not all teams work perfectly and sometimes a team is faced with a setback that is outside of their control. But when that happens, how do you deal with it? If you are able to handle stress and resolve it quickly, conflict resolution would be a great leadership skill to mention.
4. Teamwork/ Team Building. Being a leader is also being a fellow team member. Some attributes that make good team members are dependability, integrity, and decisiveness.
These skills compose the core values of leadership, but leadership is a fluid concept. There are many different types of leaders and if the more common leadership skills above don’t apply to you, there are many others to consider.
Other important leadership skills include those that show your ability to organize a team.
Organization is an incredibly important skill for any worker to have, but in a team environment, it can make or break the project.
These are skills that show your ability to stay organized within a team as a leader:
Some skills that may be overlooked are those that show you can receive and give feedback. Employers want workers who are open to change and personal growth. If you are quick to defend your every move, then your ability to grow as a team member may be hindered.
Here are examples of skills that show you can grow as a leader and team member:
Listing leadership skills is most often done in a bullet-point form on a resume under the skills section of the resume.
However, anyone can list these skills on a resume. What will really make you stand out as a candidate and showcase your skills in a more realistic light is by emphasizing the use of these skills when describing your roles and outcomes for each job experience.
Resident Head Advisor– Raleigh College
- Managed fifteen resident junior advisors by delegating resident life tasks.
- Lead crisis intervention teams and effectively resolved resident conflict.
- Mentored students by supporting, listening and offering feedback during counseling sessions.
You may feel that you cannot sum up a leadership skill in one word and that is perfectly fine. Many skills are best described in a few words and can be used under the skills or achievement sections of your resume.
Some common phrases include the ability to teach and mentor, relationship building, problem-solving, positioning team members, and conflict resolution.
Describing leadership skills may seem daunting at first, but there are many different types of leadership.
If you are not the type to stand at the front of the room presenting and delegating tasks, don’t think that you have no leadership qualities. In fact, many good leaders are those who work in small groups and moderate discussion.
So if you are looking for different types of phrases or keywords to use to describe leadership skills on a resume, read back through the choices outlined above. Maybe some will surprise you and you’ll find you have more leadership skills than you thought.
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