How to Highlight Leadership Experience on a Resume

InterviewJob SearchSuccess Strategies
Leadership experience is a high priority for many new hires. This is especially true when employers seek to fill positions of authority.

Those who have developed their leadership skills tend to be more motivated. They are typically better at solving problems and more effective communicators. Leaders are more passionate about their careers than those who lack any experience in leadership.

Thus, most employers tend to make leadership experience a high priority in new hires. This is especially true for available roles in positions of authority.

Unfortunately, being an experienced leader doesn’t always mean one knows how to mention their leadership ability in application packets. Those eager to obtain positions where leadership is essential need to showcase leadership experience and skills. Here’s how.

1. Emphasize leadership skills, especially communication.

Some employers claim that the most important section on a resume isn’t employment history, education level, or even contact information — it’s where job applicants list their relevant skills.

Many job candidates lack the exact experience or education employers hope for. However, if they have the necessary skills to fill in the gaps, employers are likely still interested in at least bringing those candidates in for interviews. Thus, those with leadership experience should consider listing the skills provided from that experience in the skills section of their resumes.

Far and away the most important leadership skill is communication. Communication allows leaders to set expectations and boundaries for their staff while developing productive connections through shared experiences and values. Leaders can detail what effective communication skills they have gained, including active listening, clarity, transparency, empathy, and feedback.

2. Detail employment history with specific leadership examples.

After the skills section, a resume’s employment history is its next most important part. A leader’s resume should have specific examples of leadership under its most recent and most relevant employment history.

Leadership in employment history doesn’t begin and end with job titles. Any position can include responsibilities that build leadership skills and experience. Framing those responsibilities to highlight their leadership aspects is key.

For example, an administrative assistant might demonstrate leadership by organizing events, adapting to unexpected circumstances, building relationships with other assistants, and more. The more specific a leader can be in their examples, the better.

The same goes for a resume’s education section. It’s possible to provide context for educational experiences that have contributed to an applicant’s abilities. Still, enrolling in a tailored leadership program does much to demonstrate a job candidate’s commitment to developing and maintaining leadership skills.

3. Quantify results with hard numbers.

A well-known statistic amongst job searchers is that recruiters spend just 6 or 7 seconds scanning a resume before determining whether a candidate is appropriate for a certain position.

Given the exceedingly small window of opportunity to impress upon hiring managers is one’s leadership skills, leaders need to ensure their abilities stand out. Hard numbers basically jump off a page.

Quantifying a resume requires a bit more research into one’s accomplishments throughout their employment history. If possible, leaders can contact previous employers for more information about their impact.

For example, find out if a particular project saved the employer a specific sum of money or improved the efficiency of certain processes by a noteworthy percentage. If a leader can’t provide a number they can verify, they might offer a range. This at least helps to add even more eye-catching numbers to their resume.

4. Employ the same leadership words used in job descriptions.

Businesses are relying on AI-driven tools more and more to improve efficiency and reduce error, and AI-supported recruitment programs are some of the most common. Different tools work in different ways.

However, some of the most rudimentary (and most widespread) merely search application documents for key terms selected by hiring managers. Hiring managers are busy. Many simply copy and paste the qualifications they used in the job description used to attract candidates. Thus, any leadership terms used in job descriptions should be integrated into a leader’s resume.

This increases the likelihood that a leader’s application materials will be sorted by recruitment tools into a hiring manager’s hands. It also demonstrates to a hiring manager that a leader has personalized their resume for this specific position. Using the same leadership words is a small but effective way for a leader to be noticed and get hired.

Leadership experience matters for most jobs, so candidates need to find ways to demonstrate their leadership experience to prospective employers. Fortunately, leaders can easily highlight existing leadership skills and abilities on their resumes using the above tips and tricks.