Strong Leadership Skills: Resume Guide, Example Usage, and Skill Set for 2023
Here are the top ways to show your team leadership skills on your resume. Find out relevant team leadership keywords and phrases and build your resume today.
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Having strong leadership skills means being able to lead, influence, and guide others, be they colleagues, friends, or even strangers.
What’s more, great leaders are natural problem-solvers. Think of someone between your favorite superhero and your best friend.
But putting ‘leadership skills’ in the skills section of your resume is surely not something we advise you to do. It does not mean anything and might make you sound shallow.
Instead, prove that you’re an active listener, a strong decision-maker, and an empathetic problem-solver.
How is showing you’re a good team leader useful for your job hunt?
Being a team leader has little to do with your job title. “Leader” is not just a formal title but also essential roles in each team.
Let’s consider scenario #1 - you may either be applying for an operational, a specialist, an expert job or your future job title might not explicitly say “leader”, “manager”, or “chief operations officer”. Besides that, having leadership skills would still be extremely attractive displayed on your resume. Exerting a certain set of leadership skills could be beneficial for your career and for your growth. It could be very useful in building good relationships and group dynamics within the team you’re working with. In addition, it could also be beneficial in putting you out there in the eyes of your managers when it’s time for promotion.
On the other hand, if you’re after a people managing position, then you already know the importance of leadership skills for your work success, growth, and satisfaction. Forming an effective team is an art on its own and its components are motivation, support, understanding, and focus - on the tasks, on the people both as a team, and as individuals.
The question then is, if team leadership consists of so many integral parts, how to best describe and showcase your experience on your resume? Let’s dive in.
Read this: 300+ Must-Have Skills for Your Resume
What skills and qualities help you highlight your team leadership skills?
Similar to most soft skills, the best way to prove you have a certain skillset is to disintegrate it into its constituent parts and then provide examples for each of them. In this way, you are not only specific and detailed, but also show your definition and understanding of the skill.
You can usually tell someone is a good leader by exerting the following:
- Communication and listening -- good communication skills are the platforms upon which we all build our lives, both professional and personal. Being able to listen actively, ask nonjudgmental questions, seek to understand, and speak with empathy are key if you want to be viewed as a true leader.
- Mediation and problem-solving -- being in the position of the team leader, you often need to juggle different people’s interests. Being able to balance between various points of view and not take sides but rather try to listen and proactively offer solutions, are qualities that help build confidence and in your skills and persona, and a sense of openness in your team members.
- Consistency, discipline, and vision -- consistency leads to trust which then leads to open sharing and being able to move forward and progress. Discipline is the fuel on the path of that progress and success. Vision is the goal at the end of the path, but also the reason for stepping on the road in the first place. Good leaders combine all of that
- Empathy, active listening & support: problems arise all the time. Recruiters know this, and that’s why they don’t want you to ignore them or magically make them disappear. Knowing how to deal with them through being an empathetic and supportive listener is a whole other story though. In fact, these skills can actually decrease the number of problems over time.
- Creativity & strategic thinking: it might sound as if creativity is the opposite of strategic thinking, but the truth is – they are intrinsically linked. Adapting ideas from different contexts to build improved and innovative strategies is essentially what every leader should know how to do.
- Flexibility & organization: being organized and setting good examples for others is crucial, but welcoming setbacks and delays with a high level of flexibility is even more important. The combination of these two skills will show employers that you’re a strong leader who is able to handle all types of situations.
How to demonstrate team leadership skills on your resume
- Think of instances when you took the initiative and united the team around an idea of yours that lead to success
- Describe a time when you helped resolve a team conflict or deescalate a situation
- Give examples of innovative ideas or approaches that took your team efforts to the next level
- Mention situations when you were able to listen actively, motivate, and provide support to your team members
- Explain the relation between consistency, discipline, and trust by providing an example of your experience
- Talk about a difficult situation that you were able to overcome by exerting original thinking and mediation
- Mention times when plans have changed drastically, but you’ve handled the situation well
- Talk about some team issues you have helped resolve or avoid
- Demonstrate how responsible you are when it comes to organizing your time and meeting tight deadlines
- Share how your ability to be an empathetic listener has helped your team in the past
- Point out the link between your creativity and your ability to keep your eye on the prize
Saying things such as “I’m a good leader who has managed a team of 4 people” sounds impressive, but managing people does not directly imply how and why that makes you a good leader.
To make this statement believable and persuasive, you need to go into detail and support it with examples.
Try to dig deeper by pondering the following questions:
- What exactly did you achieve when you managed this team?
- Did you take any specific classes or receive any certifications or coaching on being a leader?
- What did your team members say about working with you?
- What did you learn from that experience?
- Have you ever led a successful project?
- When was the last time you had to resolve a work-related issue and how did you do it?
- How do you deal with unsupportive or unengaged team members?
To help you describe your own experience, here are some real life examples from other Enhancv users’ resumes.
Get inspired to craft and enhance your own resume.
Example 1: Show team leadership skills in your experience
Job Situation: Product manager applying for the role of Director of Product Management
- Managed multiple product lines, all the way from the idea stage through their delivery for teams developing software for hospitals and clinics
- Promoted products to both internal and external customers increasing penetration of customer base to 85%
- Worked in collaboration with clients and stakeholders with a budget of $2M
- Developed and managed goals, objectives, procedures and work standards minding all applicable local and foreign regulations
- Served as a mediator between stakeholders and different teams involved, making sure all interests are taken into consideration
Do you notice what will tip the scales in this candidate's favor? That's right - achievements, instead of a responsibilities list.
They quoted their measurable results, such as "increasing penetration of customer base to 85%".
This example implies their agility, focus, and consistency.
By developing and managing goals, objectives and procedures, this Product Managers shows good vision and discipline - other important leadership skills.
They also were able to collaborate with different stakeholders and take into consideration their collective interests - a good example of mediation and problem-solving. The use of active verbs in the description such as “promoted” and “developed” shows proactiveness and focus.
We can see here that even though leadership skills are not explicitly stated in the experience section, they are well represented and implied.
Let's see another example.
- Monitored progress and set deadlines for as many as 50% of our projects
- Was appointed first POC for new colleagues who had difficulties settling in
- Explained our suggestions to clients and worked to find a middle ground with them
- Developed a mentorship program that linked junior PMs with senior PMs and resulted in 58% more motivation for all colleagues
The snippet of this senior project manager resume proves their leadership skills in two ways.
Firstly, the fact that they begin each bullet with an action verb shows they’re willing to take the initiative.
Secondly, they have highlighted their ability to work with people quite well. Even in challenging contexts, such as finding a middle ground with unhappy clients and increasing the levels of motivation for both junior and senior colleagues by 58%.
Highlighting the fact that they have been responsible for monitoring progress and setting deadlines, on the other hand, proves their strong organizational skills.
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Example 2: resume summary
Job Situation: Software developer with 4 years of experience applying for the role of Technical Team Lead
In those 3 short sentences, we get the idea that this Software Engineer has an affinity for tech and teamwork. They speak of collaboration, valuing teamwork, and approaching both tech and communication challenges with a people-first motto.
This summary definitely states the intention of the IT professional to move from a more tech to a more people position like a Team Lead.
Let's dive into another example.
The resume summary is a great place to showcase your leadership skills in a couple of sentences.
This Digital Marketing Manager’s resume summary proves that they have strong collaboration and organizational skills, as well as high levels of flexibility and creativity. Thus, it proves their leadership skills without making them sound boastful.
What’s more, they also add the keyword ‘leader’ which gives them bonus points, especially when it comes to passing ATS checks.
Still not sure what to include in your resume summary? Check out this guide!
Example 3: Key achievements
Job Situation: Finance Manager outlines his achievements
A great way to combine both your experience and your strengths is to use the Achievements section. In this example we can see that this Financial Manager is proactive, team-oriented, social, collaborative, and proactive - all good team leadership qualities that cannot be missed by an experienced recruiter’s eye.
Let's look into another example.
In case there’s something you’re extremely proud of and want to highlight, use the Achievements (also called Most Proud Of) section.
This resume snippet proves the applicant’s leadership skills by emphasizing their ability to lead teams to success and manage conflicts easily. They also share their leadership award, which proves that they’re a likable and valuable individual.
Looking for more reasons to add an ‘Achievements’ section? Read this article!
Example 4: Demonstrate your leadership skills through other sections of your resume
Job Situation: Graphic Designer describes his volunteering experience
- Taught 60+ kids from 3 different classes, ages 12-16 how to work with MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Job Situation: HR Specialist describes her extracurricular activities and additional courses
Look at the examples above. They prove that you don’t need to be an executive or even a manager to have leadership skills.
In fact, enrolling in different courses on the topic shows you’re passionate about becoming a great leader and improving day by day. The same goes for volunteering roles.
So think about mentioning something besides your work experience. Maybe you were in charge of some school event? Or maybe you enrolled in a course about empathy and communication?
In short, you can add any kind of extracurricular activity that requires high levels of emotional intelligence, teamwork, organization, and flexibility.
Leadership skills: key takeaways for your resume
- Demonstrate devotion: talk about projects where you had to leave personal preferences aside and focus on common goals and benefits
- Prove you’re a team player: share more about the times you had to lead teams and mention how you’ve earned success
- Keep it to the point: use action verbs and choose the words you go for carefully; you’ll have plenty of time to elaborate on your strengths during the interview
- Use all parts of your resume: try to showcase your leadership skills in as many sections as possible (but be careful and don’t go over the top)
Looking for more tips on crafting a job-winning resume? Check out this guide!
About this report:
Data reflects analysis made on over 1M resume profiles and examples over the last 2 years from Enhancv.com.
While those skills are most commonly met on resumes, you should only use them as inspiration and customize your resume for the given job.