Which Leadership Skills on a Resume Matter? These Ones.

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June 30, 2023
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min read

3 key takeaways

  • What leadership skills are
  • Understanding important leadership skills (plus important leadership skills examples)
  • How to use the Teal AI Resume Builder to highlight and emphasize leadership skills

Do you know, deep down, that you’re a confident and capable leader, but you’re having trouble conveying that on your resume? 

Leadership skills are valuable to any company; if you’ve got them, that makes you valuable, too. But sometimes, it can be hard to transfer the concrete skills you have in real life onto a blank sheet of paper. 

That’s why, in today’s post, you’ll learn about the types of leadership skills you should add to a resume and how to demonstrate those skills when you land an interview. Then, you’ll discover the easiest way to update and organize the “Skills” section on your resume. 

Understanding leadership skills

Leadership skills. They’re more than just buzzwords; they’re the fundamental traits and abilities that allow you to lead, inspire, and bring out the best in others. 

And guess what? Demonstrated leadership skills are not just for CEOs or team leads.

Leadership skills are essential for all job applicants, regardless of industry or seniority level. Showcasing leadership skills signals your potential to contribute significantly to organizational growth, handle challenges, make decisive decisions, and foster a positive team dynamic. 

Here’s the dilemma, though: leadership skills are all about taking big swings and driving change. So how do you convey the impact of those skills on an 8.5 x 11-inch piece of paper? How do you convey your leadership experience on your resume in a way that stands out to hiring managers? 

That’s where the skills section of your resume comes into play. 

Importance of leadership skills on a resume

Simply put, leadership skills carry immense weight on your resume, showcasing you as a trailblazer, a trait that’s hard to come by for many companies. 

Here's why:

  • Leadership skills signal potential: They show that you're not just capable of performing tasks. You can actually manage, innovate, and take charge. It previews your capacity to rise and grow in your future roles within the company.
  • They highlight versatility: Leadership skills are not industry-specific. Whether you're an entry-level candidate or a seasoned executive, leadership skills can paint you as a versatile player, ready to add value to your team.
  • They connect to performance: Great leaders drive great results. By exhibiting strong leadership skills, you underscore your ability to positively impact job performance. 
  • They pave the path for advancement: Leadership underscores your readiness to handle more significant challenges and responsibilities, making you an ideal candidate for career advancement. With these skills, you're not just applying for a job; you're eyeing a fulfilling career.

A resume highlighting your leadership skills can (and should) showcase your future potential, not just your past performance. So, with that in mind, let's look at some leadership skills to put on a resume. 

Different types of leadership skills

Ok, this will sound cheesy, but think about leadership as a multifaceted gem. It shines differently based on the angle from which it's viewed. This is a nice visual way to grasp the many approaches and nuances to leadership skills.

With that in mind, let's dive into the key types that you should aim to highlight leadership skills on a resume:

1. Strategic thinking: As a strategic thinker, you don't just focus on the task in front of you. Instead, you keep an eye on the horizon, looking for future trends and challenges. You're ready to pivot, adapt, and, most importantly, guide your team toward their long-term goals.

2. Communication: Effective communication skills are key, whether giving a presentation or crafting that perfect email. Good leaders can clearly and convincingly share ideas and nurture an environment of open dialogue. 

3. Problem-solving: Obstacles? For problem solvers, they're opportunities in disguise. This skill involves analyzing a situation, evaluating possible solutions, and selecting the best course of action. It's about taking on challenges head-on and turning them into triumphs. 

If you’ve solved problems that have led to a positive and measurable outcome, you’ll definitely want to add this to your resume. 

4. Team building: No leader can succeed without a dedicated team. Effective team building and team leadership skills involve creating a positive working atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable contributing. As a team leader, you're the glue that holds everyone together, and it helps to show you’ve built that type of atmosphere in the past. 

5. Decision-making: Decisions shape destinies, and good leaders understand this. They can make informed choices quickly and efficiently, even under pressure. 

These are just a few of the most common leadership skills you may want to put on a resume. That said, the list is far from exhaustive. Here are a few other options you might consider: 

  • Emotional intelligence: The ability to manage and understand your emotions and those of the people around you.
  • Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and maintain poise under pressure.
  • Visionary thinking: The ability to map out long-term goals and strategic plans while inspiring others towards achieving them.
  • Cultural competence: Understanding, communicating with, and effectively interacting with people across cultures.
  • Conflict resolution: The ability to mediate disputes and foster a harmonious working environment.
  • Adaptability: Adjusting one's course of action based on changing circumstances, displaying flexibility.
  • Innovation: A leader who encourages new ideas and is open to taking calculated risks to drive progress.
  • Ethical decision-making: The ability to make decisions based on ethical considerations, maintaining integrity and transparency.
  • Empowerment: Enabling team members to take action and make decisions within their scope of work, fostering a sense of ownership.
  • Mentoring: Guiding and nurturing the professional and personal growth of team members.

But having a list in front of you isn’t helpful if you don’t know what leadership skills on the list you actually have. Let’s look at how you can figure out which skills would be most suitable for your position. 

How to identify your leadership skills

Identifying your leadership skills can be tricky. It involves digging deep into your achievements and feedback to uncover your unique leadership traits. 

Then comes the hard part: adding it to your resume without sounding like every other applicant. 

Here are some tips to help you find the leadership skills that make you unique. 

1. Reflect on your past: Think back to your professional and personal experiences. Maybe you spearheaded a project at work or coached a local sports team. What skills did you use? Did you inspire and motivate others, make tough decisions, or solve a difficult problem? 

Any measurable success you’ve had should be prominent on your resume.  

2. Seek feedback: Sometimes, it’s hard to see our own strengths and wins. That's where seeking feedback from colleagues, mentors, friends, and family can prove invaluable. They can provide an outside perspective and shed light on the times you've exhibited leadership qualities without realizing it.

If you seek advice from friends and family, however, be sure to consider the source. Your grandmother might see you as the world’s best leader, but you should have concrete examples of when you’ve demonstrated those traits. 

3. Self-assessment: Several reputable self-assessment tools and leadership quizzes are available online. These resources can help you identify and develop leadership skills and styles. Remember, these tools aren't definitive answers to what leadership skills you possess but guides to help you understand your capabilities better. 

Take Teal’s Work Style Assessment to help you build your confidence in your career journey.

Unlock your tailored career insights with Teal’s Work Style Quiz, a free career personality assessment.
Unlock your tailored career insights with Teal’s Work Style Quiz, a free career personality assessment.

4. Look for patterns: As you evaluate your experiences and feedback, look for recurring themes. Perhaps you're often the one to take the initiative or the person others turn to for advice. These patterns can reveal key leadership skills you consistently lean on.

Once you've identified your leadership skills, it's time to highlight them strategically on your resume. 

And remember, leadership on a resume isn't about listing a bunch of generic phrases—it's about proving that you've already put in the work. 

So, let's tell your leadership story in a way that leaves potential employers eager to learn more.

How to effectively convey leadership skills for your resume

Showcasing leadership skills on your resume is all about illustrating a compelling narrative that testifies to your leadership abilities. 

Here's your roadmap to doing just that:

Figure out what leadership skills you need 

Understanding what leadership skills you should highlight can make you a top applicant. This is where Teal's AI Resume Builder comes into play. Beyond just helping you craft an impressive resume, Teal also assists you in identifying the leadership skills that you need to highlight.

Here's how it works: Teal's AI Resume Builder analyzes the keywords and skills from a job posting, aligning your resume with what hiring managers and recruiters are actively seeking:

By highlighting these keywords, you can easily identify the most relevant skills to the role you're applying for and ensure they feature prominently on your resume.

Why is this important? Well, most companies now use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software in their hiring process. These systems scan resumes for specific keywords related to the job description.

It's important to note that ATS doesn't choose or eliminate candidates based on these keywords. Instead, recruiters can use ATS software to search for specific terms, but the software itself doesn’t  do any automated choosing or rejecting.

But if a hiring manager asked for a specific skill in the job descriptions, they just might be searching for it when the applications start pouring in. And in today’s job market, you should take every advantage you can get. 

Want to see how your resume stacks up against the job description? Try it yourself.

Make a stellar skills section

Consider your resume as your personal marketing document. It's not just a list of where you've worked and studied; it's a spotlight on what you bring to the table. 

And that’s where the “Skills” section comes in. This part of your resume is a chance to showcase the unique talents and abilities that make you the perfect fit for the job. 

But here's the kicker. We're not only talking about technical, hard skills like programming or financial analysis. We're also talking about those soft skills that make you a great team player, an effective communicator, or a visionary leader.

The resume skills section is your opportunity to demonstrate to potential employers that you've got what it takes to excel in the role, both in terms of the specific expertise required and the interpersonal skills that can make or break a team's success.

Show, don't just tell, in your experience section 

Bring your leadership skills to life through your resume summary and professional experience. For instance, don't just say you have "strong decision-making abilities." Instead, write, "used strong decision-making abilities to select and implement a new project management tool that reduced delivery times by 25%."

Remember, you're demonstrating what you’ve done here. If you can replace vague adjectives like “great” or “excellent” with concrete data, you’ll have a better shot at standing out. 

Celebrate your accomplishments

The resume accomplishment examples section of your resume is a critical space where you can display the real-world impacts of your leadership skills. 

But you need to maintain a balance when presenting your accomplishments. The line between confidence and arrogance can be thin, and it's important to navigate. 

The best way to tread this line is by relying on measurable results and letting them speak for themselves. For instance, "led a team that boosted sales by 20%" or "implemented a strategy that reduced costs by 30%."

And don’t forget that a good leader recognizes the value of teamwork and the importance of collaborative success. So, even while highlighting your individual contributions, acknowledge the collaborative nature of your accomplishments.

Leadership skills resume examples (for different positions)

Showcasing leadership skills on your resume should always be tailored to your target position. While the following list isn’t exhaustive, here are some skills you might add to a resume for five popular roles.

*Note the structure: Seniority: Skill - “How to describe that skill on a resume.”

1. Software Engineer

  • Entry-level: Problem-solving ability 

"Developed an algorithm to optimize the code, improving application performance by 15%."

  • Mid-level: Cross-functional collaboration

"Worked collaboratively with the design and product teams, ensuring seamless integration of 4 new features."

  • Senior-level: Strategic project management 

 "Led a team of 10 software engineers to complete a complex software update ahead of schedule."

Explore leadership skills from other software engineer resumes

2. Digital Marketing Specialist

  • Entry-level: Analytical skills

“Analyzed website traffic data to improve SEO strategies, leading to a 20% increase in organic traffic.

  • Mid-level: Campaign management 

"Managed a digital advertising campaign that resulted in a 30% increase in conversion rates."

  • Senior-level: Strategic planning

"Developed and executed a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that increased overall brand awareness by 40%."

Find more inspiration in the skill sections of other digital marketing specialist resumes

3. Sales Representative

  • Entry-level: Relationship building

"Built strong relationships with key clients, leading to a 15% increase in sales."

  • Mid-level: Negotiation skills

"Negotiated a key deal with a strategic partner, resulting in a 25% increase in annual revenue."

  • Senior-level: Team leadership 

"Led a sales team to exceed their quarterly targets by 20%, contributing significantly to the overall company revenue."

4. Customer Success Manager

  • Entry-level: Customer relationship management

"Managed relationships with 30 key accounts, achieving a customer satisfaction rate of 95%."

  • Mid-level: Conflict resolution

"Successfully resolved over 200 customer issues, resulting in a 50% decrease in customer complaints."

  • Senior-level: Customer success strategy

"Designed and implemented a customer success strategy that increased customer retention by 30%."

Working in CS? Check out these Customer Success resume skills

5. Product Manager

  • Entry-level: Project coordination

"Coordinated the successful launch of a new product feature in collaboration with cross-functional teams."

  • Mid-level: Product development

"Managed the development and successful launch of a product, leading to a 20% increase in user engagement."

  • Senior-level: Strategic product vision

"Developed a product roadmap aligned with company vision, contributing to a 50% increase in annual revenue."

Leadership skills are crucial in Product Management. Be sure to check out these 19 product resumes for additional inspiration as you craft your skills section. 

It’s important to remember that these are simply examples of leadership skills and how they should be expressed when fleshed out on a resume. 

But remember, every leadership skill tells a story about you as a professional, and your story is unique

That means you’ll need to find the leadership skills that fit your profile best. 

Let's explore some core leadership skills (and examples of how to express them) that are great to include on your resume, regardless of your position:

  1. Communication: As a team lead, facilitated effective communication that improved project delivery times by 25%.
  2. People management: Successfully managed a diverse team of 10, fostering a positive work environment and high levels of team satisfaction.
  3. Decisiveness: Demonstrated decisive leadership in a critical project turnaround, resulting in successful on-time and under-budget delivery.
  4. Conflict resolution: Resolved a long-standing conflict between departments, improving cross-departmental collaboration and productivity.
  5. Creativity and innovation: Introduced solutions that improved product performance by 30%.
  6. Change management: Led the department through a significant organizational change with minimum disruption, maintaining 100% project delivery during the transition period.

The trick is to showcase not just why the skill is worth highlighting but also what it says about you as a candidate and how it has helped achieve your or your team's goals. Feel free to copy and paste any of our examples of leadership words for resumes to make yours all the more impactful. 

Showcasing leadership skills in job interviews

So far, we’ve looked at how to add leadership skills to your resume. But what happens when you land your first interview? How can you demonstrate your skills to the person on the other side of the desk? 

Try a few of the following tips:

Draw from experience

The best way to showcase your leadership skills is to draw directly from your experiences. Your resume has already listed your leadership skills; now, it's time to bring them to life. 

Prepare several examples highlighting each skill, especially those most relevant to the position you're applying for.

For instance, if your resume mentions your strategic planning skills, you could discuss a time when your forward-thinking approach helped achieve a significant milestone, like, "When I was at XYZ Company, I developed a strategic plan that led to a 30% increase in product sales within six months."

Relating skills to job requirements

Another strategy is to directly tie your leadership skills to the job requirements. 

Let's say one of the job requirements is team management, for example, and your resume states that you've managed a team of 15 employees. During the interview, elaborate on how you used your leadership abilities to manage, motivate, and ensure productivity within your team.

You might say something like, "In my previous role, I managed a team of 15. I always ensured that each team member felt valued and motivated, which was reflected in our high team morale and exceeded productivity targets."

But if “team management” was a skill expressed in the job posting, you’ll want to share more stories about that skill during the interview. 

Using the STAR Method

The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method is an excellent way to structure your examples during the interview. It guides you to provide a complete story: describe the Situation and the Task you were responsible for, then the Action you took, and finally, the Result of your efforts.

An example might be: "When I was leading the product team at ABC Company (Situation), we were faced with a challenging deadline for a new product release (Task). I developed a detailed project plan and facilitated extra brainstorming sessions, which fostered team creativity and motivation (Action). We were able to launch the product ahead of schedule, which resulted in a significant increase in customer satisfaction and sales (Result)."

Practice using the STAR method when preparing stories for your next interview to make sure each example is structured and well-told. 

Using Teal’s AI Resume Builder to highlight leadership skills

Up to this point, we’ve covered the theory. And now? Let’s get down to action. 

You can create a resume in many ways, but Teal’s AI Resume Builder is hands down the easiest. 

With Teal, you can quickly and easily add a skills section to your resume and organize it as you see fit. 

All you need to do is sign up for Teal by clicking here and either create a resume from scratch or upload your existing resume. 

Scroll down to the “Skills” section and click “Add Skills”

Then simply add the skills you want to this section. 

When you’re done, you can drag and drop the “Skills” section of your resume anywhere you’d like to emphasize it accordingly. 

Organize your resume sections within Teal's AI Resume Builder.

Recent grads or people new to the workforce might place the “Skills” section higher on their, for example, to compensate for lack of concrete experience. More senior roles, however, might add skills below their “Work Experience” section, as this will complement tangible demonstrations of those skills in action. 

Teal’s intuitive platform offers flexibility in how you display your skills, putting you in the driver's seat

Final thoughts

Leadership skills, both on your resume and during an interview, are crucial to standing out in today's competitive job market. Tailoring these skills to match the requirements of your target position—whether you're an entry-level software engineer, a mid-level digital marketing specialist, or a senior product manager—can give you an edge over other candidates. 

Remember, every leadership skill tells a unique story about your professional journey.

In interviews, bringing these skills to life with compelling, concrete examples can show prospective employers what you're capable of. But before you get to the interview, you need a standout resume. 

And that's where Teal's AI Resume Builder comes in. 

This easy-to-use tool lets you add and organize a skills section on your resume in a way that best highlights your unique capabilities. Whether you're a recent grad or a seasoned professional, Teal's AI Resume Builder can help you craft a resume that showcases your leadership skills and tells your professional story in the most compelling way possible.

So don’t wait! Elevate your job hunt today by harnessing the power of Teal's AI Resume Builder today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I demonstrate leadership skills on my resume if I've never held a formal leadership position?

Highlight experiences where you've taken initiative, coordinated with others, or influenced outcomes. Use action verbs to describe situations where you've led projects, resolved conflicts, or mentored team members. Even without a formal title, these examples can showcase your leadership potential.

Should I include soft leadership skills on my resume, and if so, which ones are most impactful?

Yes, soft leadership skills like communication, emotional intelligence, and adaptability are crucial and highly valued by employers. Be specific by providing instances where you've effectively used these skills to lead a team or manage a project successfully.

How can I quantify my leadership experiences on my resume to make them more compelling?

Use metrics and tangible outcomes to illustrate your leadership impact. For example, mention the percentage increase in team productivity, the number of projects successfully completed under your guidance, or the growth in team size you managed. Quantifying achievements can significantly strengthen your leadership credentials.

Nathan Thompson

Nathan is a professional content marketer who's been lucky enough to write for some of the best SaaS brands on the planet, including Twilio, Trello, OptinMonster, TrustPulse, and more. When he's not obsessing over performance metrics, Nathan spends most of his time wrestling around with his kids.

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