If you want to climb the career ladder, having a strong set of leadership skills is key.
Leadership encompasses everything from strategy creation, to achieving lofty team goals, but how do you describe leadership skills for your CV?
In this article, we’ve laid out 50 leadership skills for you to include on your CV, so you can wow recruiters and bag that management role.
Top leadership skills
When it comes to leadership skills, these are the top ten that you want to be including on your CV:
- Delegation – e.g. “Managed a diverse roster of key clients, assigning given projects to our sales team and marketing team and overseeing each project’s progress.”
- Accountability – e.g. “Was given responsibility for overseeing 100+ PR campaigns for various clients, tasked with successfully delivering campaigns on deadline.”
- Trustworthiness – e.g. “Maintained employee retention of 100% during role as senior project manager, while securing high-profile clients within the finance sector.”
- Motivation – e.g. “Incentivised our marketing team with a bonus scheme for new leads, resulting in over 100 new leads and a streamlined Call to Action process.”
- Empathy– e.g. “Listened to employee suggestions to switch to a part-time WFH system, with employees given greater flexibility and more choice over the days they come into the office.”
- Delivery– e.g. “Met and exceeded our monthly sales targets throughout fiscal years 2018 and 2019, while maintaining 100% employee retention.”
- Crisis management– e.g. “Prevented the company from going into administration by negotiating partial takeover with [company name], saving 40+ jobs.”
- Strategic thinking – e.g. “Initiated A/B testing process and CRO to improve our web rankings, eventually moving our entire website to a more optimised WordPress system.”
- Risk management – e.g. “Cut overheads by focusing our marketing team on customer retention rather than acquiring new leads, resulting in a 35% decrease in annual spending and 26% increase customer retention.”
- Organisation – e.g. “Oversaw company acquisition period while retaining full department of employees and onboarding several employee transfers.”
People management skills
Want to show off your people management skills? Here are the top skills to show off on your CV:
- Emotional intelligence – e.g. “Installed an employee suggestion box, where employees could give anonymous suggestions on optimising our work environment and its practices.”
- Feedback – e.g. “Conducted monthly performance assessments with new employees, encouraging an exchange of ideas and suggestions and giving constructive criticism and feedback.”
- Coaching – e.g. “Mentored long-term employees in our corporate training programme, helping them apply for supervisor roles and performing skills assessments.”
- Discipline – e.g. “Encouraged higher office productivity by enforcing minimum revenue targets with bonus incentives for high-achieving employees.”
- Recruitment – e.g. “Hired over 30+ new personnel to assist our scaling efforts, building a diverse and competent team across several departments.”
- Empathy – e.g. “Integrated a mental health and wellbeing initiative into our onboarding process, permitting employees to take extra personal days and speak with professionals during periods of stress.”
- Training – e.g. “Created and designed official company training courses, training over 200 new employees in 10 locations across the UK in 6 weeks.”
- Negotiation – e.g. “Achieved a 3% budget increase for our marketing team, allowing us to expand our B2B demand generation.”
- Delegation – e.g. “Assigned client projects to the marketing department while managing the sales team as they nurtured leads.”
- Conflict resolution – e.g. “Settled dispute between two departments competing for budget increases, balancing a budget increase for both departments by cutting unnecessary overheads.”
Project management skills
When it comes to project management skills, here are some of the most desirable skills recruiters are looking for:
- Planning – e.g. “Used customer data on purchasing habits to overhaul our web and email strategy, targeting our customers most receptive to sales promotions and discounts.”
- Scheduling– e.g. “Managed the day-to-day running of the shop, planning the Rota, scheduling supplier deliveries and performing cash inventory.”
- Risk management – e.g. “Worked to reach a last-minute negotiation with acquisition party, halting a hostile takeover and preventing several job losses.”
- Meeting deadlines– e.g. “Project managed over 50 client campaigns in 2018 alone, supervising campaigns from start to finish with all projects delivered before deadline.”
- Budget management– e.g. “Cut overheads and achieved a 2% spending decrease EOY 2019, working with the sales department on reducing our CAC.”
- Forecasting– e.g. “Used customer data and behavioural segmentation to expand our business into new target markets.”
- Creativity – e.g. “Cut back on paid advertising by implementing a web SEO strategy, decreasing our annual advertising spend by 54% while increasing our web ranking.”
- Strategic Thinking – e.g. “Implemented marketing automation, cutting costs in our customer service department and streamlining our customer complains system.”
- Decision-making – e.g. “Implemented new RPM strategy with a hyper-focus on retention and expansion.”
- Onboarding– e.g. “Onboarded new employees, performed trial assessments with candidates and interviewed those shortlisted.”
Being a good leader is all about motivating your team. Here are some of the top motivational skills to demonstrate on your CV:
- Active listening – e.g. “Implemented employee suggestions to renovate our CMS, switching to a more optimised software, streamlining communications and staff operations.”
- Persuasion – e.g. “Negotiated an extra 7 days holiday allowance for all employees in exchange for increased sales revenue; both objectives met.”
- Goal setting – e.g. “Met goal of increasing our web ranking, achieved a third-place ranking on the first page of Google, up from 18th.”
- Relationship building – e.g. “Implemented successful lifecycle marketing strategy, increasing customer retention by 12% and increasing online engagement across all social media channels by 36%.”
- Rewards and benefits – e.g. “Implemented the company’s first ever employee-of-the-month scheme, rewarding high-performing employees with days off, financial bonuses and gift vouchers.”
- Verbal communication skills – e.g. “Gave speeches to shareholders during our annual conference 2017-2019, building confidence in our vision and obtaining further VC funding.”
- Positivity – e.g. “Implemented casual-dress Fridays and optional fortnightly game nights to motivate employees and encourage team building.”
- Team Building – e.g. “Assigned group projects across departments to enhance employee relationships and create a more dynamic working environment.”
- Interpersonal Skills – e.g. “Conducted interviews with shareholders, suppliers, prospective employees and investors.”
- Incentivising – e.g. “Negotiated with upper management to lift the cap on commissions for our sales team, resulting in a 19% increase in sales in 3 months.”
- Mentoring – e.g. “Implemented training schemes for internal employees looking to advance their career within the company.”
Soft skills for leadership
Soft skills are essential when it comes to leading a team and remaining organised. Here are the top soft skills for leadership to put on your CV:
- Communication – e.g. “Composed monthly company newsletter for employees, detailing upcoming scheduling, any problems and goals for the coming month.”
- Adaptability– e.g. “Switched from project managing our PR department to project managing all communications, marketing and PR teams.”
- Flexibility – e.g. “Visited clients on a day-to-day basis while overseeing all communications and customer disputes in-office.”
- Public speaking– e.g. “Held monthly shareholder meetings to discuss funding, future planning and key goals for the company going forward.”
- Problem-solving skills – e.g. “Fixed poor web rankings through overhauling our CMS and CRM, with a focus on conversational marketing and a new personalised customer service system.”
- Coordination Skills – e.g. “Liaised with all departments on any given workday, reporting to upper management and writing reports on company targets while maintaining a direct line with all employees.”
- Written skills – e.g. “Produced annual reports, white papers and press releases while handling all email correspondence with suppliers.”
- Dependability – e.g. “Was responsible for project managing all new PR client projects from 2019-2020, working with our communications team to assigning task managers to each project.”
- Time management– e.g. “Managed to meet 59 project deadlines within one year, including high-profile PR campaign for [company name].”
- Networking – e.g. “Organised company-wide meetings with all local branches, networking new employees and discussing future collaborations with fellow line managers.”
- Analysis – e.g. “Used online data to target our advertising campaign at our two most important customer demographics.”
- Organisational skills – e.g. “Managed the day-to-day operations of an office of 50+ employees, handling supplier issues and maintaining communications across 7 departments.”
What makes a good leader?
A good leader isn’t just somebody who knows how to give orders or delegate tasks within a team. Being a good leader often means being open to suggestions, being a good listener and being a helpful coach or mentor.
Leadership also requires a certain degree of integrity, and the ability to make good decisions and deliver success based on the decisions taken. Accountability, responsibility and good strategic planning are all essential qualities and skills needed to be an effective leader.
Above all, leaders need to know how to motivate their employees in order to consistently deliver results. Motivating your team to produce their best work is half of the job when it comes to being a manager, so you also need good motivation skills and team-building skills.
What are leadership skills?
Leadership skills describe your ability to lead, influence and manage a team or an organisation. Having strong leadership skills demonstrates that you’re competent in people management, influence, negotiation and delivering success.
Leadership skills also include your soft skills as a manager: whether you’re good at coaching, setting goals, active listening and motivation.
Having good leadership skills means being able to deliver success when you’re in charge of a project, team or business. Put simply, leadership skills encompass everything from onboarding new employees to delivering success for your company or organisation.
Why are leadership skills important?
If you want to climb the corporate ladder, leadership skills are essential. Having strong leadership skills with tangible examples on your CV will demonstrate to any employer that you’re reliable, competent and can deliver success.
In addition, leadership skills are important not just for impressing employers and landing jobs, but doing your job well. With a dependable set of leadership skills, you’ll be able to perform your job to a high standard in almost any corporate environment.
Leadership skills also demonstrate a key advantage in your employability: dependability and reliability. If you want to land a management job, you need to prove that your team can depend on you for success.
How to include leadership skills on your CV
You can include leadership skills on your CV in two ways, either in your CV profile or in the work experience section of your CV.
If you’re aiming for management roles or related leadership roles, it’s a good idea to include your leadership skills in both your CV profile and in the work experience section of your CV.
If you’re not applying to management positions and want to tailor your CV to another type of role or industry, you can just add your leadership experience to your work experience. If some of your leadership skills are relevant to the job you’re applying to, you can include them in both sections.
In your CV profile
If you want your core leadership skills to stand out, you should highlight them in your CV profile.
Your CV profile is the first thing that a recruiter is going to see, so if you’re applying for management positions it’s a good idea to highlight your leadership skills right away.
Make sure to tailor your CV profile when applying to different jobs, by highlighting the most important leadership skills first to capture the attention of the recruiter.
You can show off your leadership skills in your CV profile via the format shown in the image below:
In your jobs
You also have the option of including your leadership skills in the work experience section of your CV. This is a great way to show off real-world examples of your leadership competences and demonstrate the value you brought to your previous roles.
You should also make sure to include your achievements related to your leadership skills in the work experience section of your CV.
You can show off your leadership skills in the work experience section of your CV, following the format shown in the image below:
What to Avoid
Recruiters don’t like cliches and buzzwords, so simply listing that you have “leadership skills” or that you’re a “good team leader” isn’t going to wow a potential employer. Your CV is going to be competing with potentially hundreds of others, so it’s important not to be generic.
Most importantly, employers are looking for proof of the skills that you claim to have in your profile. If you list various leadership skills, a recruiter will be looking for evidence of these skills in your work experience. It’s important to back up your claims with key examples and achievements.
Put simply, a potential employer is keen to know what value and success a candidate can bring to their organisation. So, avoid generalities and cliches, describe your core leadership skills in your CV profile, and back up these skills with proof in the work experience section of your CV.