Did you know that nearly 73% of employers say leadership skills are a key attribute they look for on a resume? Leadership skills are so important that in 2020, leadership training was a $357 billion global industry.

Maximizing your leadership potential will catapult you to greater success, regardless of where you are in your career or what kind of job you’re applying for.

a table of the top 5 attributes employers seek on a candidate's resume

At Jobscan, we’re pretty much the experts on what hiring managers are looking for on your resume. We’ve scanned over a million resumes and helped job-seekers optimize their resume based on insider knowledge of the tools hiring managers use. Here’s everything you need to know about the leadership skills companies are looking for.

What Exactly Is Leadership?

First, it’s important to understand the qualities a hiring manager is looking for when they’re interviewing for a leadership role. So what are leadership skills?

Leadership is the ability to influence others and inspire them to take action, make things happen, and achieve desired outcomes. It is the ability to clearly communicate goals, rally and motivate people towards a vision, and take charge, especially during crises. It is about trying to be the best version of yourself while empowering others to become the best version of themselves.

Why Leadership Skills Matter as a Job-Seeker

For employers, hiring employees with good leadership skills can significantly impact the entire organization’s performance, productivity, and morale. Hiring, retaining, and developing leaders can set a company up for long-term success.

As a job-seeker, you need to understand how and where you excel as a leader and so you can explain those skills on your resume and in an interview.

Employers believe that employees who are good leaders are more productive and excel in their work. They are more driven to continuously improve, and are more likely to stay and take on more responsibilities. So if you want to boost your career, add value to your organization, and get to the top of your field, you need to develop and demonstrate leadership skills.

There are many core values and leadership skills you can highlight to show what kind of leader you are and how you can help the company.

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9 Core Leadership Values Examples

Leadership values are the guiding principles that underpin our actions and behaviors as leaders. These values permeate into different aspects of our life and will impact those around us.

Here are 9 examples of core leadership values that you can highlight to hiring managers.

  1. Influence
    • This is the ability to affect other people, motivate them, and move them towards a certain direction. Effective leaders have the ability to rally people behind a specific vision and impact their beliefs, values, and actions.
  1. Vision
    • Leading without vision is like being a captain of the boat with no rudder – yes, there is movement, but there is no specific direction, and thus, no destination. A leader with a clear and compelling vision can chart the course towards a chief end goal. That compels other people to trust and follow him.
quote from lee kuan yew on leadership
  1. Passion
    • Passion fuels the leader to keep on going, even through difficult times. This quality keeps one fully committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve goals and help others do the same.
  1. Integrity
    • Warren Buffett famously said that of all the qualities he looks for when hiring, integrity is the most important. People who have integrity take responsibility for their actions and hold themselves accountable. They do the right thing even when it’s difficult and even when no one is watching.
quote from abraham lincoln on leadership
  1. Commitment
    • Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, said that “there’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” Commitment goes beyond just showing up for work. It’s investing your time and effort into your organization’s vision and staying dedicated to achieving organizational goals and metrics.
  1. Empathy
    • Empathy is the ability to put oneself in other people’s shoes and understand where they are coming from. It is seeking to understand the needs of others and being considerate of how they feel. 
  1. Excellence
    • Excellence is giving your best in anything you do and going above and beyond to surpass expectations. Hiring someone with this value is the dream of recruiters since it leads to organizational success.
  1. Empowerment
    • Bill Gates said that the ability to empower others is a defining leadership trait. He said: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Empowerment means being able to equip others and push them to be the best they can be in their work.
quote by mother teresa on leadership
  1. Ownership
    • Ownership is taking full responsibility of our work, acknowledging our failures and mistakes, and not putting the blame on anyone or anything when things go wrong. Effective leaders take ownership of whatever work is given to them and treat the organization as if they own it. People with ownership have skin in the game.

Leadership Skills List

Beyond your core values, leadership skills are actionable tools that enable you to motivate others, deliver projects and tasks, drive high performance and productivity, encourage ideas and feedback, and empower those around you.

A hiring manager will be interested in your leadership values. But your demonstrated skills are what will land you the job.

12 Important Leadership Skills Needed in Every Career

So what are some examples of leadership skills you can showcase as a job-seeker? Here’s a list of leadership skills that every hiring manager is going to look for.

  1. Self-awareness
    • Self-awareness is the ability to see ourselves fully and understand who we are – our strengths and weaknesses, our dreams and passions, what ticks us off, what motivates us, our blind spots, our personality, values and emotions, and how these affect our actions and impact those around us. According to the authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, 83% of people who have high self-awareness are top performers.
  1. Communication
    • Communication is a key skill employers look for. One survey shows that 69% of recruiters are confident in hiring new graduates with strong communication skills, despite their lack of experience.
    • People who have strong communication skills are able to think clearly and express their ideas and opinions in a way that listeners can understand. Effective communicators are able to share ideas through conversing, presenting, facilitating, and writing. They know how to share information across different audiences at the organizational level, with peers, or even on a wider scale. Great communicators are also great listeners.
  1. Learning
    • Leaders must have the willingness and passion to pursue constant learning, retooling, and upskilling. The world is changing, so it is critical for us to continually upgrade our skillset, seek new knowledge, and try new methods of doing things. Effective leaders abide by the growth mindset predicated on the fact that anything can be learned and improved.  
  1. Agility
    • People who demonstrate agility can move easily and pivot quickly during challenges and unexpected events. It is the ability to anticipate change, make smart decisions in light of it, and decide which moves to make next.
  1. Collaboration and teamwork
    • Collaboration and teamwork are important contributors to maximizing the success of any business or organization. Leaders know how to work well with others and collaborate with colleagues and peers to solve problems and achieve company goals.
  1. Problem-solving 
    • This is the ability to reframe a problem, pinpoint the root cause, strategize on how to solve it, and execute the strategy.
  1. Delegation 
    • A good delegator has the ability to entrust a task or project to another person without controlling every aspect of it as if they were still managing it. At the same time, they must be able to motivate the new owner to achieve the desired goal within the allotted time.
  1. Conflict resolution 
    • This is the ability to mediate between disputes and resolve conflicts in a peaceful and effective way.
  1. Organization & time management 
    • Organization is the ability to put order amidst chaos. People with organizational skills know how to organize information, projects, and people while forging a clear plan of action. Time management is one’s ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and make the most out of every minute that’s available.
  1. Motivation 
    • Leaders are inherently motivated people. They know where to draw inspiration to keep on doing the hard work and delivering results. They also know how to motivate others towards achieving company goals.
  1. Adaptability
    • Adaptability enables you to pivot and change strategies, approaches, and processes as new challenges and conditions arise in the organization, business, or industry. 
  1. Technology skills
    • Technology continues to evolve and advance at a rapid pace. To stay effective and relevant, you need to learn technological skills. This will not only make you more competitive, but will also help you finish tasks and projects faster.

Does your resume list all the leadership skills the hiring manager is looking for? Use this free resume scanner to compare your resume with the job description. Find out how closely your resume matches.

How to Demonstrate Leadership Skills

Leadership isn’t limited to those who hold positional authority. Wherever you are in your professional and personal life, you can demonstrate leadership and grow in your leadership potential. Here are some ways you can demonstrate leadership.

Follow through with your commitments

One way of demonstrating leadership is by making things happen and following through with whatever you say you’re going to do. Taking responsibility and showing that you mean what you say speaks volumes about the kind of leader you are.

Go above and beyond what is expected

Doing your job and delivering results will have a huge impact on your organization’s success, but going above and beyond what’s expected of you is on another level. 

Delivering high performance and exceeding expectations will make you a valuable asset to the organization. This will also dramatically upgrade you as a leader because you are always on the lookout for things that stretch you and your skills.

Do world-class work even in menial things

You can demonstrate leadership by doing even small tasks exceptionally well, even when there is no “pat on the back”. 

Martin Luther King said: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” 

In whatever you do, be it delivering a presentation to your board, representing the company at a conference, or making a cup of coffee for your boss, you can choose to give your best and be world-class in your world and your service.

Accept feedback

Another way of demonstrating leadership is by accepting feedback from your bosses and even from your colleagues. Leaders always want to improve and grow in their skills and character. When you accept feedback, you show others that you are not only humble and willing to learn and change, but that you are committed to becoming better.

Help colleagues who have problems

Helping your workmates and peers is also another way to demonstrate leadership. People who go out of their way to serve and help others foster an environment of collaboration, respect, and teamwork. When you help your colleagues, you show them that you aren’t just looking out for your own interests, but that you care for others and want them to succeed.

Celebrate the success of others

Leaders aren’t insecure when those around them are succeeding. In fact, leaders celebrate the milestones and successes of others genuinely. You can demonstrate that you are a leader by cheering on your workmates and celebrating their accomplishments.

How to Showcase Leadership Skills on Your Resume

List your leadership skills on your resume so that you stand out to employers and hiring managers. A word of caution though: Don’t overdo it. Here are some pointers when writing your resume.

  • Read about the company and what it stands for. Study the job description so that you have an idea of the values the company upholds and the specific skills required for the job.
  • Include leadership roles you’ve taken and provide specific examples of when you demonstrated leadership in those roles in the Achievements section. You can also write quantifiable results you achieved as a leader to show recruiters and hiring managers your impact with hard numbers.
  • Include leadership skills in your Skills section.
  • Outline relevant leadership training, education, and certifications.
  • List all leadership skills mentioned in the job description that you have and incorporate them into your resume. 
    • Jobscan’s Optimization Tool makes this easy. It pulls out all the skills listed in the job description in seconds so you can quickly add them to your resume.

How to Develop Good Leadership Skills

Let’s say you’ve read this entire article and realized you have some work to do before applying for that leadership role you have saved. What do you do now? Well, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story!

Becoming a great leader does not happen overnight. Like a muscle, you need to work on it and exercise it. There are many ways to do this but here are four ways you can develop your leadership skills. 

Find a mentor

Look for someone you respect and consider as a great leader you would want to emulate. Ask them if they are open to being your mentor – to train you, teach you, and speak the truth to you.

Read books about leadership

There are a myriad of books and resources about leadership written by people who have strong leadership skills. Reading about leadership is worth investing into.

Take a class on leadership

There are classes on leadership that you can take both online and in-person.

Talk to manager and co-workers

Find the time to sit down with your manager and co-workers and ask them to help you assess your leadership and develop your skills.

Being a great leader and developing leadership skills will help you in your career. More than that, these skills will permeate into different aspects of your life and affect how you do things and how you deal with those around you. These skills will also help boost your career, get you to the top of your field and industry, and give you lifelong success. 

Maximizing your leadership skills and becoming the best leader you can be takes time and effort, but it is worth it!

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