Leadership is essential to many professional jobs across all levels, particualrly business management. Here’s how to demonstrate leadership qualities in your CV.
Business management is so varied that the skills you’ll need for each role varies hugely. But one area you can guarantee all employers are looking for in a business management applicant is the ability to lead or manage a team.
Below are our top 5 tips on how to fool the AI screening process and charm the human hiring manager by showing evidence of your leadership skills.
1. List volunteer work
Ideally, examples to highlight your leadership skills should come from a current or recent paid job. But we appreciate this is more challenging if you’re a student or in a junior role that hasn’t given you such an opportunity to step up. This is why referring to voluntary or charity work is a great way around this chicken and egg situation.
Whether you’re a Girl Guide or Scout leader or you’ve hiked Kilimanjaro for charity, your volunteer work is important.
It demonstrates more than leadership: it shows you’re motivated and confident. Even small contributions to your community or setting up a local charity gig can all demonstrate your ability to dedicate your skills, time, and attention to something outside of yourself.
As a leader, you’re a team manager: you need to show awareness of other people’s needs, and the ability to contribute to their success by supporting them. Charity or volunteer work reflects this.
2. Provide concrete results
Just telling someone you’re a great leader isn’t good enough. You need specific and measurable examples of times you demonstrated leadership and succeeded. Draw out an example of when you came up with an idea and made it happen. Words like ‘spear-headed’, ‘pioneered’, ‘modernised’ and ‘optimised’ are all work well here as they suggest you’re a trailblazer.
3. Emphasise people and communication skills
Being a great leader is all about making sure everyone understands their role, the bigger picture, and their place in a team. It’s also about inspiring and helping your team to remain motivated and flourish. In addition to being brilliant at communicating with others, words that imply you’re good with people include ‘supported’, ‘trained’, ‘mentored’ or ‘motivated’ or ‘galvanised’.
Again, simply saying you’re a great communicator won’t work – give examples of how you’ve used your communication skills to succeed. For example, if you shaped and implemented a new team-working process using software like Trello or Jira, mention it. It’ll demonstrate your understanding that communication and organisation are essential leadership qualities.
4. Focus on budget experience
Managing teams goes hand-in-glove with fiscal responsibilities. Make sure you mention times you’ve had an impact or responsibility for a project or organisational budget.
For example, if you introduced an office recycling campaign, and saved your organisation money, include a figure to highlight how much this slashed office costs. Or, perhaps you’ve run a marketing campaign: describe how you created – and stuck to – the campaign budget to show your ability to plan financial elements essential for leaders to understand.
Leaders need to control the purse strings – so if you’ve managed to reduce costs, stick to budgets, or negotiated savings with suppliers, make sure you shout about this experience.
5. Influencing others
The strongest leaders aren’t just astute with money. Their roles often involve making decisions that will impact colleagues or their entire organisations. This means an ability to influence others through, which might involve negotiating with, convincing or even prompting and mobilising others.