How to write a leadership CV - with examples of leadership skills (2023)

Show that you have what it takes to level up your career!

Are you a natural-born leader? Do others follow where you tread? Whether you're currently a manager or want to take the next step up on the career ladder, including examples of leadership skills on your CV is a must. But what traits should you be highlighting here?

Luckily, we've got you covered with all the answers that you need. Within this guide, we'll look at why these traits are important and also define the leadership skills examples you should include on your CV. If you're looking for inspiration, read on to find out more.

What are leadership skills?

First things first, let's talk about what leadership skills are. These are the traits that allow you to manage a team of people or even just a small handful of individuals. Needless to say, when recruiters are looking to fill managerial vacancies, they expect candidates to have a broad selection of these skills.

Defining the skills of a leader can be hard. So what did history's greatest figureheads - from Martin Luther King to Winston Churchill - have in common? Pinpointing these in-demand traits could help you on the road towards levelling up your career.

How to identify your leadership style

The truth of the matter is that there's not just one leadership style. Before you start applying for managerial roles, you may want to investigate what works for you. While there's no magic formula to help you define this, you can try the steps below:

Consider the leadership skills you possess

We will shortly take a look at the main leadership skills examples you can include on your CV. While you're perusing our list, consider which of them apply to you. Which of the traits can you confidently say you have? How can you cultivate them and grow them over time?

(Video) Resume to Advance to a Leadership Role | Writing a Leadership Resume

Reflect on the leaders in your life

Over the course of your career, you will have come across a whole range of managers and supervisors. Which of them stood out to you? What techniques did they use that helped to motivate and push you forward? By taking a look at what each of these leaders did, you can start to develop a leadership style that suits both you and your wider team members.

Take a career personality test

Objectively analysing yourself can be hard. Taking a career-based personality test may help you to identify your core leadership traits. When you have learned what skills you tend to use and the characteristics you have, you can use them to your best advantage.

List of leadership skills examples and definitions

Ready to get started? If you're about to prepare your CV for a leadership position, you may be wondering what skills you should include. While there's a wide variety of talents you may want to highlight in your application, we've selected some of the most effective leadership skills examples. See if any match your talents and show them off on your CV:

1. Communication

Excellent communication is the foundation of any working relationship. It's the oil that makes things run smoothly. Research suggests that better internal communication can improve organisational productivity by up to 25%. Despite this fact, two-thirds of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their team. With that in mind, to set yourself aside from the crowd, you might want to include this core leadership skill on your CV.

When you're in a leadership position, you will need to share information and instructions with your team. Having a communication style that works for both you and the rest of the staff is vital. You need to effortlessly walk the line between approachable and authoritative. That can often be a difficult balance to find. However, when you get it right, it's worth it.

To elevate your communication skills to management level on your CV, you should consider including negotiation, public speaking, diplomacy and influencing.

2. Collaboration

Do you collaborate well with others? 86% of managers look for teamwork skills when deciding who to promote. If you're looking to take the next step up, you might want to highlight this important leadership skill on your CV. Showing that you can work effectively and efficiently as part of a larger team is essential if you're ready to take the reins.

(Video) How to demonstrate leadership in your CV and interview

Regardless of the sector in which you work, you'll need to work within a team towards a shared goal. That is a common theme from industry to industry. You're not a solo artist -you're part of a band. To make beautiful music, you need to play your part and jam with the other team members. Make sure that you highlight this skill when applying for jobs.

3. Decision making

Do you suffer from decision paralysis? Does the idea of choosing a path fill you with fear? Ordo you relish the chance to make a well-informed decision? If the latter is true, you might want to pop decision making on your list of leadership skills. When you're in a managerial position, you will need to make speedy choices every day. Having the ability to look at the available information and use it to your advantage is key.

While this is one of the most effective leadership skills examples, it's also rare. According to a McKinsey Global Survey, only 20% of respondents say that their organisation excels at decision making. You might say that leaves a lot to be desired. Equipped with this vital information, you can instantly enhance your CV. By stating that you're an excellent decision maker and providing some supporting evidence, you may just land that interview.

4. Conflict management

When we're talking about leadership skills examples, it would almost be a crime to leave this one out. Teams are made up of a range of individuals with different personalities. It should come as no real surprise if a couple of your team members clash on an important issue. So, how do you handle it?

Having the finesse to navigate these tricky tides will make you a great leader. It's not about validating one person over the other. Instead, you will need to see each employee's point of view and try to understand where they're coming from. If you're sprucing up your CV, it's worth including this leadership skill on it - along with examples of how you've used it.

5. Empathy

Empathy is a superpower. Only a quarter of employees believe that their organisations show sufficient empathy. That's a strikingly low proportion. When you're managing a team of people, it's important that you support their long-term goals and needs. You cannot do that effectively without understanding them and their perspective on a deeper level. Listing this one as part of your wider leadership skills list is a smart move if you want to land a job.

6. Adaptability

“There is nothing more constant than change,” as Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, allegedly said. Managers will know this fact better than most. When you're working in a company of any size, you'll find that you have to chop and change plans more often than you expect. So if you're looking to reach the highest ranks of your career, you'll need to be adaptable.

(Video) How to Emphasize Leadership Skills on Your Resume

It's worth considering the times when you've had to change your workflow or long-term plans. How did you effectively manage that transition? What sub-skills did you employ while doing so? What was the end result? The more detail you can give here, the more likely you are to wow a hiring manager with your talents.

7. Problem solving

Problems come and go -it's how you deal with them that matters in a hiring manager's eyes. Being able to deal with the issues that come your way is one of the top skills of a good leader. It means that you won't stumble when there are obstacles in your way. Instead, you think outside of the box and look for creative solutions that suit everyone.

Want to increase your problem solving abilities in an instant? Try having a coffee when you're at work. Research suggests that caffeine can have a positive impact on problem solving. Of course, there are other tactics that can help. For example, you may find that lowering your stress levels and getting more sleep each night supports your brain health.

8. Motivational skills

You don't have to jump up on stage and give a speech to be motivational. However, when you're running a team, you need to have the passion that drives them forward. Over half of all UK employees lack the motivation that they need in the workplace. As a manager, you'll need to tap into your teams' psyches and try to understand what drives them forward.

Finding your own motivational style is the secret to getting this right. You might give team members pep talks, lead the way by being full of motivation yourself, or listen to their concerns. You may do all three. Consider how you employ this particular top leadership skill in your work.

9. Dependability

Employers need managers and supervisors to be reliable. If you're the type of employee who turns up late, forgets to attend meetings, and misses deadlines, that's bad news. On the other hand, professionals who can prove that they are dependable have a fighting chance of landing a leadership role. Should that sound like you, include it on your CV.

10. Tech savviness

The modern business world is heavily reliant on technology -and this has only been accelerated by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Whether it's chatting to your team on Slack, having a Zoom call, or using Asana to manage your workflow, there are many applications to get your head around. So, the question is, are you tech savvy?

(Video) Showing Leadership on the Resume

Showing that you are competent using software and online platforms can bolster your leadership CV. If you choose to add this skill to your CV, expand on it where possible. For example, you may want to specify which software you've previously used.

Where to include leadership skills on your CV

Now that you know what leadership skills examples you should include on your CV, let's take a moment to talk about where to place them. The obvious area in which you should include them is your skills section. Yes, you can list some of the above traits in that area - although the focus should be on hard skills.

However, it shouldn't start and finish there. You can also pepper your career summary section with some of the skills you've used in each role. When you're bullet-pointing your achievements, be sure to add in some of these leadership skills examples. You can expand on them there and put them into a workplace context for potential employers.

The Takeaway

Armed with the right leadership skills, you can excel in the world of management. Showcasing these traits to hiring managers can make you stand out for all the right reasons. Take the time to consider which of the above skills you happen to have. When you've done that, it's worth taking the time to sprinkle them throughout your CV.

Looking to take your next step on the career ladder? Now that you have some ideas about which leadership skills examples to include, why not submit your CV for a free CV review?

Recommended reading:

  • Technical skills: Definitions and examples for your CV

  • How long does it take to find a job?

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How do you explain leadership skills on a CV? ›

Demonstrate your delegation skills on your resume by describing how you managed a team or project. Provide specific examples of how you delegated responsibilities, established expectations, tracked progress, and provided feedback.

What are leadership skills examples? ›

Almost any positive soft skill might be considered a leadership skill. For example, active listening helps leaders accomplish projects by hearing their team's ideas and concerns. Empathy helps leaders understand how their team feels about their workload or workplace relationships.

How do you say you are a leader in a CV? ›

“If you can identify words alluding to leadership like: lead, pioneer, direct, that will be a good starting point. Then, be sure to use those words as well as a variety of action verbs throughout your resume so as not to be redundant with the same verbs throughout.”

What are the five 5 leadership skills? ›

What Are the Top Five Skills Necessary for Effective Leadership?
  • Decisiveness. Leaders must make difficult decisions — often quickly — and justify their choices to colleagues and employees. ...
  • Critical thinking. ...
  • Motivation. ...
  • Integrity. ...
  • Team building.
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What are your top 3 leadership skills? ›

The 8 key leadership skills you need to know:
  • Relationship building.
  • Agility and adaptability.
  • Innovation and creativity.
  • Employee motivation.
  • Decision-making.
  • Conflict management.
  • Negotiation.
  • Critical Thinking.

What are the 4 C's of leadership? ›

A long time ago, I was inculcated with leadership principles called the “4 C's” -- competency, commitment, courage, and candor --which I still argue are the right basic leader values from initial leadership roles to senior positions of authority.

What are your strengths as a leader? ›

Other strengths include being empathetic, customer-focused, trustworthy, confidence, and selflessness. Additionally, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, strategic planning, creative thinking, flexibility, agility, selflessness, versatility, and quick learning ability are all essential leadership qualities.

How do you describe a good leader? ›

One good definition of an effective leader is "a person who does the following: Creates an inspiring vision of the future. Motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision. Manages delivery of the vision.

What 5 qualities make you a good leader in the workplace? ›

5 Essential Qualities of a Good Leader
  • Communication.
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  • Empathy.
  • Accountability.
  • Gratitude.
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What is the best leadership style? ›

Democratic leadership is one of the most effective leadership styles. This is because it allows lower-level employees to exercise the authority they'll need to use wisely in future positions.

What is the 10 qualities of a good leader? ›

Good leaders possess self-awareness, garner credibility, focus on relationship-building, have a bias for action, exhibit humility, empower others, stay authentic, present themselves as constant and consistent, become role models and are fully present.

What are four 4 key qualities of an effective leader? ›

Effective leaders are competent, skilled, secure, and considerate. These leaders find time for everyone; they are genuine and authentic in their communications and actions. People matter to them, and they openly demonstrate this fact to their employees.

How do I describe my skills level on my CV? ›

You can highlight your skill level by listing your skills in experience-based categories. This allows employers to identify the areas in which you claim to be an expert, proficient or novice.

How would you describe leadership role? ›

A leadership role is one where you are in charge of a team or entire organization. You have the ability to influence others and guide your team in a shared strategy. You're also responsible for building and maintaining employee morale, helping employees reach their full potential and inspiring employee loyalty.

What are the 7 core skills of a leader? ›

7 Essential Qualities of a Leader
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  • Strong Ethics and Standards. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Expresses Expectations. ...
  • Nurtures Growth. ...
  • Flexible to Change. ...
  • Creates Feeling of Togetherness.
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What is your greatest leadership skill? ›

Other strengths include being empathetic, customer-focused, trustworthy, confidence, and selflessness. Additionally, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, strategic planning, creative thinking, flexibility, agility, selflessness, versatility, and quick learning ability are all essential leadership qualities.

How do you list professional skills on a CV? ›

On your resume, list only skills that are relevant to the job, scan the job listing for must-have skills and list those (if you have them), pair each skill with a responding proficiency level, back up your skills with other resume sections, mention transferable and universal skills.

What are the 3 key responsibilities of a leader? ›

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What are 5 responsibilities of a leader? ›

Roles and Responsibilities of a Leader
  • Training new hires.
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  • Obtaining input and settling disputes.
  • Enabling each employee to realise his or her own potential and advance within the organisation.
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What is the best way to describe leadership? ›

In its simplest form, leadership is influencing other people to follow. Therefore, anyone who can influence people to follow them has leadership qualities. Leadership happens at all levels within organizations and society, not just among those who work in defined "leadership positions."


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