Per the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Leadership: leveraging the strengths of others to achieve common goals and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others, is one of the competencies necessary for career readiness. A leader is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.
Psychology Today (available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/leadership) notes that leaders are likely to possess certain personality traits. Those characteristics include being sociable, ambitious, curious, and well-adjusted—and those traits may bear more weight even than intelligence. Successful leaders also tend to embody integrity and emotional intelligence characteristics that support cultivation of a fair, balanced, and enjoyable professional team.
So, how do you document leadership skills on your resume? Maybe you don’t feel that you have served as a leader. That just can’t be true! Take some time to reflect about events in your personal, academic and/or professional life, when people followed your lead. If you’re having trouble coming up with examples, ignore the word leadership and think of a time that you motivated someone, a time that you ignited a spark that resulted in a positive change, or a time that you piloted a group project. Now put those thoughts in to some strong resume bullet points such as:
• Coached a team of 15 little league baseball players, leading the team through a successful season and teaching the players how to win and lose with dignity
• Supported a group of freshman students, serving as a an unofficial mentor
• Organized an event to recruit new members for our Women in Aviation Chapter
• Created a student organization to promote communication between students, faculty and administration; Delegated tasks to the most qualified individuals and promoted teamwork
• Initiated and managed a family Facebook page, allowing input from over 30 family members, to plan a reunion, which resulted in a successful event for more than 150 family (& extended family) members
• Served as a mediator in a group project, when two sides of the group could not agree. This intervention resulted in a successful project and no hard feelings between group members
If you are still having issues identifying your leadership abilities, please consider speaking to your career counselor or program manager. Your Career Services department is here to help and wants nothing more than to see you succeed!
In conclusion, employers are looking for leaders at every level of their organization. You may find yourself in an entry level position, acting as a leader. Understand how important it is to demonstrate your leadership skills, with every possible opportunity. Be conscious of the times that you step up to lead and continue to perfect your leadership abilities.
Laurie Elliott is a Project Manager with ERAU Worldwide Career Services, previously spending many years as on Online Academic Advisor for the Worldwide Campus. She is originally from Flint, MI and now lives in Daytona Beach, FL. She completed her BS Degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and is working on an MS in Management at ERAU.