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Advice / Job Search / Resumes

34 Words & Phrases That Scream "I'm a Leader" on Resumes

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One of the most common types of people I work with are those aiming to elevate their brand messaging to more loudly announce, “I’m one hell of a leader!” as they change jobs.

It’s one thing to be good at tasks, projects, and areas of specialization, but if you’re aspiring to manage teams, you simply can’t stop there. You also have to position yourself as an inspiring, effective leader.

There are hundreds of words and phrases that’ll help give those who review your resume or speak to you in an interview an immediate hint that you’ve got leadership firepower.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Words 1-8 Words That Suggest You’re a Trailblazer

The person who lands any given job isn’t just a yes to the question, “Can he or she do the baseline requirements of this role?” That, of course, needs to be an affirmative. But, in virtually all instances, the top candidates for, will all be a solid yes to that question.

So, who gets the job? Partly, it’s the one who comes across as a true innovator and powerhouse. It’s the one who looks like he or she is going to take the ball (and the team) and run like hell (in the right direction).

1. Spearheaded

2. Pioneered

3. Ignited

4. Piloted

5. Transformed

6. Revitalized

7. Modernized

8. Optimized

Words 9-15 Words That Show You Can Manage the Money

Not every leadership role requires that you deal with budgets and money, but most of them will. In most organizations, managers (and directors, and VPs and C-level leaders) have budget accountability, quota accountability, or are working to performance metrics tied to the moolah.

Given this, you’ve got to be able to swiftly convey that you’re strategic, disciplined and smart when it comes to fiscal matters.

9. Budgeted

10. Cut costs

11. Drove growth

12. Invested

13. Reduced

14. Negotiated

15. P&L Accountability

Words 16-26 Words That Imply “Strong Developer of People”

If you’re working to land a leadership role, a key aspect of your job will likely involve inspiring and developing teams and the people on those teams. Again, you’re moving past the point at which the “stuff” you know how to do matters the most. Now it’s time to showcase your ability to rally others to pull off remarkable things.

16. Coached

17. Mentored

18. Supported

19. Shaped

20. Trained

21. Motivated

22. Uplifted

23. Advocated

24. United

25. Galvanized

26. We (Remember, folks, there’s no ‘I’ in team.)

Words 27-34 Words That Say “I’m Influential”

The best leaders aren’t just astute financial managers and strong people developers. They’re also most often among the more influential people within an organization. Simply put: They know how to get people to do what they want them to do, whether that’s team members, stakeholders from other business areas or departments, or direct customers.

When interviewing, you want to articulate very quickly that you’re someone people stop and pay attention to (in a good way) and go along with your ideas and strategies.

27. Negotiated

28. Convinced

29. Won

30. Gained buy-in

31. Prompted

32. Mobilized

33. Spurred

34. Propelled

Always remember that words matter. They matter a lot. Using the right one (in the right context) can help you convey that you’ve got the chops, the polish, and the charisma to light the world on fire.

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