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34 words and phrases that scream “I’m a leader” on resumes

34 Words And Phrases That Scream “I’m A Leader” On Resumes

Originally published by the Muse.

It’s one thing to be good at tasks, projects, and areas of specialization, but if you’re aspiring to manage teams, you have to position yourself as an inspiring, effective Leader. How do you do that?

There are hundreds of words and phrases that’ll help give those who review your Resume an immediate hint that you’ve got leadership firepower.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Words that suggest you’re a trailblazer

When hiring managers are looking to bring in a leader, someone to help drive growth and performance, they’ll assume that most applicants can meet the baseline requirements. What they’re really looking for, though, are true innovators. They want a powerhouse; someone that is going to take the ball (and the team) and run like hell (in the right direction).

Here are some words that suggest you’re a trailblazer:

1. Spearheaded

2. Pioneered

3. Ignited

4. Piloted

5. Transformed

6. Revitalized

7. Modernized

8. Optimized

Words that show you can manage the money

Not every leadership role requires that you deal with budgets and money, but most organizations, managers (and directors, 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 convey that you’re strategic, disciplined, and smart when it comes to fiscal matters. Here are some terms that can get attention:

9. Budgeted

10. Cut costs

11. Drove growth

12. Invested

13. Reduced

14. Negotiated

15. P&L accountability

Words that imply “strong developer of talent”

If you’re working to land a leadership role, a key aspect of your job will likely involve inspiring and developing members of your team. 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.

Here are some words that can convey this key skill:

16. Coached

17. Mentored

18. Supported

19. Shaped

20. Trained

21. Motivated

22. Uplifted

23. Advocated

24. United

25. Galvanized

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

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 applying for a job (and even 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.

Here are some words you should be using to showcase how influential you really are:

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.

Jenny Foss is a career strategist, recruiter, and the voice of the popular career blog Based in Portland, OR, Jenny is the author of the  Ridiculously Awesome Resume Kit and the Ridiculously Awesome Career Pivot Kit. Also check out the recently-launched Weekend Resume Makeover Course, find Jenny on Twitter @JobJenny, and book one-on-one coaching sessions with her on The Muse’s Coach Connect.

See also:

The 10 words you need to cut from your resume

How to tailor your resume to any job posting

How to optimize your resume for the 10-second skim

What to include on your resume to get an IT job


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34 words and phrases that scream “I’m a leader” on resumes


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