19 Powerful Keywords (Besides “Manage”) to Put on Your Resume to Indicate You’re a Leader


It’s an often-cited statistic in the job recruitment world: hiring managers typically spend an average of six seconds scanning each resume before deciding whether to discard it or move it along for further review. Six seconds. This means they’re not pouring over every single carefully chosen word or well-crafted sentence you’re likely spent hour polishing.

Instead, they’re looking for powerful keywords in your experience that align with the job description for the role you’re applying to and indicate that you have the most important skills the position requires. These keywords are also important for getting your resume past “applicant tracking systems” that sort through resumes looking for relevant words, phrases, and terms before they even make it to a live human reader.

If you’re applying to any type of leadership position or if you have past leadership experience, you’ll probably have the word “manage” show up several times throughout your resume, CV, or cover letter. But, “managed” is also one of the most commonly used verbs on resumes to describe past leadership experience, and, as such, you’ll want to take care not to overuse the word. Instead, consider limiting your use of “manage” on your resume to just a few times, opting instead for more powerful, descriptive synonyms that more concretely communicate your ability to effectively lead people and projects.

19 Powerful Leadership Keywords to Include on Your Resume (aka, better alternatives to the word “manage”):

  1. Trained
  2. Mentored
  3. Led
  4. Spearheaded
  5. Launched
  6. Supervised
  7. Oversaw
  8. Instructed
  9. Engineered
  10. Presided over
  11. Guided
  12. Directed
  13. Administered
  14. Coached
  15. Piloted
  16. Drove
  17. Mobilized
  18. Built
  19. Organized

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