50 Powerful Keywords to Put on Your Resume to Indicate You’re a Leader

words to leave off resume

You are probably aware that hiring managers typically spend only a few seconds visually scanning each resume before deciding whether to discard it or move it along for further review. Theyre not poring over every single carefully chosen word or well-crafted sentence youve likely spent hours polishing. Employers seek powerful keywords about your experience that align with the job description for the role youre applying to and indicate that you have the most important skills the position requires.

In fact, by the time your resume reaches the hiring manager’s hands, it has probably already been interpreted by the employer’s applicant-tracking software, which has searched for the keywords the company has determined are most important for the role being filled. If your resume lacks enough pre-determined management/leadership keywords for the role, the hiring manager may never even hold your resume in his or her hands.

If youre applying to any type of leadership position or if you have past leadership experience, the word manage” probably shows 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, so you’ll want to take care to avoid overusing the word. Instead, consider limiting your use of manage” on your resume, opting instead for more powerful, descriptive synonyms that concretely communicate your ability to effectively lead people and projects.

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The best way to determine which leadership keywords to use is to scrutinize the words in the job posting. Skills and requirements are usually listed in priority order, so be sure to use keywords from the top of the list. Also look for the frequency with which words in the job posting are mentioned; the greater the frequency, the more important.

To supplement words from the job posting, and to avoid overusing forms of “manage,” consult this list of 50 Powerful Leadership Keywords to Include on Your Resume (a.k.a., better alternatives to the word manage”):

  1. Accelerated
  2. Administered
  3. Attained buy-in
  4. Built
  5. Coached
  6. Collaborated
  7. Conducted
  8. Consolidated
  9. Delegated
  10. Directed
  11. Drove
  12. Empowered
  13. Engineered
  14. Enhanced
  15. Exceeded
  16. Executed
  17. Facilitated
  18. Formulated
  19. Galvanized
  20. Guided
  21. Helmed
  22. Ignited
  23. Implemented
  24. Initiated
  25. Instructed
  26. Launched
  27. Led
  28. Mediated
  29. Mentored
  30. Mobilized
  31. Optimized
  32. Organized
  33. Overhauled
  34. Oversaw
  35. Piloted
  36. Pioneered
  37. Presided over
  38. Propelled
  39. Revitalized
  40. Shaped
  41. Spearheaded
  42. Spurred
  43. Steered
  44. Streamlined
  45. Strengthened
  46. Supervised
  47. Trained
  48. Transformed
  49. Uplifted
  50. Won

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