It seems like everyone these days is looking for leadership experience. Even if you were looking for employment yourself, you would want to know what you were getting into. What do the employers look for? How do they weed out the bad leaders from the good leaders? How do they ensure that the people they get are going to be effective leaders? Well, they could all work for themselves, of course, but if you are seeking leadership positions yourself, how do you learn how to get the most out of your leadership training?
Here are a few tips that may help. First, keep in mind that employers aren’t looking to just find one great skill; they are looking for many skills. In an organization, there are often many levels of management and different functional areas within an organization. What does that mean for you? If you have had any leadership experience at all, and you are applying for a customer service supervisor position, you must absolutely list that on your resume!
This includes both personal leadership experience (in an official capacity) and your performance as a manager or coworker. This will highlight both of your abilities. Let’s take a look at an example. You might list your prior experience as a property manager or sales manager and how this has helped you in your current position. This will highlight your expertise and give your potential employers an idea of how well you handle people.
It is also important to list any supervisory duties you have had (i.e. someone who has supervised you on the job). This shows that you are competent in managing others and have taken steps to gain this skill. Again, this highlights your leadership skills and is something employers are looking for when they are hiring manager or supervisor positions.
Are you a member of a sports team? If so, highlight any past or present team positions you have held. For example, if you were a cheerleader for your high school sports team and played on the varsity level, mention this on your application. If you were a track star in college, include this information on your resume if you have ever been the track star (a title that is very valuable leadership experience!)
One of the most important things to remember when writing about your leadership experiences is to make sure they are positive examples. List the positions and functions you worked in, but do not focus so much on these examples that you leave out areas where you may have failed (for example, being the general manager at work!). Also, be sure not to leave out any of the specific details of the responsibilities you were asked to perform!
Do not stress out over these examples when interviewing for a leadership position. If you are not an experienced leader yet, simply understand that leadership is not always done “the right way.” Sometimes people are not born leaders, but you can become one with plenty of practice and by learning from your past mistakes. It is possible to find many valuable leadership experiences even in your current company!
Do not let your interview answers or your application materials to bring your leadership experience into the limelight. Do not use your past failures as a justification to not be successful in your new career! If you do, you will come across as unambitious and not fully qualified to lead. It is far better to emphasize your leadership skills than your past achievements. This will give you a good impression on your first day.