Discover the leadership words for a CV and how to use them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 April 2022

Leaders require essential skills to manage and motivate subordinates to achieve corporate goals. Employers look for leadership terms on CVs to match applicants to the job description and see if their skills are relevant. Including strong leadership words that show your notable qualities can be beneficial when applying for a leadership position. In this article, we discuss 27 leadership words to use on your CV and when to explain your accomplishments and skills.

27 leadership words for an effective CV

Leadership words for a CV are standard terms highlighting the skills you possess to lead and inspire others. Mentioning that you have excellent leadership skills is a broad statement, so instead, you can employ leadership terms that emphasise specific strengths, experiences and attributes. Employers express interest when they know the type of leader you are. Here are some leadership words for a CV along with ways in which you can use them:

1. Motivated

A leader with extrinsic motivation works hard towards achieving a company's goals. They may not need anyone to push them to complete their job. A motivated leader who has clear ambitions may find it easier to inspire and encourage others, so include ways in which you have demonstrated motivation or have motivated others.

2. Supported

Supportive leaders can provide strength and inspiration to all those around them. For example, you may have helped a new employee or backed a colleague to launch a successful campaign. On your CV, indicate how you support projects or colleagues and show that you have the skills to provide help from the bottom up.

3. Revitalised

A successful leader typically has the skills to revitalise failing projects or campaigns. Revitalising implies that you can rekindle excitement and interest in tasks and activities. Use this leadership term on your CV when describing how you tackled and turned a failing project into a success.

4. Advocated

When advocating for someone or a course of action, as a leader, you openly endorse it. Leaders advocate for their colleagues to ensure they are in a safe working environment and receive suitable training and compensation. Leaders who support their teams receive respect and admiration from their colleagues.

5. Shaped

Shaping means you can carefully and thoughtfully mould an idea or project into its desired form. Offering training and mentoring can shape a department, or you can shape an individual through coaching. On your CV, mention who or what you shaped and the results.

6. Optimised

Businesses can use optimisation to reduce waste and increase profitability. As a leader, you may continually look for ways to improve your operations. Discuss your desire to develop ways to improve processes and products, or give a solid example of your optimisation skills, backing up your claim with statistical evidence.

7. Modernised

Modernising products or processes brings them into the modern era. Although old methods may be more appealing, modernisation can help maintain efficiency and competitiveness. Leaders modernising their strategies keep their departments, or teams, on the cutting edge of the industry, and you can include ways in which you have done this or express your interest in modernising.

8. Piloted

When you pilot a project, you are the one steering and guiding it. Use the word pilot to mention plans and projects you thoroughly evaluated before releasing them to a broader audience. Describe how you piloted the project and the decision-making skills applied to lead the team or project.

Related: How to give leadership experience examples

9. Pioneered

Pioneering project leaders are individuals willing to take risks and venture into unfamiliar territory. They are fearless, resourceful and motivated. Mention on your CV if you were a pioneering leader on a project and state the results.

10. Negotiated

Leaders know how to negotiate effectively with clients, staff and departments. Explain how you handled a challenging situation in the past. You may include each party's demands, how you could negotiate and the results.

11. Won

Winning means triumphing over your endeavours. Effective leaders know how to set achievable goals. Mention your success by using powerful language that emphasises the achievement, whether it was a victory over a difficult client or winning a competition at the company.

12. Transformed

To transform means that you successfully changed the shape and direction of a project or the form of a product. For example, improving a marketing campaign by eliminating errors or increasing the company's bookkeeping efficiency improves operations. Transformative leaders spearhead positive reforms within the organisation.

Related: What Is transformational leadership? (With examples)

13. Propelled

To propel a project, it requires momentum to keep going. Propelled can be a powerful word to include on your CV when talking about a stalled project. Show that you were able to offer support to put it back on track and explain how you propelled the team and the project's results.

14. Spearheaded

An employee who spearheads a movement provides the momentum to keep a campaign going. Leaders require strength and the ability to start new projects. You can use this word on your CV to describe how you start, drive and finish projects.

15. Focused

A focused leader won't give in to any distractions or setbacks. As a focused leader, you effectively manage your time and avoid distractions. On your CV, show how your ability to focus has helped you succeed.

Related: Top 9 leadership skills to develop

16. Ethics

An upright leader has high moral principles. Ethics are essential in today's environment and require careful diplomacy to avoid offending potential clients or customers. Emphasise your high ethical values on your CV.

17. Purpose

A purpose provides the motivation to continue working on a project to completion. Leaders can emphasise their purpose, encouraging their colleagues to do the same. When working with purpose, you are actively aware of your actions. Effective time management enables the achievement of set goals.

18. Delegate

A leader's ability to delegate is essential. If you are good at delegation, you select the right employee for every job or task. Showcase examples where you have successfully delegated tasks for optimum results.

Related: How to demonstrate leadership with tips and examples

19. Prompted

To prompt a cause to happen, you are the driving force behind its success. Leaders require influence to elicit change. On your CV, mention a course of action you prompted and the project's successful outcome.

20. Passionate

The motivation of a passionate leader comes from the desire to achieve and a passion for their chosen industry. An inspirational leader encourages others to work with the same dedication, resulting in an engaged and motivated workforce. On your CV, highlight how, as a leader, you can motivate colleagues to be passionate in their field of work.

21. Trained

Utilise your leadership skills to train and guide others as leaders. Good leaders know how to educate their personnel correctly. Make a note of any group training activities you have undertaken on your CV.

22. Strategy

Innovative ideas and plans provide guidelines for moving a department or company forward. A leader acquires the knowledge to establish and evaluate excellent strategies and amend an action when necessary. Where applicable on your CV, display examples of successful strategies, their implementation process and success.

23. Commitment

Commitment and dedication are essential attributes of a leader. They indicate someone who works on a project until completion, regardless of its success or failure. To demonstrate dedication on your CV, cite examples of projects where you persevered despite any setbacks. The term commitment denotes a leader who strives and succeeds instead of giving up.

24. Determination

Determination is the unwavering resolve to tackle an issue no matter how difficult it appears. Illustrate your determination to meet company goals successfully. Highlighting this quality on your CV shows prospective employers that you are a capable and reliable leader, even in the face of adversity.

25. Self-motivated

Self-motivated leaders maintain forward momentum and encourage others to do so. If your motivation is intrinsic, you won't wait for others to tell you what to do. If you notice a gap for improvement with your intrinsic motivation, you wait for instructions; you'll go ahead fill it.

26. Invested

As an invested leader, you may deal with budgets and money a lot of the time. Many organisations have leaders in charge of quotas, budgets and working performance metrics to cash. If applying for a leadership position, potential employers expect a candidate to be strategic and disciplined with money.

27. Flexible

As a leader, working with a team can mean that tasks, goals and responsibilities may change. A flexible leader can change and control their team when necessary. On your CV, demonstrate ways in which you have accepted new ideas and implemented a change to help the team and the company move forward.