Fresh grads may find it hard to share their leadership experiences, due to a lack of time in the workforce. When nothing comes to mind, you must go the extra mile to determine where you’ve had the chance to show leadership outside of your working environment.
However, applicants with vast experience in the workforce should also be careful when it comes to sharing their leadership or managerial roles.
If you’re trying to make it in a new industry, think of an instance where you were part of a project. Were you chosen to lead a team to accomplish something? Have you represented an organization at an event? How about organizing conferences? Think of experiences in the past where you had to mentor staff or an intern. (Serving communities also counts.)
Don’t think that your experience is not relevant to the hiring manager. You have to be confident in sharing your leadership experiences, no matter how small the job was. Even if you’re an entry-level employee, your hiring manager will hear you out when it comes to your leadership activities.
If you’re a mid-level employee looking to move into a senior-level role, think of times where you had to manage the whole staff, lead a project, oversee a budget, interview applicants or even select staff for hire. You may even have experience with moments as the company spokesperson, or you may work with executives on a daily basis.
These experiences will definitely count when it comes to gauging your leadership skills.
This may be your fallback if you think you don’t have “concrete” professional leadership skills or a history of leadership. However, going this route is more of a stretch, since you’ll have to really dig into your personal experiences.
Have you encountered a difficult situation before? How well did it go? What happened? What part did you play in achieving something you never thought you could? If you think your friends see you as a leader, don’t hesitate to provide examples to support their claims. Many challenges in life can develop leadership skills.
Keep in mind that leadership isn’t an easy skill to learn. Convince the recruiter of your abilities by providing real examples, and explain why you think you’re up for the challenge.