HomeAnalysisSkills to include in an executive résumé

Skills to include in an executive résumé

EXECUTIVE applicants must not only convince a corporate of their value to that company on their executive resumes, they must also sell their leadership skills.

Robert Mandeya People management issues

Assessing leadership qualities in applicants is the hottest new trend among corporations when hiring executives. Some corporations are now hiring leadership analysts to determine if applicants possess the necessary leadership skills to manage company divisions or the companies themselves.

The winnowing of executives to determine those with leadership capabilities is not an exact science. Tests that purport to discover leadership qualities are a minefield covered with faulty analytics, biased assumptions and untested theories. That makes the job of presenting leadership qualities challenging.

Coming up with a blockbuster

In the executive résumé, applicants must write a blockbuster cover letter that specifically outlines their leadership qualities. Since the determination of leadership qualities may be subjective and possibly biased, the executive applicant faces a quandary as to what elements to include in that critical cover letter.

Getting a competitive edge

For some reason, applicants need to give themselves an edge by looking at the top experts who advise them on how to determine leadership in an applicant. That edge can be found with some experienced executive coaches, some of whom might have been in the corporate world for many years, or some mentors working with top executives as advisors in corporations. More often some of these experts have produced lengthy documents on what to look for in corporate leadership.

According to leadership experts, there are six leadership qualities that corporations look for when hiring an executive.


A leader must have a clear vision on which direction to take in order to benefit the organisation. Without a clear vision, employees and teams will not have a goal to rally around. Executives must elucidate a clear path that the company can follow in order to achieve its goals.


A long record of achieving success is an indication of leadership. Those who fail are not leaders. Previous successful performance is evidence of probable future success. Executives must make clear to corporations that they have a record of success.


Curiosity is a bedrock of successful leadership. Leaders are inquisitive and seek to learn what others around them know and think. Leaders who grow with the organisation will be at the helm of an expanding company.

Applicants should show a keen curiosity about the organisation and want to know more.


Great leaders are great communicators. Executives with poor communication skills do not last long for instance in Fortune 500 companies. Leaders can communicate on every corporate level and with any medium. Executive applicants must be able to communicate well on their résumé and every follow-up interview.


A leader is fluid and flexible. Leaders will demonstrate an ability to adapt their leadership to circumstances as they arise. They have the ability to collaborate, step back and then move forward, depending on the circumstance.

Executives need to prove that they are quick on their feet and can plot a different tack instantaneously. Sun Tzu, the legendary Chineese general elucidate extensively on these issues in his famous book The Art of War. Business by its very nature is “war” and thus requires strategic thinking.


The best leaders can focus on a priority like a bulldog on a bone. Focus calls for discipline and the ability to commit resources and brainpower to capture the target of that focus. The goal of that focus must result in a benefit to the organisation.

Executive resumes must show that the applicant has the capability to meet specific standards of leadership. Executive applicants would do well to understand what these leadership skills are and know how to communicate these leadership talents on a resume.

Leadership calls for a lot of commitment and strategy if one is to make a positive impact on the targeted group of people. There are various leadership styles which are unique to define and understand the different kinds of leadership traits in famous leaders.


The styles are composed of varying traits which are meant to influence an organisation’s entire culture. The leadership style one chooses to use can work provided it is used in the right way.

The most loved and respected leaders are those whose leadership styles which are strong but still fair to the people involved. There are leaders whose method of leading the people end up intimidating them thereby creating much tension in the workplace which is not beneficial to the development of the organisation in question.

Just as a parting shot, I would say when scrutinising famous leaders, it is very important to understand how they take advantage of laws of attraction in their leadership activities.

Mandeya is an executive coach, trainer in human capital development and corporate education, a certified leadership and professional development practitioner and founder of the Leadership Institute for Research and Development (LiRD). — robert@lird.co.zw, info@lird.co.zw or +263 772 466 925.

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