Terms That Successfully Indicate Your Leadership Talents

Even the most experienced leaders must prove their skills to potential employers. Often, it’s not enough to simply state “excellent leadership skills” on your resume. In a perfect world, your experience should speak for itself. Yet whether you are seasoned or an aspiring leader in your field, there are certain terms that will help you solidify these strengths on your resume as well as during an interview.

Terms for Leadership - Man at laptop with writing tablet

Recruiter, career strategist, and author, Jenny Foss, has offered a practical list of terms for job seekers to choose from that will truly reiterate their strong suits in various leadership positions.

Show your abilities as a trailblazer.

Since innovation plays an important role in decision-making and the ability to move forward with effective plans, clearly this particular skill is a vital part of being a well-rounded leader. Foss recommends the following expressions:

  • Ignited
  • Modernized
  • Optimized
  • Piloted
  • Pioneered
  • Revitalized
  • Spearheaded
  • Transformed

Indicate Your Financial Prowess

Most leadership positions will include some element of money-management, so it’s important to cover your bases. Showing your sense of accountability in this area will certainly help you stand out to hiring managers. Foss suggests that job-seeking leaders consider choosing from the following descriptive terms:

  • Budgeted
  • Cut costs
  • Drove growth
  • Invested
  • Negotiated
  • P&L Accountability
  • Reduced

Point out your knack for employee development

The capacity to inspire and urge others to hone in on their own particular talents is a must for those in leadership positions. Foss proposes the following words to “showcase your ability to rally others to pull off remarkable things”.

  • Advocated
  • Coached
  • Galvanized
  • Ignited
  • Mentored
  • Motivated
  • Shaped
  • Supported
  • United
  • Uplifted
  • We (rather than “I”)

Point out your capacity to influence others.

In addition to the skills listed above, effective leader must know how to influence or persuade others into agreeing with and implementing their ideas and suggestions. Therefore, it’s crucial that you convince a hiring manager of your ability to ensure that others will get on board with your strategies. Some terms that Foss recommends in this context are:

  • Convinced
  • Gained buy-in
  • Mobilized
  • Negotiated
  • Prompted
  • Propelled
  • Spurred
  • Won


Terms for Leadership - Businessman holding business card

In summary, we fully support Foss’ concept that using the right words under the right context can help you successfully convey the true span of your leadership talents.

Fred Coon, CEO 

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

The Right Way to List Job Titles on Your Résumé

When it comes to composing a résumé, we expend a great deal of time and effort carefully wording and arranging our specific employment skills; possibly even more energy than we do on our actual job titles.  While there is certainly no excuse for failing to adequately convey the details of your expertise, remember that your job titles are equally as essential, and likewise, as noticeable as the aspects that follow.


First, job seekers must take into account that the job title assigned to them by their employer may not necessarily coincide with what should be listed on their résumé.  However, this is not to be confused with changing the characteristics of the job itself, or what its title represents.  The fact is that a company will often assign their own (sometimes “extravagant”) title to a specific role within the organization.  Yet, this title may not always coincide with the industry standard.  In an example provided by the Dice.com article, “Don’t Get Creative With Job Titles in Your Résumé”, it is suggested that if your last employer gave you an innovative-sounding role, such as “Data Janitor II”, for instance, you will want to list your job title as the more typical “Database Analyst” when drafting your résumé. The essence of the job is unchanged, but with a standard title, your résumé has a greater chance of ending up in the right hands. The goal is to assure that your résumé is viewed by as many eyes as possible, and listing your job titles according to the industry-standard is one way to achieve this.

The next question is whether or not to list your intended job title in the beginning of your résumé.  Often, just below the contact information, applicants will include an objective line which often consists of the exact job they are looking for.  In some cases, a clear objective that directly indicates your goals can work to your advantage with hiring managers, but this is only if your proposed job title is an exact match for the open position.  Given the wide range of intricate job titles that seem to fall under a surprisingly fewer number of actual roles available within a given industry, it may be a better idea to omit the objective line altogether, allowing prospective employers to skip right to your skill set and work history.  Thus, hiring managers have to opportunity to gain a more comprehensive perspective of your potential value to their organization, which could potentially lead to even more employment opportunities in the long run.  However, if you wish to keep your résumé’s objective line, consider listing a description of the job you are seeking, rather than one specific title.

Another quandary job hunters sometimes encounter is how to list multiple job titles under the same company.  Perhaps you were promoted once, or even several times, by the same employer and you’re unsure of how to clearly depict your shifting job titles.  We suggest two basic options, depending on the layout of your résumé.

Résumés where work history is organized according to company name:

XYZ Company, Inc.

Executive Director (2014-2017)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Branch Manager (2007-2014)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Supervisor (2002-2007)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Résumés where work experience is organized according to job title:

Executive Director, XYZ Company, Inc. (2014-2017),

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Branch Manager, XYZ Company, Inc. (2007-2014)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments

Supervisor, XYZ Company, Inc. (2002-2007)

  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments
  • Responsibilities, tasks, accomplishments


When drafting your résumé, remember that the correct representation of your prior job titles will offer prospective employers an all-inclusive view of your work history, as well a promising perspective of your value as an employee. Therefore, carefully consider your goals according to the nature of your field, and choose your words wisely.


Fred Coon, CEO


At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.

Outstanding Résumés… And How To Write Them

It’s not terribly difficult to isolate the best résumé design for your needs.  After all, there are countless web articles, templates, software, and Resume Writing - Working on computer - B&Wservices available to help you achieve the most attractive layout and effectual result.  However, in this article, we are going to discuss what makes a résumé stand out, from the inside out.

Back when you applied for your very first job, maybe replenishing stock in a grocery store, it might have been a good idea to relate that you once had three concurrent paper routes for two different newspapers.  It showed that you were responsible, dedicated, and motivated.

Now that you have graduated college, or have been in the workforce for 10 to 20+ years, no one needs to know that except, perhaps, as a clever anecdote.  Save it for your biography, after you retire.

The First Thing They See

Your prospective employer will initially notice your name, contact information, and likely your general field or industry.  This is what you want the reader to keep in mind as they examine your résumé.  This is your “brand,” so make it big and bold and tie it to their needs.

However, there are other matters to also consider.

Write for the Machine

Today, more and more companies are using Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).  ATS programs identify the exact wording or vocabulary of the job description in order to filter applicants’ résumés.  Unfortunately, most applicants unsuccessfully exploit this fundamental property.

For instance, if the company with which you’re seeking employment is looking for a  SysAdmin, and expresses a preference for people familiar with Network Security, Problem Solving, Information Security Policies, Network Protocols, On-call, Process Improvement, Network Troubleshooting, and Firewall Administration, be sure to use as many of those exact phrases as are consistent with your experience.

One strategy is to envision every distinct phrase in the job description as being worth five points the first time you use it.  Build up your “score”, and the ATS program will add your résumé to the collection “for human review” instead of the “Thank you for your interest” pile.

Write for the Human, too

While software may effectively sort and analyze basic information, human beings are naturally more adept at analyzing and evaluating ambiguous information and reaching thoughtful conclusions.

Of course, copy/pasting the original job description could possibly trick older ATS programs into passing your résumé along; however, they have grown much more sophisticated, so relying on this method is certainly not recommended.  Even if that ploy succeeded initially, a hiring manager would see what had been done.

Tell Them What They Need To Know

It is said that the average HR manager typically reviews a résumé for an average maximum of six seconds before deciding whether or not the applicant has a shot at the job.

Do your best to provide a concise document which describes your accomplishments.  The employer knows the responsibilities involved with their position; after all they created it.  What they need from you is quantifiable, tangible data to help them see where you will fit within their organization.

Did you save “X” number of dollars over your predecessor in your position?  Did you retain 80 percent of customers that we’re thinking of moving on to another supplier?  Did you accumulate 130 percent in new sales figures?  Did you train 80 percent of all new employees, or were your trainees generating 27 percent more sales than those trained by others?  Show them the numbers!

Sell Yourself

The object here is to showcase your abilities, and then tie them in to their requirements.  This is best done within your job descriptions in the body of the résumé.  For instance, if you are applying for an Office Manager’s position which requires knowledge of recruiting and training employees – and one of your prior positions as a Human Resources Generalist required a similar skill set – ensure that this particular bullet-point appears first, and is not buried at the bottom of a long list of possibly more loosely-related responsibilities.

There has been recent deliberation on whether the “Objective” line (the opening statement describing your career goals) should still be used.  Many believe it tends to shift the focus to the applicant’s own needs and goals, rather than what they can do for the organization, itself.  If you are looking for an opening line, perhaps opt for verbiage which highlights what you can offer the company, instead.

The Takeaway: Remember the Basics

Resume Writing - graphicAuthor, lecturer, and Guinness Book of World Records IQ record-breaker, Marilyn Mach (aka; Marilyn vos Savant) once stated, “When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible.  But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations”.

Given the level of competition in today’s job market, there truly is no margin for error, when it comes to your résumé. Spelling counts; grammar counts; explaining gaps in your work history counts.  You don’t want to risk a hiring manager making unwarranted assumptions because you failed to proofread or because you took some time off for an overseas sabbatical or to write a novel.

Moreover, relevancy also counts.  While there may be room to list hobbies and interests on certain types of résumés, keep these details to a minimum, and avoid divulging any extraneous personal information.

Be truthful, insightful, and describe why you are the best person for the job by including valid examples based on past performance.  Telling them why they need you makes you the best candidate of all.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Reentering the Workforce After a Long Absence

The reasons why an individual may leave the workforce indefinitely are multi-faceted.  The most common include maternity/paternity, palliative care for a sick or elderly relative, raising children, additional education, starting a business, stress-related leave, or simply taking time for creative endeavors.

reentering-the-workforce-long-corridorA parting can take place in an official capacity, such as a sabbatical, while some workers may choose an early retirement.  Yet, while the reasons for prematurely discontinuing your employment may vary, the rationales which motivate one to return to the workforce also range in basis.

 Voluntary Return

In some cases, it’s simply a matter of daily monotony that attracts the willfully unemployed back into the workforce again.  Children reach adulthood, personal goals were reached, retirement was unfulfilling, or various circumstances may have left you seeking additional purpose in your life.

Obligatory Return

In a situation where there is a compulsory decision to return to work for financial reasons, for instance, your options may be more limited; however a great deal of the same logic applies.  It’s possible that when you planned your sabbatical or early retirement, you didn’t properly anticipate certain life circumstances that may have caused you personal economic strain.  However, don’t despair because this is an obvious and common concern, which can also be met with an additional sense of fulfillment if approached in the correct capacity.

Consider the Climate

Businesses are losing an immense amount of talent in a short span of time due to the large group of baby-boomers who have reached retirement age, and employers are scrambling to find their replacements.  In most cases an early-retiree is welcomed back with open arms, and possibly, a certain sense of relief.  These returned employees have expertise; they already know the ropes, and can work autonomously.  If these experienced employees choose to spend a few extra years training the newer recruits for future leadership roles, then that is also a tremendous bonus for any company.

Therefore, whatever your line of work or reason for leaving, don’t necessarily look upon your absence as a hindrance.  For every company looking to hire the twenty-something college graduate with no actual hands-on experience, there are countless employers who appreciate maturity and a longer range of experience, despite some work history gaps; so it’s important to maintain your confidence, and focus on these types of opportunities.

First Presentation

Chances are, if you have been out of the workforce for a substantial length of time you may not even have an electronic résumé.  If this is the case, focus on converting your hard copy paper resume into a format which modern employers can handle.  Remember that the long gaps in your work history can be addressed during an interview, yet any volunteer experience you may have acquired during your absence should certainly be included; as good employers appreciate a well-rounded job candidate.

If you furthered your education and earned an MBA or any other degree or certification which would be valuable in your chosen field, no further explanation is necessary.  An employer will be happy to speak to somebody who’s interested in expanding upon their education.

Spotlight your accomplishments, your abilities, and how they are relevant to the job you’re seeking.  If your extended absence was due to strictly personal reasons, adding “further details available on request” is more than sufficient, and no added concentration is necessary.  If your initial reason for leaving the workforce was to raise children or care for a family member, it’s important to remember that you are not the first person to make this decision and you certainly won’t be the last.  A modern and sensible employer is aware of this and should be respectful of this fact.

Updated Skills

If your absence only spanned a few years, your job skills are most likely still valid, however, you may find that you need to brush up on certain proficiencies.  Nowadays, five years can seem more like ten due to the speed at which workplaces are evolving, due mostly to technological advancements and changes in communication techniques. Try looking into training webinars, online tutorials, and adult education programs in your area.

If you have been unemployed for close to ten years or longer, then it is well worth your time to investigate many of the free online schools (including some fine ivy-league colleges that would surprise you) to get a new certification, or even a degree.

If you have been out of the workforce for a considerable amount of time, but walk in to an interview with a freshly minted diploma or certificate, you are demonstrating that you are self-directed, well-versed in your field, and ready to work.


What is extremely important for candidates who have been out of the job-seeking world for ten years or longer to remember is that the methods for seeking employment have changed drastically.  While individuals were utilizing online job searching techniques ten years ago, there is a possibility you have never personally experienced these changes, especially if you spent many years working for the same employer before your departure.

There is currently an expansive array of employment websites to register with as well as mobile apps to get you started on your search.  Luckily, they are not difficult to find, and a little extra time searching the internet should direct you toward the right path.

Moreover, don’t forget to set up a LinkedIn profile, since employers in recent years have been relying heavily on LinkedIn as a viable recruitment source.  This will also give you the opportunity to network toward the job you want.  In addition to listing your skills and experience, be sure to display on your profile that you are seeking employment.

Starting Out

In all cases, seeking out a reputable employment agency or career counselor can also help you reenter the work force through proper coaching and correct representation of your talents.  Inform them of your skills, and try out some of their assessments.  Another important part of their job is that they can reveal overlapping areas of interest that can lead to a new career you haven’t even reentering-the-workforce-multi-faceted-candidate-collageconsidered.

Consider accepting a part-time or temporary position through an employment agency to help you acclimate yourself back into the working world, and don’t be afraid to agree to a temporary position that is outside of your original line of work. Temp assignments can be short-term and consecutive, and may even offer you the opportunity to discover a new endeavor you never realized you had a talent for.

If this is the case, the agency can help you focus on acquiring full-time employment in the particular area you are interested in.  You can build credibility with a particular employer, while seeking out the full-time position you want.  You can also attain a reputation as a reliable worker for the employment agency, and they, in turn, will find you better quality opportunities once you have proven yourself as a valuable, dependable worker.

Additionally, a career counselor or recruiter can help you brush up on your interview skills; which will be invaluable when seeking employment after a long break.  Job interviews can be nerve-wracking for the job-seekers who have never left the market, let alone for someone returning from a long absence of non-employment.  This is also something you can do at home by reviewing and answering practice questions, and even video-taping your replies to assist you in smoothing out your verbal (and non-verbal) communication.

In the Meantime

While we may be living in a digital world, especially in terms of job-hunting and employment in general, there is still much to be achieved through the fading art of making in-person connections.  Print up some business cards and keep them handy.  On the occasion you encounter someone with a connection to your field of interest, whether at a dinner party or walking through a shopping mall, don’t hesitate to hand out your card.

The Takeaway

Regardless of the reason you left the workforce to begin with, or your reason for returning, the world is full of opportunities.  Approaching this new stage in your life with a smile and an upbeat attitude will get you there faster. Positivity is a very attractive attitude to employers — and people in general — and quite possibly, one of those people may just lead you to your perfect job after all these years.

By Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Creating an Exceptional Executive Résumé: Do’s and Don’ts

It may be surprising to some, but HR reps typically look at a résumé for a grand total of 6.25 seconds before deciding if a candidate is a good fit for a job, according to a new study on recruiter decision-making.  If you are wondering what they Executive resume_blue figure on targetcould possibly scan for in such a short amount of time, that would be simply, your name, current and previous jobs’ start-and-end dates, and education.

Therefore, it’s more important than ever to create a clear, concise and relevant résumé, so that not only will yours make it past the first 6.25 seconds, there will be an accurate depiction of you and your abilities, presented in the next 13.75.

So, with this in mind, here are some major “do’s and don’ts” for creating an exceptional executive résumé:


  1.  DO highlight applicable and relevant experience.  At this point in your career, you should not be sending out 100 résumés a day like a college senior.  The number one rule of executive résumés is that you are sending a unique résumé to each corporation you are applying to, tailored for and targeted to that particular position.  Your résumé should highlight specific accomplishments, skills and experience that are relevant to perform that specific job.


  1. DON’T include obvious skills or unrelated hobbies and volunteer experience. If you were in publicity, obviously you’d know how to establish and maintain media relations.  If you were in finance management, you’d have finance software and staff managing skills.  Don’t state the obvious – highlight skills that make you stand out.  Also, while you should mention extraordinary personal accomplishments that may show off your soft skills, no recruiter will care if you are active in a book club or volunteer at your child’s bake sales.  In other words, remain relevant to your purpose.


  1. DO utilize powerful action verbs. Every recruiter is tired of seeing the same verbs on every résumé: led, handles, managed, responsible for. Get creative and use more powerful verbs such as achieved, increased, resolved, chaired, controlled, coordinated, engineered and established. Time™ magazine published an extensive list to reference.  You should also consider avoiding adverbs such as skillfully, effectively or successfully, as they imply redundancy.  If a skill is on your résumé, recruiters assume you do it well.


  1. DON’T use negative phrases or adjectives, even to highlight a positive aspect. Using words that have a negative connotation even if they are used in a positive light, can damage a résumé.  Stating that you set aggressive goals for a department or fixed a problem can affect a recruiter subconsciously in a negative way.  Choose more positive words like ambitious and solution [oriented] instead.  Other commonly used adjectives to avoid are dynamic, strong, and even experienced, which believe it or not, can also give a less than impressive reflection of your skills.


  1. DO use effective proofreading methods. When it is time to proofread your résumé, print it out.  You may have seen it a million times on the computer screen, but a hard copy looks different. Definitely check spelling and be careful with punctuation, especially when using bullet points. It is appropriate to use periods at the end of bullet points if they contain one or more complete sentences. If you choose to use simple phrases, leave the period off.  If the nuances of written grammar in a résumé context are not within your strongest suit, or if you just want to feel more confident in your final draft, try a grammar-checking app like Grammarly, which can relieve some of the proofreading burden.


  1. DON’T opt for fancy layouts. It may be tempting to want to incorporate some extravagant formatting techniques into your résumé.  Some people feel this may help them to stand out from other candidates, but in reality, it may actually work against you.  What appears as a visually appealing and organized résumé on your computer screen, may not translate the same way on someone else’s.  All those extra tabs and columns could possibly turn your résumé into a visual conundrum on the other side of the send button.  Also, an overly “edgy” résumé with a highly non-traditional layout may cause the reader to have to search too hard for key information, ultimately resulting in it being cast aside.

Executive resume_hire me puzzle on tablet

Additional tips:

  •  Create accessible documents: Remember to create your résumé in MS Word, as it is more widely used than most programs of its kind; Google Docs is also another comparable choice.  Many people like to rely on PDF files, however, this is not recommended because these documents cannot be scanned for keywords or properly stored by employers and recruiters.


  • Editing and font consistency: Mid-document font changes are a common error when one is cutting and pasting several résumés together for a particular job.  Make sure your use of capitals, boldness and italics is consistent.  Run your résumé through a word cloud generator like TagCrowd.  This will show you a picture of what words you use the most that will stand out for a recruiter. Finally, have a friend proofread as well, preferably one in an executive level position or in human resources.


  • Clear and current contact: Although this may seem glaringly obvious, be sure your contact information is current.  Sometimes, when we are revising an older résumé, it’s so easy to get caught up in the details of updating your skill list and job-history that you may forget to update an old cell phone number or outdated email address.  Be sure, as well, not to bury that information too far down or use a too small or unclear font style.  Your contact info should stand out, secondary only to your name.


Following these basic tips and guidelines are an indisputable way to turn an average résumé into a great one that will surely not fall by the way-side of your dream company’s HR department.

By Fred Coon, CEO


Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.