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Elizabeth A. Davis

4 Tips for Demonstrating Leadership in your Application

by Elizabeth Davis Thursday, January 7, 2016

When looking at an application, one of the things the Admissions Team is trying to determine is your penchant for leadership. The word “leadership” is very broad and, as a result, can leave applicants confused about how best to demonstrate their skills.  Here are a few tips that will help you showcase leadership within various aspects of your application.

  1. Think critically. Leadership is a comprehensive term that encompasses a lot of individual qualities including, but not limited to, vision, initiative, communication, creativity, and delegation. Think specifically about instances where you’ve been in a leadership role – what talents or skills did you use to move forward and complete a project? Do you use these skills often? What skills do you look for in a leader? Do you possess any of these?
  2. Think creatively. The admissions committee knows that not every applicant will have employees reporting directly to them, and that leadership comes in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps in addition to your job you also hold a leadership position with a non-profit organization. Or maybe you’ve spearheaded a fundraising campaign at work. Whether or not you recognized it at the time, these are instances of leadership.
  3. Identify examples. Once you’ve given some serious thought to what specific leadership skills you possess, it’s time to support these statements with fact. Think about examples that put these skills on display. These instances can be in the workplace or outside of it. Remember, you’re looking to stay results-oriented, so examples where you can give concrete outcomes are the most powerful.
  4. Be strategic. Now that you’ve given some serious thought leadership, use this exercise to your advantage. Infuse these skills into your resume and application essays where applicable. Identify recommenders who can speak to the skills you’ve identified and will provide examples to the admissions committee. If extended an offer to interview, be prepared to speak about your leadership skills, and provide those examples you’ve identified.

Leaders come from all different backgrounds and have different skills that make them effective. By thinking critically about what you’ve done in your career, you can ensure that leadership is a theme interwoven throughout your application.