Leaders are the lifeblood of nearly every organization in the world. Therefore, jobs in leadership are highly sought after because they provide an opportunity for leaders to shine. These jobs are viewed as a privilege that comes with much responsibility. Companies often have leadership development programs to help train future leaders from within, and they may also do a great deal of recruiting for professionals who demonstrate leadership abilities. From team leads to department vice presidents (VP), there are many ways to step into leadership roles.
Jobs in Leadership
In your search for jobs in leadership, you may come across a multitude of job titles, descriptions, and requirements. These qualities are often dictated by the industry in which leaders work. As Mike Myatt, a contributor for Forbes magazine states, "There is no perfect leader; only the right leader for a given situation."
Across the board, many times job titles for leaders include specific skill requirements, years of experience in a given role, and certain personality traits. For example, a leadership role in health care may require the professional to have at least 10 years in a medical management setting, knowledge of health care administrative processes, and a Masters in Medical Administration. A comparable leadership job in a retail marketing setting may require five years of retail experience, knowledge of sales and customer service, and a Bachelors to qualify. Each industry has different standards for leader careers.
Jobs in leadership may also have different types of responsibilities based on the requirements of each industry. Not all leaders will supervise employees, but rather some may work in the background to develop workplace policies. Other leaders may have direct reports, and their responsibilities include monitoring the performance of groups of employees. Some jobs require specific leadership responsibilities.
- This often involves being a subject matter expert to train others on job-related tasks.
- Leaders have to make the tough decisions that can sometimes be unpopular.
- They are responsible for making sure employees have meaningful work opportunities, are working up to industry expected capacity, and are participating in helping the company reach certain objectives.
- Leaders must support their employees by making sure they have the resources, tools, and training to get the job done.
- They must monitor performance, create reasonable goals, and discipline employees who fail to meet the minimum requirements for their jobs.
Skills and Abilities
No two leadership positions will ever be the same, although some of the skills leaders possess transfer well from one job to another. For example, this includes leaders who are excellent at identifying the unique value others bring to the organization and matching them to suitable projects.
- Leaders are good at delegating tasks and solving problems.
- They generally have above-average people skills.
- Leaders are trend setters, always seeing the business from a bigger picture perspective.
- They know how directing resources can create long term success.
- Leaders can deliver effective communication, even when it's bad news.
There are some common job titles and search terms you may consider using in your hunt for a leadership position, including:
- Team Leads - With an ability to oversee and guide a team of other employees, team leads are capable of setting and achieving goals, training employees, solving problems and conflicts, and dealing with difficult people and situations.
- Managers/Supervisors - Responsible for a department or division of a company, managers are generally hired for their ability to lead larger teams of employees by supervising and bringing out the best in their subordinates. They have additional administrative responsibilities and generally answer to the executive leadership team.
- Executive Managers - These are seasoned leaders who have proven their value and have been instrumental to the history of the company. They often act as advisors to the chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO) of larger firms and may have part ownership in the company.
- Company Leaders - These are the people at the very top of the organization, where all decisions are made. Leaders may be former managers who have been promoted to higher levels, they may be hired as a VP, CEO or CFO, or they may be brought in as part of a Board of Directors.
It's fairly straightforward to find leadership positions. Use these resources to find a new leader position that matches your strengths.
Recruitment firms often list jobs for leaders under certain descriptive terms, such as:
- Management positions, or management-in-training roles
- General managers
- Front line supervisors
- Shift leads and team leads
- Executive sales managers
- Territory managers
- Staff directors or assistant directors
Recruitment Agencies and Headhunters
Headhunters, recruiters that specifically seek out and place candidates into high level leadership roles, will often be found listed as executive staffing agencies or recruitment firms. Some of the most popular leadership recruitment agencies include:
- Kimmel and Associates - Specializes in executive leadership recruitment
- Aureaus Group - Recruits leaders in the health care industry
- Berwick Partners - Actively recruits leaders in the UK and abroad
Leadership Job Directories
Most companies have either a career portal, found on the company website, or through other advertising methods where candidates can search for these positions. Jobs are often in certain earnings brackets and require at least a Bachelor's degree. Use the above leadership search terms to pinpoint jobs and filter by industry and location to find jobs in your area of expertise. Set up automatic job alerts. Some good leadership search engines include:
- The Ladders - Frequently posts leadership positions with high earnings potential
- MBA Exchange - Posts jobs for those who have earned a Master's degree or higher
- Blue Steps - Hundreds of jobs posted for executive level candidates
How to Find Leader Jobs
In addition, there are many other ways to find jobs in leadership, including the following:
- Develop a strong online leadership portfolio and resume to send to recruitment firms.
- Search all major career websites, print advertisements, and workforce development centers for leader jobs.
- Participate in social networking platforms, including those that are mobile-friendly.
- Join social media groups, such as LinkedIn's Leadership Think Tank, to find jobs in leadership.
- Attend local business conferences, job fairs, and other related industry events.
- Meet with recruiters, who may visit your college to offer leadership career opportunities after graduation.
- Accept an internship in your final year of college to learn leadership skills.
- Check with the human resource department at your current employer to learn about leadership development classes.
There are also a number of leadership organizations in which anyone can become involved to develop leadership skills and get job leads, for example:
- Toastmasters International - Offers public speaking training and clubs around the world to develop strong communication and presentation skills
- Dale Carnegie Training - Provides a range of corporate leadership training classes and workshops to develop future leaders
- American Management Association - Offers multiple leadership and management training classes and seminars to prepare leaders for their roles
- Harvard University - Has several leadership and management courses designed to help leaders develop the skills for long term success
Leadership Career Success
If you are searching for leadership positions, it's important you have an idea what industry you want to target and have a means to demonstrate you have the right skills for the role of a leader in that industry. Develop a strong resume and cover letter that details your strengths as a leader. Put together a portfolio of your work and achievements in the areas of leadership. Provide several professional references from colleagues who have seen you in leadership positions. The better you can position yourself as a leader, the closer you can get to landing the leadership position of your dreams.