You’re interviewing for a new job!

You’re doing great so far, but the interviewer asks a question that makes you freeze: “What leadership positions have you had?” 

Jocelyn Schitt from

You may be thinking, “But, I’ve never held a leadership title!”

Think again! Your title has absolutely nothing to do with your capability to be a leader within your workplace!

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Why are they asking me this question?

There is a misconception that if you’re not a manager, you’re not a leader.

— Emily Moyer, career coach

Leadership skills are important to any employer. You can have leadership skills even if you’ve never actually been a so-called “leader.”

Your future employer is looking for a candidate who will add value to their company and help them achieve their goals.  

Make sure that candidate is you!

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Identify your skills!

Past work experiences can give you a good place to start, but it's not the only place where leadership skills are practiced! Think about a time when you acted as a leader in school, while volunteering, or even in your own personal life.

Leadership skills diagram with eight skills identified with graphic icons. Eight skills are outlined in next section.

It's likely you have one or more of the following leadership skills:


  • Setting goals

  • Showing initiative


  • Active listening

  • Providing and accepting feedback


  • Attention to detail

  • Delegating tasks to others


  • Open to new ideas

  • Curiosity and continuous learning

Team player

  • Working well with others

  • Acted as a role model


  • Making quick, informed decisions

  • Remaining calm under pressure

Problem solving

  • Creating a solution to a problem

  • Considering other perspectives


  • Encouraging others

  • Learn from mistakes

Reflect on past experiences

Before any job interview, jot down the skills you learned in the past, when (and how) you succeeded, and times when you have exhibited leadership skills.


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  • Volunteering at a local charity drive 

  • Organizing an event with friends

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  • Leading a project at school

  • Training a new employee

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  • Providing coaching to a teammate 

  • Tutoring a peer

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  • Offering constructive feedback

  • Celebrating achievements of others

Watch the video below to learn how one person successfully used a past experience to demonstrate her leadership skills in their interview.

Keep it relevant

After applying for a specific job, you'll want to narrow down your list of leadership experiences to those that are specific to the job.

Try to choose an experience that relates to the role you’re applying for. 

For example:  

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Marketing associate

  • Communication

  • Teamwork

  • Organization

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Software engineer

  • Creativity

  • Problem solving

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Social media coordinator

  • Motivation

  • Communication

  • Positivity

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Event planner

  • Organization

  • Flexibility

Have a look at the example mock interview below of a candidate demonstrating their organizational skills:

The candidate describes how, as an intern, they managed a social event for other interns to get to know each other. The candidate highlights:

  • Being in charge of the event budget

  • Delegating tasks to other interns

  • The event's success

Learn more about the STAR method used in the TikTok video above. 👈

Quiz: Halley's Interview

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Halley is applying for a role as an environmental specialist and has been asked what leadership positions she has had. Which of the following experiences should she focus on?

A. Calling her local water department to inform them about an obstruction by a storm drain.

B. Helping her group finish a project in school.

C. Organizing and leading a group to help clean up trash around a local pond.

D. Researched issues related to her local watershed and brainstormed solutions on how she could help.


Select the experience Halley should use in the interview:

Take Action

You never know when this question might come up in an interview, so start preparing yourself to answer it now!

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