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Top 15 Traits Employers Seek – Personal Characteristics (76 Examples)

What sets the exceptional candidates apart from the rest? It all comes down to personal characteristics – those intangible qualities that can make or break a career. In this article, we dive deep into the essence of personal characteristics, unveiling the top traits that employers seek in their quest for standout talent. Discover the keys to unlocking your true potential and leaving a lasting impression on employers eager to find the perfect fit for their organizations.

Personal Qualities vs. Personal Skills: What’s the Difference?

  • Personal qualities are those inherent traits that define who we are as individuals. They’re the things that make us unique, and they can have a big impact on our personal and professional lives. For example, if you’re someone who is naturally empathetic, you might be better able to understand and connect with others, which could make you a great team player or leader.
  • Personal skills are those abilities that we acquire through education, training, or experience. These skills can be technical or non-technical, and they’re often what employers are looking for when they’re hiring. So while personal qualities are more innate and difficult to teach, personal skills can be developed and improved over time with practice and effort.
  • Related: Top Transferable Skills Every Company Wants

 

Top 15 Traits Employers Seek with Resume Phrase Examples

Emotional Intelligence

Empathy

Being empathetic means understanding and sharing other people’s feelings. Employers value empathy because it allows you to connect with your colleagues and customers on a deeper level. Empathy helps you in building positive relationships, which can increase workplace satisfaction and productivity. For example, if your coworker is going through a difficult time, empathizing with their situation can help provide support and alleviate their concerns. Related: Emotional Intelligence (EQ) [Examples, Tips]

Examples: How to Demonstrate Empathy on a Resume

  • “Actively listened to customer concerns, providing personalized solutions to enhance their experience and satisfaction.”
  • “Collaborated with team members to understand diverse perspectives, fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment.”
  • “Volunteered at a local shelter, offering compassionate assistance and emotional support to individuals in need.”

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness refers to knowing your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals. Displaying self-awareness in the workplace can make you a more effective team member, as it allows you to recognize your areas for improvement and change. Additionally, it can help you discover tasks and roles that suit your strengths. For instance, if you are aware that you excel at problem-solving, you might volunteer to tackle complex projects, increasing your value to the team. Related: How to Cultivate Self-Awareness (10 Tips)

Examples: How to Demonstrate Self-Awareness on a Resume

  • “Regularly sought feedback from peers and supervisors to identify areas for personal and professional growth.”
  • “Conducted self-assessments to recognize strengths and address weaknesses, leading to continuous improvement.”
  • “Adapted to constructive criticism with a positive attitude, implementing changes to enhance performance and productivity.”

Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and reactions, allowing you to navigate challenging situations in a balanced and level-headed manner. Employers appreciate employees who can remain calm under pressure and avoid making hasty decisions. Practicing self-regulation can also prevent conflict within the team, fostering a healthier work environment. For example, if you are faced with a task deadline that seems unattainable, self-regulation can help you assess the situation objectively and communicate with your team to find a solution. Related: How to Manage Conflict in the Workplace [with Examples]

Example Phrases for a Resume

  • “Maintained composure and focus under pressure, effectively managing stress to meet tight deadlines and achieve project goals.”
  • “Consistently demonstrated patience and control in challenging situations, fostering a calm and productive work environment.”
  • “Implemented time management strategies to prioritize tasks, ensuring high-quality work and timely completion of assignments.”

Communication Skills

Verbal Communication

Effective verbal communication is crucial in the workplace, as it enables you to convey your ideas and thoughts clearly. To hone this skill, focus on articulating your thoughts in a concise and coherent manner. Practicing active listening and empathetic responses can also contribute to better verbal communication.

For example, when collaborating with a team, explaining your perspective in a clear and logical manner will help avoid misunderstandings and facilitate smoother project execution.

Examples: How to Demonstrate Communication Skills on a Resume

  • “Effectively articulated complex ideas and information in presentations and meetings, ensuring clarity and understanding among team members and stakeholders.”
  • “Facilitated productive discussions and negotiations, actively listening and responding to diverse viewpoints to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.”
  • “Provided clear and concise instructions to team members, enhancing collaboration and efficiency in project execution.”

Related: What is Your Communication Style? (4 Types with Examples)

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication, such as body language, facial expressions, and gestures, can send strong messages even without words. By developing awareness of these cues, you can become a more effective communicator and better understand others’ emotions and intentions.

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Related: How to Improve Key Communication Skills

Critical Thinking

Employers are always on the lookout for candidates who can think critically in any situation. Critical thinking enables you to analyze information, identify potential issues, and make sound decisions.

For example, imagine you’re working on a project for your company, and you encounter a problem. Having strong critical thinking skills means you’re able to assess the situation from various angles and consider multiple solutions. You can evaluate the pros and cons of each approach and choose the best one for your team and the project’s success. This ability to think on your feet adds immense value to your role in any organization, and it shows employers that you can tackle complex issues head-on.

Example Phrases: How to Demonstrate Critical Thinking on a Resume

  • “Evaluated complex problems, identifying root causes and devising innovative approaches to resolve issues effectively.”
  • “Analyzed data and trends to develop strategic solutions, improving operational efficiency and driving business growth.”
  • “Applied logical reasoning and analytical skills to assess project risks, implementing preventive measures to ensure successful outcomes.”

Positive Attitude

Optimism

Having a positive attitude is an essential quality employers seek in job candidates. When you’re optimistic, you tend to see the brighter side of things and find solutions to challenges. Optimism keeps you motivated and helps you stay focused on your goals. For example, if you’re working on a difficult project, instead of dwelling on the drawbacks, an optimistic person will focus on the potential successes.

Example Phrases for a Resume:

  • “Maintained a positive attitude in challenging situations, motivating team members and fostering a productive work environment.”
  • “Approached projects with enthusiasm and a can-do mindset, consistently exceeding expectations and achieving goals.”
  • “Encouraged colleagues with constructive feedback and uplifting support, contributing to a culture of resilience and perseverance.”

Resilience

Another important aspect of a positive attitude is resilience. Being resilient means you’re able to bounce back from setbacks and learn from them. In a work setting, this could mean adapting to new strategies or changes in the industry. For example, imagine applying for a promotion, but not receiving it. Instead of losing hope, a resilient person will evaluate their performance, learn from the experience, and grow stronger for the next opportunity.

Examples: How to Demonstrate Resilience on a Resume

  • “Adapted to changing priorities and setbacks with flexibility and determination, ensuring continuous progress towards project goals.”
  • “Overcame obstacles through persistence and resourcefulness, maintaining high performance under pressure.”
  • “Demonstrated the ability to recover quickly from challenges and setbacks, consistently delivering quality results.”

Teamwork

Employers value candidates who can effectively collaborate with colleagues, adapt to a variety of team dynamics, and contribute to a positive work environment.

Example Phrases: How to Demonstrate Teamwork Skills on a Resume

  • “Collaborated effectively with diverse team members to achieve project milestones and objectives.”
  • “Facilitated open communication within the team, ensuring all voices were heard and valued.”
  • “Supported colleagues by sharing knowledge and resources, fostering a collaborative work environment.”
  • “Participated in cross-functional teams to drive innovation and improve processes.”
  • “Worked closely with team members to identify and resolve issues, enhancing overall productivity.”
  • “Contributed to team success by actively participating in brainstorming sessions and offering creative solutions.”
  • “Built strong relationships with team members, promoting trust and cooperation.”
  • “Assumed leadership roles when needed, guiding team efforts towards successful project completion.”
  • “Encouraged a team-oriented approach to problem-solving, leveraging individual strengths for collective success.”
  • “Adapted to various team dynamics, demonstrating flexibility and a willingness to support team goals.”

Reliability

Being dependable allows your co-workers to trust you. When you consistently meet deadlines, take responsibility for your actions, and follow through on commitments, your team will have confidence in your abilities and work ethic.

Examples: How to Demonstrate Reliability on a Resume

  • “Consistently met deadlines and delivered high-quality work, demonstrating dependability and commitment.”
  • “Maintained a track record of punctuality and regular attendance, ensuring consistent contribution to team efforts.”
  • “Followed through on tasks and responsibilities, earning a reputation as a trusted and dependable team member.”
  • “Provided reliable support during critical projects, ensuring smooth operations and successful outcomes.”
  • “Adhered to company policies and procedures, exemplifying reliability and professionalism in all tasks.”

Conflict Resolution Skills

Disagreements will inevitably arise, but healthy conflict resolution leads to growth and improvement.

Example Phrases: Conflict Resolution Skills on a Resume

  • “Mediated disputes between team members, facilitating constructive dialogue to achieve amicable solutions.”
  • “Resolved customer complaints efficiently and diplomatically, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty.”
  • “Identified underlying issues in conflicts and addressed them proactively to prevent escalation and promote harmony.”
  • “Utilized active listening and empathy to understand different perspectives and negotiate win-win outcomes.”
  • “Implemented conflict resolution strategies that led to improved team dynamics and productivity.”

Flexibility

Change is a natural part of any work environment. Embracing change and demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges will make it easier for you to adapt to new circumstances, team dynamics, or project scope.

  8 Examples: Top Problem Solving Skills

Examples: How to Demonstrate Flexibility on a Resume

  • “Adapted to changing project requirements and priorities, maintaining productivity and delivering results on time.”
  • “Took on various roles and responsibilities as needed, demonstrating versatility and a willingness to learn.”
  • “Successfully managed multiple tasks and projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment.”
  • “Adjusted work strategies to meet the evolving needs of clients and stakeholders, ensuring satisfaction and success.”
  • “Thrived in dynamic settings, quickly acclimating to new tools, processes, and team structures.”

Related: Constructive Criticism: When and How to Give and Take It

Time Management Skills

Time management is key for you to juggle all your responsibilities efficiently. Employers value this skill as it shows that you can prioritize tasks, allocate resources, and meet deadlines. So, let’s dive into this crucial personal characteristic.

Examples: Time Management Skills on a Resume

  • “Prioritized tasks effectively to meet tight deadlines and ensure timely project completion.”
  • “Managed multiple projects simultaneously, maintaining high standards of quality and efficiency.”
  • “Developed and adhered to detailed schedules, maximizing productivity and minimizing downtime.”
  • “Utilized time management tools and techniques to stay organized and on track with assignments.”
  • “Consistently allocated appropriate time for planning, execution, and review, optimizing workflow and outcomes.”

Related: 10 Strategies to Improve Your Time Management Skills

Adaptability

A key personal characteristic employers look for adaptability. This quality enables you to adjust to new situations and tackle new challenges with an open mind. Being able to embrace change and adapt quickly is essential in today’s fast-paced workplace, where roles and tasks may evolve continuously.

Example Phrases to Showcase Adaptability on a Resume:

  • “Quickly adjusted to new work environments and job responsibilities, maintaining high performance levels.”
  • “Embraced changes in project scope and direction, remaining flexible and responsive to new challenges.”
  • “Adapted to evolving technologies and processes, continuously updating skills to stay current.”
  • “Handled unexpected obstacles with a positive attitude, finding creative solutions to keep projects on track.”
  • “Thrived in dynamic settings, successfully managing shifting priorities and varying workloads.”

Professionalism

Employers highly value professionalism in their employees. This quality can be demonstrated through punctuality, a neat and clean appearance, and an ability to communicate clearly and respectfully. Being professional also includes having a strong work ethic and being accountable for your actions, as well as being prepared for meetings or tasks. Showcasing your professionalism in your workplace not only impresses your boss, but it can also contribute to a positive work environment.

Example Phrases for a Resume:

  • “Consistently adhered to company policies and procedures, exemplifying reliability and integrity in all tasks.”
  • “Maintained a high standard of work quality, ensuring accuracy and attention to detail in all assignments.”
  • “Demonstrated respect and courtesy in all interactions, fostering a positive and collaborative work environment.”
  • “Handled confidential information with discretion and maintained the highest level of confidentiality.”
  • “Presented a polished and professional demeanor in all communications and presentations.”
  • “Actively sought out opportunities for professional development, staying current with industry trends and best practices.”
  • “Exhibited a strong work ethic, consistently delivering high-quality results and meeting deadlines.”
  • “Approached challenges with a solution-oriented mindset, maintaining composure and professionalism under pressure.”
  • “Displayed accountability by taking responsibility for actions and outcomes, and proactively addressing any issues.”
  • “Supported team members and contributed to a culture of mutual respect and professionalism.”

Creativity

Another personal quality that employers look for is creativity. With a creative mind, you can bring new ideas and innovative solutions to the table, helping your company grow and evolve. Being able to think outside the box and find unconventional ways to solve problems is a valuable skill, especially in today’s fast-paced business world. To cultivate and express your creativity, don’t be afraid to brainstorm and share your unique ideas with your team.

Example Phrases for a Resume:

  • “Developed innovative solutions to complex problems, enhancing project outcomes and efficiency.”
  • “Conceptualized and executed unique marketing campaigns that increased brand awareness and engagement.”
  • “Designed visually appealing and user-friendly graphics and layouts for various digital and print media.”
  • “Collaborated with team members to brainstorm and implement creative ideas, driving product development and innovation.”
  • “Introduced fresh perspectives and imaginative approaches to projects, consistently delivering standout results.”

Detail-Oriented

Attention to detail is another personal quality highly sought by employers. Being detail-oriented means you take the time to carefully read and analyze information, potentially catching errors or inconsistencies that others might miss. This trait is particularly important in roles where accuracy and precision are essential, such as finance, software development, or design. To demonstrate your detail-oriented nature, proofread your work, ask questions to clarify instructions, and take organized notes during meetings. This will help ensure that tasks are completed accurately and efficiently.

Example Phrases for a Resume:

  • “Meticulously reviewed documents and reports to ensure accuracy and completeness, minimizing errors and inconsistencies.”
  • “Maintained organized and precise records, facilitating efficient data retrieval and analysis.”
  • “Paid close attention to project specifications and requirements, delivering high-quality work that met or exceeded expectations.”
  • “Conducted thorough quality checks and audits, identifying and addressing potential issues before they became problems.”
  • “Demonstrated exceptional attention to detail in all tasks, contributing to the overall success and reliability of team projects.”

Personal Qualities Employers Seek: Additional Resources

Adaptability: Employers appreciate employees who can adjust to changing circumstances and remain flexible when faced with new challenges. For example, you might have to quickly learn new technology or adapt to a sudden change in your work environment. Learn more: Best Answers: “Tell Me About a Time You Went Above and Beyond”

  150 Example Phrases: Top Transferable Skills Every Company Wants

Communication skills: Effective communication is essential in any workplace. This includes listening to others, expressing your ideas clearly, and understanding how to adjust your communication style based on the situation or audience. An example might be explaining a complex concept in simpler terms so that your coworkers can better understand it. Learn more: How to Improve Key Communication Skills and What is Your Communication Style? (4 Types with Examples)

Teamwork: Being able to collaborate and work well with others is a crucial skill in most jobs. Employers value team players who can contribute to projects, share ideas, and support their colleagues. For instance, you may have experience working in a group to complete a project or solve a problem. Learn more: Key Leadership Skills You Need (to Lead a Team)

Problem-solving: Employers want employees who can think critically and devise creative solutions to challenges they encounter in their work. An example of this skill in action might include finding a workaround to a technical issue or implementing a new method to streamline workflow. Learn more: Top Problem Solving Skills for Today’s Job Market

Integrity: Trustworthiness and a strong work ethic are qualities employers value highly in their employees. This means being honest, taking responsibility for your actions, and keeping your commitments. Exhibiting integrity could involve acknowledging your mistakes or consistently meeting deadlines. Learn more: “Difficult to Work With Someone” (Best Answers)

Resilience: The ability to bounce back from setbacks is essential in any work environment. Resilient employees maintain a positive attitude, learn from their experiences, and continue to push forward. For example, you may have faced a significant obstacle in a previous job but found a way to overcome it and achieve success. Learn more: Smart Answers to “What Challenges Have You Overcome?”

Frequently Asked Questions

What traits do employers value most in their employees?

Employers appreciate employees who exhibit strong communication skills, dependability, and adaptability. Teamwork and problem-solving abilities are also highly valued. Demonstrating a strong work ethic, showing initiative, and having a positive attitude will impress your employer and possibly help you advance in your career.

Which key personal qualities should be highlighted on a resume?

On your resume, highlight personal qualities like strong communication skills, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills. Demonstrating your ability to multitask, work under pressure, and efficiently manage time will emphasize your suitability for a range of positions. Additionally, showcase your dependability, adaptability, and teamwork skills.

What personal traits contribute to success for students?

Successful students often possess traits such as time management, effective communication, and strong work ethic. Some students excel due to their self-motivation, adaptability, and critical thinking abilities. Resilience and discipline are also crucial traits for navigating academic life.

How can someone develop desirable professional attributes?

Developing desirable professional attributes requires consistent practice and active learning. Assess your current strengths and areas for improvement, then create achievable goals to work toward. Take advantage of resources like training programs, workshops, or online courses to improve specific skills. Furthermore, seek advice from mentors and regularly challenge yourself in professional settings to foster growth.

What are the top characteristics that make a person stand out?

Some characteristics that make a person stand out include strong interpersonal skills, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and a growth mindset. People who are proactive, have creative problem-solving skills, and exhibit a strong sense of integrity are more likely to impress their peers and superiors.

Which qualities can enhance one’s professional image?

Enhancing your professional image involves maintaining a professional demeanor, dressing appropriately, and consistently striving for excellence. Develop strong communication skills and actively participate in discussions or meetings. Building positive relationships with colleagues, staying organized, and showing a willingness to learn will also improve your professional image.

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