Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Include Character Traits in a Resume

August 25, 2020

Potential employers often want to know about your hobbies, likes, dislikes, values and personality. They look for employees who are dependable and can work well with others. Personal attributes and qualities are essential for building relationships at work, group dynamics, teamwork and daily interactions with clients, colleagues and managers. In this article, we discuss character traits and how to list them on your resume.

What are character traits?

Character traits are the inherent values or personality characteristics that an individual possesses. These intuitive qualities and abilities are unlikely to change, and they collectively define who an individual is. Character traits, such as being kind and dependable, tend to appeal to employers and clients alike.

Top traits to include on your resume

A job interview is the best opportunity to demonstrate your traits and skills to the employer. However, to get a job interview, you must first be selected as a viable applicant based on your job application, cover letter and resume. You can improve your chances of being noticed by an employer by mentioning your character traits and attributes on your resume.

Here are the top qualities and skills that you can add to your resume:

  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • Organizational and management skills
  • Initiative
  • Self-drive and enthusiasm
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork

Flexibility

Having high flexibility is very important since jobs and industries are always changing. Change is driven by competition, technology and changing customer demands. Companies that adapt quickly to new realities tend to survive. Based on this fact, flexibility is undoubtedly a highly desired trait in any job. Being flexible means you can complete a given task in multiple ways and adapt to whatever circumstances arise. You also can handle new situations satisfactorily.

Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines

Pressure and stress levels vary from one job to another. For instance, the pressure you experience as a surgeon may be higher than what you might experience in another role. An employer is usually interested in knowing if you will remain calm under pressure and pursue the tasks efficiently. When writing your resume, give real-world examples of when you demonstrated having this ability.

Examples of this skill include meeting tight deadlines within budget and on time, working in a high-pressure, fast-paced work environment, handling complaints from customers and resolving conflicts amicably.

Organizational and management skills

Organizational and management skills are essential personal traits that are useful in many different roles. Proper resource and time management can be beneficial to any company and helps improve the success and productivity of many tasks and projects. Because of this, many employers may be more likely to consider applicants with these traits and skills listed on their resume. When talking about your organizational and management skills, give examples of the scenarios in which you proved to have such capabilities. Examples of using these skills may include working on multiple projects simultaneously, leading others in a team and completing a project within budget and on time.

Initiative

To show initiative, you must demonstrate that you are capable of taking the first step when necessary. To indicate initiative on your resume:

  • Mention any ideas, improvements or suggestions that you have suggested that had positive outcomes in your previous job.
  • Describe any activities, tasks or projects that you started independently.
  • When possible, include data that demonstrates how your initiatives were helpful or made improvements to your workplace.

Self-drive and enthusiasm

Employers tend to be interested in people who complete tasks with skill, are enthusiastic about what they do and are always looking forward to the next project. To demonstrate these qualities on your resume, you can use keywords such as 'motivated,' 'self-driven' and passionate' when discussing your career aspirations, accomplishments or previous roles.

Attention to detail

Employers like candidates with strong attention to detail and who strive for perfection in everything they do. Attention to detail refers to your ability to be thorough and accurate when completing tasks. Demonstrating this on your resume tells the employer that you can work productively and be effective in your role.

Teamwork

Teamwork skills refer to how well an individual can work in a team. Teamwork activities include dividing tasks fairly between members of the group, working toward common goals, helping to solve a problem and sharing information. Employers look for candidates who are team players because they can work effectively with others to achieve the specific objectives and goals of the company.

How to let an employer know that you have the ideal character traits

The following tips will you convince an employer that you have the character traits, qualities and skills they are looking for:

  • Use stories and examples to narrate how you solved a problem or learned something at a previous position.
  • Express excellent communication skills on the telephone, on your resume and during the in-person interview.
  • Have a great reference letter from your previous employer to give to your prospective employer.
  • Ensure the references you receive from the supervisors at the places you volunteered or worked in the past tell something positive about you.
  • Accompany your resume with a cover letter that demonstrates your understanding of the traits and skills needed for the job. In your message, provide examples of where you have used these skills before.
  • Customize your resume to include words that employers are continually looking for, as this will enable you to get their attention.

Examples of personal attributes and qualities to include on your resume

Depending on which attributes and qualities you wish to mention on your resume, there are three places where you can capture them.

In the employment section

For instance:

  • 'Provided emotional support to patients suffering from anxiety and depression.' A mention of this demonstrates your emotional intelligence.
  • 'Communicated with several stakeholders, including the general public, suppliers, clients, managers and colleagues.' This demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.
  • 'Met deadlines within budget and on time.' This demonstrates your organizational abilities.
  • 'Supervised a group of 30 on-site casual workers.' This demonstrates management qualities.

In the skills section

For instance:

Skills:

  • Ability to handle stressful situations in a professional and calm manner
  • Confident and professional with excellent persuasion, diplomacy and negotiation skills
  • Expert knowledge of the effective sales techniques and selling process
  • Excellent interpersonal skills demonstrated in the ability to develop strong working relationships with staff and to serve clients effectively

In your profile statement

For instance:

'I am a reliable, hardworking and committed manufacturing engineer with a positive attitude, eagerness to accept opportunities and challenges and a strong engineering and manufacturing background. I have previously worked in fast-paced and busy environments. I have a track record of introducing improved manufacturing methods, resulting in increased operational efficiency and reduced costs. I take complete ownership of my tasks, and I am always willing to go a step above to deliver and surpass the expectation when possible.'

How to organize your resume's skills section

Organize the skills section on your resume can make it easier for the hiring manager to find your qualities and character traits. Use the following steps when adding skills to your resume:

1. Categorize by skill

If you are farther along in your career path, the chances are that you have numerous responsibilities cutting across several departments and platforms. If you are an operations director or manager at a company, your duties may include hiring and training staff, developing and managing projects, communicating with vendors and stakeholders, maintaining smooth daily operations and managing teams. With your achievements or task-based information, you can categorize the content into sections as a way of illustrating diversity in your responsibilities.

2. Add a section for highlights

Modern resumes should be value-oriented. Provide information that is more achievement-based than task-based. If you have had many roles with varied achievements, select the top five that you're most proud of and incorporate them into the section of career highlights.

3. Sort by relevance

If you are applying for a job as a sales executive, you'll want to prioritize and emphasize expertise that refers to a sales role. In the event you lack the exact experience the employer is looking for, then you should search through your existing position for relevant skills. For instance, if you were in the customer care department at an engineering firm, then that can act as an interchangeable skill in sales and marketing.

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