12 Personal Qualities To Include in Your Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 8, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Personal qualities are essential characteristics that make you a valuable employee. Understanding what personal qualities are and which qualities employers look for can enhance your resume and job search success. You can use this information to identify your unique personal qualities to include in your cover letter, resume, and throughout your interview responses. In this article, we discuss the definition of personal qualities, explain the difference between qualities and skills, and list 12 personal qualities essential to employers and how to include them on your resume.

What are personal qualities?

Personal qualities are the characteristics and attributes described in your personality. They are the aspects of your identity, temperament, and nature that make you who you are. You show your personal qualities in your core values, when dealing with others, and how you interact throughout your daily life. Unlike personal skills, personal qualities are intangible and embedded in your mental and emotional state.

Related: 12 Essential Life Skills For Improving Your Career

What is the difference between a personal quality and a personal skill?

Although similar, a personal quality differs from a personal skill. A personal quality is an aspect of your personality, it is who you are and how you interact with others. For example, you may be loyal, determined, and honest. These elements describe who you are. On the other hand, a personal skill describes a specific ability that you have developed with time and experience.

We categorized skills into hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are technical or knowledge-based abilities, such as coding a computer program or using a data spreadsheet effectively. Soft skills are like your personal qualities but relate to those qualities in action or practical application. For example, creative thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills are all considered soft skills.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Why is it important to understand your personal qualities?

Understanding your personal qualities is essential when searching for a job to ensure that you are applying for positions that meet your qualities and values. For example, if your personal qualities include creativity and taking initiative, but the company you're working for values structure and obedience, the position may not satisfy you long-term. In addition, understanding your personal qualities allows you to showcase them to potential employers. You can highlight your qualities in your cover letter, your resume, and during your interviews.

Related: Personal Skills and Professional Skills You Should Have on Your Resume

12 personal qualities examples

Depending on the company, industry, and position, each organization looks for unique personal qualities in its candidates. A position's responsibilities and tasks often determine the personal attributes deemed important. For example, a company looking to fill an outside sales representative position may want someone persuasive, resilient, and persistent. However, many personal qualities are universal within the job market. To better understand the personal qualities that employers value, we have gathered 12 examples:

1. Ambition

Ambition is the desire to do or achieve something, typically requiring hard work and determination. Having ambition likely means that you work hard at your job to get ahead, achieve your professional goals, and contribute to your team's success. You likely take on added responsibilities and duties to show your ambition in your role. Employers value the quality of ambition in many positions, such as sales, marketing, finance, and business management.

2. Confidence

As a personal quality, confidence is the belief in your abilities and skills. You trust yourself to take the best action, and you rely on your knowledge and experience. Confident people focus on their strengths and learn from their mistakes quickly. As a confident employee, you complete your tasks with accuracy and skill while showing others the way. Employers value the quality of confidence in various positions, such as training and development, customer service, and technical positions.

Related: How to Build More Self-Confidence (And Why It's Important)

3. Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is the desire to complete your job to the best of your ability, being diligent and thorough. Being conscientious means that you take your obligations and responsibilities seriously and expect others to do the same. You double-check your work before submitting it to your supervisor to make sure it's error-free. Conscientiousness is a valued quality for employers in all positions, as it reflects work ethic, attention to detail, and personal commitment.

4. Creativity

Creativity is the ability to use your imagination or original ideas to develop new concepts. And creativity is not just for artists and writers; it is a quality used in everyday life. For example, trying to find the fastest route to work on a day with lots of construction takes creativity. You also use creativity when planning a new project, setting objectives, and even staying within a budget. Creativity is valuable in many positions, such as marketing, advertising, business development, and journalism.

Related: 10 Outstanding Careers for Creative People

5. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is having an intense interest or enjoyment in a particular thing, item, or event. Enthusiasm requires positivity, eagerness, and optimism. As an enthusiastic employee, you are a cheerleader for your team and company. You encourage your colleagues when things get complicated, and you lift others up to celebrate successes. Enthusiasm is a contagious quality and spreads quickly to others around you, improving company morale.

6. Flexibility

Flexibility is the willingness to change and adapt to situations and circumstances. When you're flexible, you can deal with unexpected challenges calmly. It also means you change quickly and with positivity. Change affects every organization, and having flexible employees is a critical asset during uncertain times. As a flexible employee, your company counts on your ability to assist with change management within the organization, take on different responsibilities, or change the way you work.

Related: What Are Flexibility Skills on Resumes? (With Examples)

7. Honesty

Honesty is the value of being sincere, without deception. Honesty can be a hard quality to embody unless you use it with empathy and compassion. Being honest with someone means saying exactly what you mean. It's uncomfortable to be honest in certain situations, such as expressing your opinion to a supervisor or giving feedback to a colleague. Ultimately, honesty builds trust and integrity in a company. Employers who value honesty are interested in growing and strengthening as a company and understand the importance of open communication.

Related: 50 Core Values to Advance Your Career

8. Humility

Humility is the ability to admit when you are wrong and the quality of being humble. It is being able to acknowledge that you don't have all the answers and asking for help from others when you need it. Humility is also the absence of pride or arrogance. Having humility in the workplace means that you have an open mind, listen to others' opinions and ideas, and apologize when you're in the wrong. Humility is a vital characteristic of a strong leader, so management and supervisors value this quality.

9. Initiative

Initiative is the quality of doing what needs to be done without waiting to be asked. When you take the initiative, you see an opportunity to take action, and you follow through. Companies often appreciate the quality of initiative in their employees when problem-solving, brainstorming, and troubleshooting. An initiative-driven employee works quickly and doesn't wait to be asked to complete tasks that need to be completed.

Related: How To Take Initiative in the Workplace (With Useful Skills)

10. Loyalty

Loyalty is a strong feeling of support or allegiance. Your loyalty makes you feel committed to the company's long-term success. Employees can be loyal to a company or an individual manager or supervisor. Dedicated employees produce high-quality work and have a strong work ethic to contribute to the department or team's achievements. Loyalty is a valued quality by most employers, as it is a characteristic that contributes to long-term employment and retention.

Related: How to Include Character Traits in a Resume

11. Perseverance

Perseverance is the quality of sticking with something even when it becomes challenging. You show perseverance when you work through struggles with a process or procedure and find a way to a positive result. Perseverance is an essential quality in many professions, such as engineering, scientific research, computer programming, and mathematics. But perseverance is a helpful quality in any role. For example, even after your computer crashes, you continue with your work to complete your task by the required deadline shows perseverance to your employer.

12. Reliability

Reliability is the quality of being depended upon, knowing that you follow through and are there to support the team or company. Reliability in action is doing what you said you would do or showing up when you meant to. As an employer, a reliable employee means that you'll be there if they schedule you for an extra shift. A dedicated employee is reliable, trustworthy, and stable.

Ways to add personal qualities to your resume

There are three key places where you can add personal qualities to your resume:

Resume objective or summary

When writing your resume objective or summary, include several keywords to describe critical personal qualities related directly to the position. Review the job description and focus on what the company has included. Choose qualities that highlight your ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of the role.

Related: Resume Objectives (With Examples)

Skills section

Within your skills section, be sure to include several personal qualities to describe how you perform a particular skill. For example, instead of saying you have excellent sales skills, you can say you are enthusiastic or ambitious about sales. You can also share achievements related to those skills.

Employment history section

When describing your previous responsibilities, include several words to describe your personal qualities useful in your past positions. Describe how you took the initiative to spearhead a new project, or how you showed reliability by being the first to arrive at work every morning.

Now that you know the difference between personal qualities and personal skills, and have been given examples of personal qualities, you can add your own to your resume moving forward in your job search.

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