Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 12 Apr 2021
What are personal qualities and skills?
Personal qualities are the characteristics, attributes or personality traits of an individual. Examples of personal attributes include being honest, having a good sense of humour or being dependable.
Personal skills refer to the inner abilities or skills of an individual and are a type of soft-skills, meaning they are intangible and difficult to define.
Hard skills, on the other hand, are skills that can be quantified and measures (e.g. ability to code or service cars).
Examples of personal skills include the ability to communicate with others, solving problems or thinking creatively.
Why do recruiters care about the personal qualities of employees?
Unless you’re a soulless robot*, employers are very much interested in your human side including your personality, values, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. They want employees that are dependable and can work with others.
Having the technical skills and know-how to do a technical job is essential, but soft-skills are critical too.
Personal qualities or attributes are highly important for teamwork, group dynamics, building relationships and in day-to-day interactions with colleagues, managers or clients.
* Apologies to any AI robots who felt offended by this depiction.
List of skills and qualities to use on your CV
The best way to demonstrate your personal skills and qualities to the employer is during the job interview. Unfortunately, to get a job interview you have to be shortlisted based on your CV, cover letter and job application.
One way to solve this problem is to make mention of your personal attributes and traits on your CV. This will give the employer the assurance that you do possess soft-skills which will aid you in your job.
Below you will find a list of skills and personal qualities that you can use on your CV. These attributes have been specifically selected due to the value that employers attach to them.
Tip: You should endeavour to mention any real-world examples associated with whichever skill or quality you mention.
1. Interpersonal skills
Your interpersonal skills are your abilities to communicate and interact with others. Examples of interpersonal skills include communication (verbal, written and listening), interpretation body language, managing emotions, negotiating and resolving conflicts.
This is probably the single most important personal skill to include on your CV as it is essential for almost all jobs and highly valued by employers!
2. Teamwork skills
Your teamwork skills refer to how well you work with others in a team.
Key activities in teamwork include sharing information, helping to resolve a problem, working towards common goals, properly dividing tasks between team members, etc.
The reason why employers value team players is because everyone, no matter what their job is, will be working together with others to achieve certain goals or objectives. That is the very definition of a team. Therefore, we are all team players and employers prefer the candidates that possess or have demonstrated excellent teamwork skills.
3. Leadership skills
Leadership is an important quality to have, even when you’re not in a management or leadership position.
This is because leadership consists of many other components that are desirable in any employee, including taking responsibility for one’s own work and mistakes, having a long-term vision and not be short-sighted, being productive at all times and leading others to a successful outcome.
Possessing these characteristics means you do not need someone to spoon-feed you or hold your hand on a daily basis in order for you to do your job.
An effective way of demonstrating leadership skills on your CV is to mention any leadership positions you have held in the past;
- Project manager
- Class representative (in college or university)
- Leader/coach/captain of a sports club or team.
4. Attention to detail
Attention to detail is highly valued by employers because applicants with attention to detail tend to strive for perfection in everything they do. They will go the extra mile and not settle for “good enough.”
When writing, they will not make silly spelling or grammar mistakes or write badly-formulated sentences and move on. When designing a product, they will design a product that fully meets the user requirements not just partly.
It seems that it would be a pretty good idea to mention having attention to detail on your CV, don’t you agree?
5. Enthusiasm and personal drive
No employer wants to employ a candidate who takes forever to do the most trivial of tasks or sighs deeply whenever asked to do something. These type of candidates lack enthusiasm and personal drive. Employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic about what they do; completing tasks with excellence and always looking forward to the next one.
How can you demonstrate this on your CV? You could use CV keywords such as “passionate”, “driven” and “motivated” when speaking about your previous jobs, accomplishments or career aspirations.
Your initiative is your ability to initiate or start things independently.
It means that you do not sit and wait for things to happen or common to you, you make things happen and you make things come to you. You are always taking the first step when required, and are never idle in the face of obstacles or challenges.
How to indicate that you have the initiative on your CV:
- Mention any projects, tasks or activities that you have started independently
- Mention any suggestions, improvements or ideas that you have put forward which has helped people in your previous job(s). For example, you suggested the introduction of a new IT system.
7. Management and organisational skills
Management and organisational skills are essential personal attributes which are required in most, if not all, jobs.
Research has shown that most projects and tasks fail because of mismanagement. Proper management of time, resources and focus can really do wonders in the workplace and make most projects, activities and organisations successful.
It is no wonder that most applicants mention that they have “excellent management skills” on their CVs!
Tip: Give real-world examples of incidents in which you demonstrated having excellent management or organisational skills (e.g. completed a project on time and within budget, lead others in a team and working on multiple projects simultaneously).
8. Willingness to learn
No one knows it all.
Some people think they do, but they don’t.
Employers are looking for people that are willing to learn and develop their skills and qualities further.
The best way to indicate your willingness to learn is by stating on your CV that you are taking on this position in order to grow professionally, personally or technically (whichever are applicable).
9. Ability to handle pressure and meet deadlines
Stress levels and pressure vary from one job to another, for example when comparing the job of a surgeon to that of a cleaner.
Applicants in most jobs, however, will one time or another experience extreme stress or pressure in order to get something completed or a problem/issue resolved on time.
Employers are interested to know whether these candidates will crack under pressure or stay calm and carry out the tasks efficiently.
One way to reassure prospective employers of your ability to handle pressure is to make mention of it in your CV by giving real-world examples of instances in which you demonstrated having this ability.
Examples could include:
- Resolving conflicts
- Handling customer complaints from aggressive customers
- Previously working in a fast-paced or high-pressure work environments
- Meeting tight deadlines on time and within budget
Flexibility is important because whole industries, let alone individual jobs, are constantly changing. This may be driven by competition, changing customer expectations or technology. The companies that adapt to the new realities survive, whereas those that can’t or won’t adapt will go out of business. It is for this reason that flexibility is a highly desired personal quality in any job candidate
Can you handle new situations?
Can you adapt to whatever circumstances you are presented with?
Can you complete a task in more than just one way?
If you can, you are officially a flexible individual!
How to write your personal qualities and attributes on your CV
Location on a CV + examples
Depending on what which traits you are mentioning, there are three places on your CV in which you can mention your personal attributes:
1) In the personal profile statement
I am a committed, hardworking and reliable Manufacturing Engineer with a strong manufacturing/engineering background and a positive attitude to challenges and opportunities. I have previously worked in busy, fast-paced and challenging environments with a track record of introducing improved methods of manufacture, resulting in reduced costs and increased operational efficiency. I take ownership of my tasks, and I’m willing to go the extra mile to deliver and exceed expectations where possible. My current job role involves supporting production in several areas; therefore prioritising my work activities is a key strength that I have developed. [Manufacturing Engineer CV Template]
2) In the skills section
3) In the employment section
- Supervised a group of six contractors (to demonstrate management skills).
- Met deadlines on time and within budget (to demonstrate organisational skills).
- Communicated with a wide range of stakeholders, including colleagues, managers, clients, suppliers and the general public (to demonstrate communication skills).
- Provided emotional support to patients suffering from depression and anxiety (to demonstrate emotional intelligence).
Tip: Write some of your personal qualities and attributes on your cover letter! Your CV and cover letter go hand-in-hand so don’t try to squeeze too many of these personal characteristics on your CV only.
Personal qualities, traits, attributes and skills make you the person you are. Employers are very much interested in their employees’ personal qualities because they enable them to successfully function in their jobs.
Writing important personal attributes, such as having excellent interpersonal skills or the ability to work under pressure, can really supercharge your CV.
Remember: You are only as good as your CV – make sure it is perfect!
Written by Sobhan Mohmand
Sobhan is a qualified Careers Advisor and Professional CV Writer with over 10 years of experience in helping job seekers get a job. He is a Member of the Careers Development Institute (CDI) and is listed on the official UK Register of Career Development Professionals. He holds a Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development (QCF).
The five broad personality traits described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. The five basic personality traits is a theory developed in 1949 by D. W.What personal qualities should I put in my CV? ›
- Interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills refer to qualities that help you communicate with and work well with others. ...
- Initiative. ...
- Drive and determination. ...
- Willingness to learn. ...
- Attention to detail. ...
- Teamwork skills. ...
- Leadership skills. ...
- Problem-solving skills.
The five broad personality traits described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. The five basic personality traits is a theory developed in 1949 by D. W.What are 3 examples of personal qualities? ›
12 personal qualities examples
- Enthusiasm. ...
- Conscientiousness. ...
- Motivation. ...
- Ambition. ...
- Confidence. ...
- Humility. ...
- Honesty. ...
|Skill or competency||Description|
|Writing||The ability to write clear and concise reports, documents, emails and letters.|
|Typing||Typing with great speed and high accuracy.|
|Data entry||Ability to type-up large amounts of data into electronic systems without mistakes.|
The four temperament theory is a proto-psychological theory which suggests that there are four fundamental personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic.What are personal skills examples? ›
Personal skills are recognised as soft skills which are not easy to teach (although not impossible). They are also known as interpersonal or even 'people' skills. Examples include dependability, adaptability, motivation, problem-solving, and analytical skills.What is a list of good personal qualities? ›
Examples of personal positive qualities: kind, gentle, strong, resilient, caring, assertive, hard-working, reliable, honest, practical, responsible, loyal, mature, creative, consistent, appreciative, capable, quick, sensitive, perceptive, patient, thoughtful, fit, trustworthy, shows initiative, motivated, versatile, ...What are my skills and attributes? ›
Attributes are qualities you might naturally have: Perhaps you're a naturally chatty person or have strong resilience. Skills are things you've learnt through work, training or education, or life experience: Skills are tangible and can be backed up by qualifications and real-life examples.
Skills are a vital part of your CV. They are key to showing an employer that you are qualified to do the job and they're also a ticket to being ranked highly by the applicant tracking system.Should I explain my skills on my CV? ›
Most job seekers place the key skills section at the front of the CV, after the profile and before the career history section. The reason for placing key skills so prominently is to show the reader early on that you have the right areas of expertise.How do I describe my skills level on my CV? ›
- Enlist the help of a template. ...
- List the skills you are most experienced in, first. ...
- List your technical skills before interpersonal skills. ...
- Include more expert and proficient skills than novice skills. ...
- Choose skills that reflect the job position. ...
- Use horizontal space.
- "I am passionate about my work." ...
- "I am ambitious and driven." ...
- "I am highly organized." ...
- "I'm a people person." ...
- "I'm a natural leader." ...
- "I am results-oriented." ...
- "I am an excellent communicator."
What is my best quality? I'd say my best quality is my friendliness. I always try to be positive and polite and friendly to people who I meet, especially the first time and I try to continue that but regardless of who they are I try to give them, you know, treat them friendly.How to describe your personality? ›
A suitable answer to a personality question should include strong words hiring managers want to hear. Some of these words include savvy, risk-taker, observant, energetic, creative, and organized. Others include courageous, honest, driven, result-oriented, positive, orderly, methodical, and adventurous, among others.What are the 16 personalities types list? ›
- ISTJ – The Logistician. These individuals tend to be serious, matter-of-fact, and reserved. ...
- ISFJ – The Defender. These individuals are friendly, responsible, and reserved. ...
- INFJ – The Advocate. ...
- INTJ The Architect. ...
- ISTP – The Crafter. ...
- ISFP – The Artist. ...
- INFP – The Mediator. ...
- INTP – The Thinker.
ISFJ: The ISFJ personality is known as “the protector,” “the defender,” or “the guardian” type. ISFJs are affirming, caring, and practical nurturers. This is the most common personality type among the general population.How many skills should you put on your CV? ›
You'll want to have anywhere between 5 and 10 skills in the skills section of your resume. Depending on what kind of job you're applying to, you'll want to pick the skills that are most relevant to the job description and add them.
Professional skills are career competencies and abilities used in the workplace that are beneficial for nearly any job. Professional skills are a combination of both hard skills (job-specific duties that can be trained) and soft skills (transferable traits like work ethic, communication, and leadership).What is a unique skill for a job? ›
There is no definitive answer to this question, as different skills may be more valuable in different industries or job roles. However, some commonly recommended skills include self-motivation, flexibility and adaptability, creativity, public speaking skills, data analysis skills, and project management skills.Should I put my personality on my CV? ›
Let your personality shine through when you're writing your CV, an expert has said. When you're working on your resume, you may think that you've got to appear completely professional – but in actual fact, showing your character is a good idea, and it doesn't make you look unprofessional.Should you include personal skills on a CV? ›
Skills are a vital part of your CV. They are key to showing an employer that you are qualified to do the job and they're also a ticket to being ranked highly by the applicant tracking system.What is my personality CV examples? ›
I am an enthusiastic, self-motivated, reliable, responsible and hard working person. I am a mature team worker and adaptable to all challenging situations. I am able to work well both in a team environment as well as using own initiative. I am able to work well under pressure and adhere to strict deadlines.What should you not put on your CV? ›
- Providing irrelevant personal information. ...
- Burying important information. ...
- Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. ...
- Unexplained gaps in employment. ...
- Lying or misleading information. ...
- Adding references to your CV. ...
- A long, waffly CV. ...
- Badly formatted CV.
6. Personal details. There's no need to include personal information on a resume such as your social security number, marital status, nationality, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs. In fact, it is illegal for employers to ask for these personal details.How do you write 10 qualities of yourself? ›
- Being a natural giver. ...
- Laughing at yourself. ...
- Never trying to impress others. ...
- Having strong boundaries. ...
- Having your emotions under control. ...
- Being genuinely happy for other people's success. ...
- Being passionate about something. ...
- Being kind to strangers.
- Trustworthiness, including honesty, reliability, punctuality, and loyalty.
- Respect and courtesy.
- Responsibility, including accountability, diligence, perseverance, self-management skills, and self-control.
- Fairness, including justice and freedom from prejudice.