What Are Core Values? 75 Personal and Professional Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 November 2022

Published 9 August 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.

Core values are personal ethics or ideals that guide you when making decisions, building relationships and solving problems. Identifying the values that are meaningful in your life can help you to develop and achieve personal and professional goals. Knowing these values can also help you find jobs and companies that align with your ideals. In this article, we discuss what core values are with examples and explain how you can use them to advance your career or fulfil your personal life.

What are core values?

Learning what core values are can be helpful in situations where you may speak about yourself, such as meeting with potential employers or meeting new people. Core values are a set of fundamental beliefs, ideals or practices that inform how you conduct your life, both personally and professionally. Identifying the values you find most important can help you discover how you make decisions, interact with others and complete tasks. They also impact your life choices, making it easier to decide what to do in challenging situations.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definition and Examples

Why are core values important?

Identifying core values for yourself or within a company can provide structure and guidance for decisions, purpose, mission statements and goals. Companies often choose a set of core values to guide the ways they hire and maintain staff, approach business practices and conduct communications. Your values impact how you treat others and respond to adversity. They also define your relationships by influencing who you associate with and who you choose to share your life's journey with.

Related: Interview Question: 'Tell Me About Yourself

Core values for the workplace

As you decide on your core values for the workplace, consider these ideals and how they can help you perform your job better:

Integrity

Valuing integrity in the workplace means that you strive to do the right thing in any circumstance or situation. Integrity involves making a choice to do what is right, even if no one else knows about your decision. You may also value honesty, transparency and a commitment to doing what's best for your clients, teammates and company.

Related: What Is Integrity? Definition, Attributes and Examples

Responsibility

Responsibility is a key value for the workplace because it means that you accept accountability for your job duties. When you consider responsibility an important value for the workplace, you understand the need to perform your role with excellence and ask for help when needed. You complete tasks and fix errors to produce the best work possible that meets or exceeds expectations.

Read more: How To Demonstrate a Strong Work Ethic to Your Employer

Growth

Growth is a core value for the workplace that can benefit both the employer and employee. Companies that value growth work to provide opportunities for employees to expand their capabilities and knowledge within the workplace. They look for ways to assign new responsibilities as employees show their ability to perform their job duties with excellence. Employees who value growth strive to learn more to advance their own skills and performance.

Achievement

Valuing achievement at work can benefit your personal growth and help advance company goals. When you work toward achievement, you strive to surpass basic performance levels, making success your objective. If you value achievement, you may also desire to advance your career through leadership positions or additional education and training.

Read more: Effective Ways to Enhance Your Personal Development Skills

Honesty

Honesty is an important value employers and employees share in the workplace because it ensures ethical business practices. This value is essential for maintaining a transparent and fair work environment. Honesty among coworkers, supervisors and clients creates positive relationships and fosters trust, making it easier to feel safe and valued at work.

Innovation

Valuing innovation means you challenge yourself to see what's possible to better meet the needs of your team, your customers and your company. You consider most tasks as work in progress, striving to improve and find ways to execute work processes better. You think of creative ways to solve tough problems and take calculated risks. Finding new ways to solve a challenge can change a company for the better and impact the entire marketplace.

Collaboration

The ability to work together with teammates toward a common goal is a key value for working professionals. Collaboration is an important part of many industries, from healthcare to technology. Learning to value the contributions and ideas of others often results in higher-quality products and more success in achieving company goals.

Leadership

Leadership is a core value that directly affects others. Leaders make decisions using wisdom and analysis, combining other values to achieve the best results for a team. If you value leadership, you may also care about success and achievement for yourself and others.

Communication

When you value communication, you respond to others and share ideas in a timely and clear way. You may also expect others to respond in the same way. You make an effort to answer and ask questions, extend your thoughts to others and explain your efforts to coworkers or company leaders.

Autonomy

The ability to work in a way that is most conducive to performing at your best is something both you and the company may value. As an employee, you may want to feel empowered to make decisions and take action. Companies may offer you the flexibility to work at your own pace and in your own way, as long as you continue to meet satisfactory performance standards.

More core values for the workplace

Here are additional ideals valued at work:

  • Knowledge

  • Accountability

  • Respect

  • Adaptability

  • Cooperation

  • Empathy

  • Support

  • Candour

  • Boldness

  • Initiative

  • Enthusiasm

  • Helpfulness

  • Hard work

  • Fairness

  • Optimism

  • Persistence

  • Quality

  • Self-improvement

  • Stability

  • Success

Examples of personal core values

Here are examples of the values that can shape your internal beliefs:

Kindness

Kindness is a value that determines how you treat others. Valuing this trait means you often consider others before yourself to identify what words or actions can be of most help. Choosing kindness as a core value can be an important way to make others feel comfortable and encouraged.

Wisdom

The quality of discerning between choices based on deep thinking and historical evidence is a core value many choose to develop throughout their lives. Those who value wisdom as a core value often seek knowledge and truth. They may also use this value to mentor and assist others.

Creativity

People who value creativity view the world as a source of different possibilities. They envision methods for overcoming a challenge or starting something new. Creativity is often associated with artistic pursuits; however, it can also inspire innovation in other areas like design, technology and culinary skills.

Generosity

Giving to others is a core value that impacts others through charitable actions. Generosity is also beneficial for those who give because it brings positive emotions and feelings of self-worth. This core value can also function in the workplace to inspire company leadership and employees at any level to give to others within and outside the company.

Dependability

People who focus on being dependable and appreciate this trait in others show stability and consideration. This value can make you someone others trust and call on for help during a challenging situation. Dependability means commitment and consistency in what you say and do. It can be important in both personal and professional endeavours like volunteerism, friendship and assigned responsibilities.

Humility

Valuing humility shows your ability to serve others and control your own ambitions. If you place humility as a core belief, you are often willing to admit your own faults and mistakes while praising the qualities of others. Humbleness can strengthen relationships by helping you gain the trust and respect of others.

Determination

Choosing to value determination is a way to challenge yourself and others to keep working toward a goal even after a failure or problem. If this is one of your core beliefs, you may use it to find personal success. It can also be a motivational tool when circumstances in your life become difficult, making it easier for you to continue to work toward a solution.

Morality

Those who value morality or showing morals have a strong sense of right and wrong. They appreciate acts that show a sense of justice and often seek what they believe is the most righteous solution to a problem based on deep personal convictions. If morality is one of your core values, you may place integrity and fairness as equal values to complement your desire to do what is right and uphold these standards for others.

Independence

If independence is one of your top values, you may seek to boldly follow your own path, both personally and professionally. Valuing independence means you want the freedom to make your own choices and live a lifestyle of your own choosing without relying on anything or anyone but yourself. You may desire solitude or the ability to function with complete autonomy.

More personal core values

Here are further choices to help you identify your core beliefs:

  • Patience

  • Authenticity

  • Courage

  • Excellence

  • Friendliness

  • Curiosity

  • Forgiveness

  • Endurance

  • Loyalty

  • Compassion

  • Service

  • Learning

  • Ingenuity

  • Positivity

  • Tenacity

  • Trustworthiness

Additional professional and personal core values

Different core values can help define your beliefs. Here are more values to consider as you determine what matters most to you:

  • Achievement

  • Altruism

  • Balance

  • Bravery

  • Courtesy

  • Diversity

  • Faith

  • Flexibility

  • Freedom

  • Honour

  • Humour

  • Justice

  • Intelligence

  • Peace

  • Reliability

  • Security

  • Simplicity

  • Teamwork

  • Tolerance

  • Work-life balance


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