What Are Personal Attributes? Definition and 20 Examples
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 15 September 2022
Published 6 December 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.
Employers seek candidates who have particular skill sets made of certain hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills, or technical skills, include abilities related to completing tasks associated with a particular job, and you may develop them through training.
Soft skills relate to your work ethic and personal traits or attributes, and they're typically natural rather than learned. In this article, we define what personal attributes are and provide examples of attributes that employers may seek.
What are personal attributes?
Personal attributes are natural personality traits that support and enable soft skills. These skills may make you more unique or determine how well you perform a certain task or job. Employers often look for specific personal attributes and soft skills that align with their company culture or certain careers.
Unlike technical skills, personal attributes cannot be taught through standard training. Therefore, it is important to highlight your personal attributes when you're applying for jobs because employers may prefer candidates with certain attributes.
20 examples of personal attributes
Here are some examples of personal attributes that employers may look for and how to show them in your workplace:
Authenticity relates to how genuine you are. You may show this by providing honest answers and being true to yourself in your interview. When you're working, you may demonstrate authenticity by showing how you truly feel each day. It's also important to act and treat others professionally.
Confidence in your abilities, education and qualifications may distinguish you from other candidates. They may help you better explain how an organisation could benefit from hiring you. Aim to present yourself confidently in your interview without seeming like you're bragging.
Curiosity is a beneficial attribute in the workplace because it encourages you to continue to acquire new skills and knowledge. This may help you learn more about new industries or clients, or motivate you to try new things. Consider demonstrating curiosity in your interview by discussing your work-appropriate hobbies. Talking about your hobbies shows your interest in various things and may help an employer understand more about who you are as an individual.
Diligence encompasses various soft skills, such as attention to detail and organisation. It fosters a commitment to success and ensures everything in a project is accurate. One way to demonstrate diligence is to follow all directions specifically, showing your comprehension skills and ability to do what's asked of you.
Empathy refers to the ability to relate to others and understand their emotions. It's a crucial attribute to help employees understand each other and work well as a team. In an interview, you may show empathy by expressing sympathy for stories that the interviewer tells you or sharing genuine reactions to their feelings or concerns.
Flexibility is important for helping you adapt to changing situations. This is essential, as circumstances may frequently change in business. In your interview, consider sharing an example of a time you were flexible with your actions and achieved success. In the workplace, aim to remain calm during uncertainty, and approach each change as an exciting challenge and an opportunity to succeed.
Generosity involves helping others, especially when you may not benefit from the situation. This may help your co-workers appreciate you more and create a more positive and supportive work environment. While you may show generosity by offering to help a co-worker with their tasks, it may also be as simple as complimenting someone on their achievements or providing them with constructive feedback to improve their future performance.
Honesty is essential for creating trust among co-workers. It helps show that your employer can trust you with your responsibilities. It's also important to be honest as you apply for jobs or complete interviews. Provide accurate information and descriptions about your experience to create a good first impression and establish a good precedent.
Initiative refers to your ability to complete a task before someone asks you to do so. This may help you improve your decision-making skills, and it may demonstrate your leadership abilities or growth potential to an employer. Considering sharing an example of a time you showed initiative at a previous job during your interview.
Integrity relates to how well you represent and follow your morals. This involves acting as a good role model for others, speaking truthfully and behaving honourably. One way you may demonstrate integrity to a potential employer is by discussing a time you felt tempted to do something that violated the rules. Explain the situation and the temptation you experienced, and discuss why you made the decision that you did.
Kindness refers to your compassion and forgiveness of others. This is an important attribute for the workplace because people may make mistakes, and it's essential to be gracious and allow people to learn and grow. An easy way to show kindness at work is to aim to be understanding rather than passing judgment on others for frustrating things that happen.
Loyalty is an attribute that many employers prioritise because it suggests that you may work for their organisation for a long period. As a result, you may earn promotions and advance your career within the organisation over time. Use your resume and previous examples of long-term commitments to represent your loyalty. For example, discuss a job you worked for a long period, what you enjoyed about it or what you learned from the experience.
As an attribute, maturity relates to how sensitive you are and how you respond to changing situations. It involves being thoughtful about and respectful of the needs of others. For example, you may show maturity during the application process if an interviewer requests to reschedule your interview because of a personal emergency. Be accommodating of the change and avoid complaining about the situation.
Perseverance shows your ability to remain motivated to succeed in any circumstances. Show perseverance in your interview by sharing an example of a time you felt discouraged at work. Explain the situation and talk about how you responded to the situation and the results you achieved. Also, consider following up after your interview to show your motivation to secure the job.
Positivity may help you remain committed to your work and create a pleasant work environment. While it's important to be honest about your feelings, try to be optimistic about challenges. View them as opportunities to try or learn something new, and approach them with a positive attitude. You may also show this during an interview by providing an example of a time that you failed and highlighting what you learned from the experience.
Responsibility is a crucial attribute to ensure that you're productive at work. Complete all tasks on time and review your work before submitting it to ensure the quality is good. It's important to show that you are reliable and responsible during the application process. For example, if a company asks you to complete a test or sample project, be sure to follow the directions to complete the assignment and submit it before the deadline.
Sociability is important because it helps ensure each employee is pleasant to work with, thus creating a positive environment. Some roles may require more social skills than others. Engaging others in conversation and encouraging them to talk may help show your sociability.
Being tech-savvy enables you to understand and work well with different software products or gadgets. This attribute may help you in leading the organisation to become more efficient or adapt well to advancements in technology. One way to show that you're tech-savvy at work would be to implement the use of productivity apps or other tools to streamline communications and improve efficiency.
Thriftiness refers to your ability to make cost-effective decisions. Employers often look for candidates who can find good deals or develop less expensive strategies so that they're able to reduce spending. Consider different ways you may be able to save an organisation money. Learn more about the company's industry and propose potential solutions that may be more financially advantageous.
Transparency, like honesty, relates to being open about your experience and qualifications. For example, you may provide a hiring manager with contact information for your previous employers, so they can learn more about how you truly are as an employee. Another way to show transparency is by encouraging others to ask you questions or sharing as much information as you know with others.
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