Character Traits: Definition and Examples

Character traits are commonly defined qualities that we look for in individuals. These traits inform how you think about the world, overcome obstacles and complete tasks. These qualities provide value to you as an individual and anyone you meet. Aligning yourself with certain character traits can help you make ethical decisions and help define yourself in relation to your personal goals and passions.

Related: Setting Goals to Improve Your Career

To help you identify character traits that might apply to you, take time to review the following definition and list of several positive characteristics.

What are character traits?

Character traits are aspects of a person’s behavior that are valued by the community or society around them. They are often used in the context of specific situations, such as encountering an opportunity or a challenge. For example, think of your favorite hero in a book or movie you enjoy. How does this person act under pressure? How do they behave when others are in trouble? The words you would use to describe these behaviors such as brave, caring and honest, are character traits.

Everyone’s character traits are based on their personality, morals, ethics and beliefs.

Why are character traits important to the workplace?

When you know your best character traits, you can work to further develop them. This will help you in everything from advancing your career and achieving goals to developing relationships and growing your professional network.

Character traits can also help you make decisions that align with your values. For example, you might identify with being courageous, and as a result, you might be more daring in standing up for what you believe in or making a tough call.

Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples

Additionally, when an employer can recognize your character traits, it gives them a better sense of your strengths. Your character traits can also provide clues to how you might perform new job duties, communicate with peers, manage stress and handle high-pressure situations.

For example, if your employer is seeking to promote someone to a management position, they may seek employees who are perceptive, empathetic, motivational and strategic. That’s because these specific traits are characteristic of someone who can identify the needs of their team, understand their pain points, drive them to reach goals and determine the best next steps to achieve company objectives.

Character traits list: 13 examples of career-boosting traits

Here are several positive character traits that will be helpful in your career. Carefully consider which of these traits you possess or identify with. Once you know your best attributes, you can be sure you address them during your interviews by working them into your responses. Remember, it’s important to be specific when answering interview questions, so strive to share stories and experiences of times when you exhibited these traits in a professional setting.

If you are currently in a job, think of times you used these traits in your work. Recognizing your character strengths and weaknesses can assist you when setting goals for your career, depending on which will help you succeed in your career. Communicating these to your manager during performance reviews or when asking for a raise or promotion can help provide evidence for your case.



An ambitious person is someone who has a strong desire to achieve success by meeting their goals. You might demonstrate ambition when you applied hard work and dedication to overcome a challenge or exceed company objectives.



Someone who is creative can use their imagination to make or invent something. Creativity doesn’t just apply to artistic roles, though. It requires creativity to solve a difficult problem, present information in a clear, interesting way or to find better ways to complete tasks.



A compassionate person is someone who can both feel and express sympathy for others. You might display compassion when you help a colleague overcome a difficult challenge. Compassion is a helpful trait in any position but could be especially helpful in customer service roles.



Someone who is conscientious is careful and takes purposeful action. They are concerned with doing what is right and to fulfill a duty. Generally, conscientious people also have a higher level of self-discipline and strive to complete every task to the best of their ability.



A courageous employee is someone who is not deterred by challenges and difficulties. They’re likely to take on projects others fear may be too hard or require too much work. They might also take more calculated risks in the workplace, which can lead to gains for a company.



Flexible people can quickly adapt to changes in plans, such as shortened project timelines or new client needs. The ability to modify your behaviors based on changes in the work environment is critical to succeeding in fast-paced roles and companies.



An honest person is always sincere and truthful and generally does not feel comfortable participating in deceptive practices. While honesty is essential in all positions, it’s especially important in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare and finance.



Humble people are able to exercise humility. They avoid boasting about their accomplishments and are respectful when earning praise or recognition. You may display this trait if you’re a leader who ensures your entire team is given credit for achieving a goal.


Honorable (Integrity)

Someone who is honorable has integrity and acts according to their principals and ethics. An honorable employee is someone who will ensure they always behave in ways that reflect positively on the company where they work.



A loyal employee is supportive of an organization and its mission. Someone who is loyal can be trusted with sensitive information and is more likely to stay at a company long-term.



Patient people are able to tolerate setbacks, delays or unexpected challenges without becoming anxious or angry. Having patience is essential for jobs where it can take a long time to see the results of your efforts, such as when leading a marketing team or campaign.



Employees who are persistent work in relentless pursuit of goals. They continue along their path despite any obstacles or difficulties they face along the way. Persistence is an excellent trait for someone in sales, journalism, public service or law.



A resilient person is someone who can quickly recover from setbacks, stress, adverse situations or unexpected changes. For example, you might be a resilient employee if when you fail to meet a goal, you quickly put together a plan to exceed your next objective.



Someone with self-discipline can overcome temptations to stray from the path to success, such as procrastination and self-doubt. Self-disciplined employees work hard and often need little to no supervision.

This is just a sampling of positive character traits that can help position you for the job you want or succeed in the role you have. If you’re not sure which characteristics apply to you, consider asking trusted peers what they perceive as your most valuable traits and look for ways to apply them in the job every day.

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