15 Top Character Traits To Demonstrate at Work and in Resumes
Updated May 31, 2022
Published October 30, 2018
Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.
Your character traits are based on your personality, morals, ethics and beliefs. Knowing your best character traits can help you develop them further and use them to your advantage in your career, from writing a compelling resume or cover letter to requesting a promotion.
In this article, we define 15 character traits that can boost your career.
What are character traits?
Character traits are individual parts of your personality and behavior that express who you are as a person. These aspects of your personality can tell a hiring manager how you work with others or handle tasks. Highlighting your best and most relevant character traits in your resume and interview can help you get hired.
Related: How To Ask for a Character Reference
Positive character traits:
ambitious, creative, compassionate, patient, courageous, flexible, honest, humble, honorable, loyal, conscientious, persistent, resilient, disciplined
15 examples of best work character traits
While many character traits can contribute to career success, here are some of the top ones that can help you advance in the workplace:
An ambitious person is someone who has a strong desire to achieve success by meeting their goals. You might have demonstrated ambition when you applied hard work and dedication to overcome a challenge or exceed company objectives.
Someone creative can use their imagination to make or invent something. Creativity doesn’t only apply to artistic roles. It requires creativity to solve a difficult problem, present information in a clear, interesting way or 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 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 health care and finance.
Humble people can 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.
9. Honorable (Integrity)
Someone honorable has integrity and acts according to their principles 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 loyal can be trusted with sensitive information and is more likely to stay at a company long-term.
Patient people can 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 when you fail to meet a goal, but 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.
Curiosity is an important character trait that can drive someone to want to know or learn new skills, information and abilities without being asked beforehand. Curious employees are valued for their ability to independently motivate themselves to learn and grow in their roles and work. Being curious is an important trait for many types of jobs, especially jobs that could be described as open-ended, flexible and strategic.
These positive character traits are examples of sought-after personalities and behaviors that employers, hiring managers and recruiters look for when hiring candidates. While every job requires different skills and abilities, these examples of character strengths can help you seem more appealing to employers. Understanding your best and most relevant character traits at work can also support setting goals for your career, searching for a new job, receiving a performance review or when asking for a raise or promotion.
Related: Personality Assessments for Jobs
Character Reference Letter Format
The relationship of the reference to the candidate
How long the reference has known the candidate
Positive personal qualities, including specific examples
A statement of recommendation
The reference's contact information
Why are character traits important in the workplace?
When you know your best character traits, you can work to strengthen them. This can help you in a multitude of ways 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 could be more inclined to stand up for what you believe in or make a tough call at work.
Leveraging character traits in your job search
Review the traits below and carefully consider which of them you possess or identify with. Once you know your best attributes, be sure to address them in your resume, cover letter and interviews.
Character traits in your resume
You can weave your character traits into your resume summary by including language such as:
“4+ years of experience building creative solutions for an enterprise sales team.”
Also, include them in your work experience descriptions. For example, you could include a bullet point that reads:
“Maintained flexibility during company-wide restructure due to COVID-19 and implemented successful work from home processes under a tight deadline.”
Character traits in your cover letter
When writing a cover letter, you should display character traits that are relevant to the job. For instance, if you’re applying for a role in customer service, you might highlight a time you exercised patience and compassion.
Character traits in your interview
You should also work your best character traits into your responses to behavioral and situational interview questions such as “what are your greatest strengths” or “tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge.” 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.
Highlighting character traits for career advancement
Additionally, when your employer can recognize your character traits, it gives them a better sense of your strengths. Your character traits can provide insight into 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 and you are interested in the opportunity, you might bring to their attention that you are perceptive, empathetic, motivational and strategic. 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.
Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples
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