Conscientiousness: Signs You Have the Big 5 Personality Trait

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 30, 2021 | Published January 29, 2020

Updated August 30, 2021

Published January 29, 2020

Conscientiousness is an important trait that can define an individual’s personality. People who display conscientious qualities, such as thoroughness and dependability, are highly sought after by employers in every industry. In this article, we explore the common characteristics conscientious people share, how you can develop this marketable trait and a list of jobs that typically require a high level of conscientiousness.

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What is conscientiousness?

Conscientiousness is a personality trait connected with awareness. Conscientious individuals are typically organized, plan their time carefully and demonstrate self-control. While some people tend to be conscientious, you can develop many of the characteristics with practice and patience.

What are the benefits of conscientiousness?

If you are a conscientious person, you usually have a strong desire to complete objectives and to overcome challenges. Conscientious people also tend to offer value to the workplace. Managers value goal-oriented individuals and may be inclined to trust them with important tasks. Increased responsibility can lead to promotions and raises.  

There are also health benefits associated with conscientiousness that can positively impact an individual’s work. If a person is conscientious, they are more likely to pay attention to what they eat and exercise regularly, which can increase alertness, mental ability and productivity.

Those who are conscientious typically consider the consequences of their decisions. Examining possible outcomes can help develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in the workplace. 

Characteristics that conscientious people have

Conscientious people may demonstrate these characteristics:

Commitment

Those who are conscientious often dedicate themselves to a plan. If you are conscientious, you may find it fulfilling to complete tasks and will go to work early and leave late to finish them on time.

Emotional intelligence

Nearly every industry values emotional intelligence. Conscientious people are aware of their teams’ and customers’ reactions during conversations. With high conscientiousness, you can mimic nonverbal communication patterns to demonstrate their focus on the discussion. 

Thoroughness

Being thorough means exploring every possibility to include all of the necessary details. Conscientious individuals are detail-oriented and prefer to produce quality work instead of quantity. 

Dependability

Most conscientious people are reliable. Team members and managers trust a conscientious coworker to help wherever they can.

Organization

Conscientious employees usually keep an organized workspace and schedule. You may prefer a tidy work area to perform your duties and structure your time to ensure you complete your assigned tasks if you are conscientious.

How can I learn to be more conscientious?

You can develop conscientious qualities by trying the following:

Prioritize

Order your projects beginning with the most important. Complete tasks that your coworkers need first, or ones that have an approaching deadline. Give each project your full attention and best effort. Try to create a thorough schedule for your projects that allows you sufficient time to produce quality work. By ordering your projects and giving them plenty of time, you can increase the quality of your work and be less likely to make mistakes. 

Focus

Reduce distractions while you work. Keep only work-related internet tabs open, and place your smartphone out of reach until you have a break. When you focus on your duties, you can get more done in less time and successfully meet deadlines.

Persevere

There are various techniques you can use to complete a project. If facing a challenge, consider seeking the help of coworkers who can offer a new perspective or may have more experience. Also, try separating a large project into smaller tasks that take less time to finish. Completing smaller tasks will help you gain a sense of accomplishment if you’re working on a challenging activity. Resolving to finish the work you start will build trust with your manager and team members.

Ask for guidance

Mentors and life coaches can help you develop techniques to improve conscientious qualities. They can encourage you to be more thoughtful and diligent in your workplace. Try meeting regularly with your mentor to review your progress toward becoming a more conscientious person.

Jobs that typically require conscientiousness

Any profession that places importance on concentration, attention to detail and accuracy would be perfect for those with this trait. Here are four jobs to consider:

1. Administrative assistant

National average salary: $15.30 per hour

Primary duties: Administrative assistants ensure their workplaces function smoothly. They greet guests, answer phones, respond to emails and order office supplies. Some administrative assistants help with onboarding and human resources duties. Additional duties can include creating spreadsheets, taking notes during meetings and assisting with job travel. Administrative assistants need emotional intelligence and strong attention to detail to oversee workplace operations. 

Companies with this position: Wells FargoUPSMarriott International, Inc.

2. Therapist

National average salary: $30.25 per hour

Primary duties: Therapists work with patients to improve mental health. They hold regular appointments with clients to discuss emotions and experiences to develop ongoing treatment plans. Therapists can work with individuals or families who seek guidance in managing their mental health. In some cases, therapists will refer patients to a psychologist or psychiatrist for additional treatment. Therapists need emotional intelligence to communicate with clients. 

Companies with this position: CenterstonePathwaysCenter for Discovery

3. Commercial pilot

National average salary: $73,724 per year

Primary duties: Commercial pilots work for airlines to transport customers or cargo. They review the condition of the planes, fill out flight itineraries and work closely with a team of aircraft professionals to ensure safe flights. They use a variety of instruments to take off, land and navigate weather patterns. Commercial pilots must have strong organizational skills to manage multiple tasks.

Companies with this position: American AirlinesFrontier AirlinesDelta

4. Surgeon

National average salary: $193,037 per year

Primary duties: Surgeons perform a variety of procedures on patients. They evaluate and analyze patients’ medical histories, and create a surgical plan including pre- and post-operation steps. Working closely with a team of medical professionals, surgeons ensure successful operations. They may also prescribe medications such as antibiotics and sedatives. Since surgeons often perform procedures in high-pressure and emergency situations, they must have strong attention to detail and time-management skills. 

Companies with this position: International SOSU.S. ArmyVohra Wound Physicians

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