What Is Conscientiousness? (With Characteristics and Jobs)

Updated October 3, 2022

Conscientiousness is an important trait that can define an individual's personality. Employers often seek professionals who display conscientious qualities, such as thoroughness and dependability, in every industry. Learning about conscientiousness in the workplace can help you develop and market your qualities in a professional setting and advance your career.

In this article, we discuss 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.

What is conscientiousness?

Conscientiousness is one of the Big Five personality traits and typically relates to awareness. Conscientious individuals have additional skills and awareness in organization, time management and self-control. While some naturally operate with a conscientious personality, you can also develop many of the characteristics with practice and patience.

What are the benefits of conscientiousness?

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

There are also health benefits associated with conscientiousness that can positively affect an individual's work. If a person is conscientious, they're 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. 

Related: 15 Top Character Traits To Demonstrate at Work and in Resumes

Characteristics of conscientious professionals

Conscientious people may showcase these characteristics often:


Individuals with conscientious personalities often dedicate themselves to a plan. You may find it fulfilling to complete tasks and often go to work early and leave late to finish them on time. This level of commitment and determination can prove a valuable skill to many employers and organizations.

Related: 6 Tips for Showing Your Dedication to Work

Emotional intelligence

Nearly every industry values emotional intelligence. Conscientious people typically have an increased awareness of their teams' and customers' reactions during conversations. With conscientiousness, you can mimic nonverbal communication patterns to show your focus on the discussion and provide emotionally appropriate responses. This can improve your communication and interpersonal skills.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions, Examples and How To Improve Them


Being thorough means exploring every possibility to include all the details. Conscientious individuals work with a detail-oriented mindset and prefer to produce quality work instead of quantity. Careers that focus on quality and precision may seek professionals with advanced conscientiousness.

Related: 15 Jobs for Detail-Oriented People


Most conscientious people also have high reliability. Team members and managers trust a conscientious professional to help wherever they can. Their consistency and dependability can lead to promotions, raises and advancement.


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. This level of organization can make you a valuable asset to an organization.

How can I learn to be more conscientious?

You can develop conscientious qualities by following these tips:

Prioritize projects

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 reduce mistakes.

Related: How To Prioritize Workplace Tasks (With 5 Steps and Tips)

Focus on work

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.

Related: 12 Strategies and Tips To Improve Your Focus at Work

Persevere through challenges

When you're encountering a challenge, consider seeking the help of peers 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 can help you gain a sense of accomplishment when working on a challenging activity. Resolving to finish the work you start builds trust with your manager and team members.

Related: How To Be More Conscientious at Work in 7 Steps

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.

Related: How To Ask Someone To Be Your Mentor

4 jobs that typically require conscientiousness

Any profession that places importance on concentration, attention to detail and accuracy can offer a fitting career for those with this trait. Here are four jobs to consider:

1. Administrative assistant

National average salary: $49,781 per year

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 require emotional intelligence and strong attention to detail to oversee workplace operations. 

2. Commercial pilot

National average salary: $56,010 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 use strong organizational skills to manage multiple tasks.

3. Therapist

National average salary: $74,657 per year

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 refer patients to a psychologist or psychiatrist for additional treatment. Therapists require emotional intelligence to communicate with clients.

4. Surgeon

National average salary: $196,146 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 require attention to detail and time-management skills.

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link(s) provided.


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