Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 10 Apr 2023
In today’s competitive job market, a well-crafted CV goes beyond merely detailing work history and academic achievements.
The strategic inclusion of personal qualities and skills not only adds depth to your profile but also offers potential employers insight into your character and suitability for a role.
This article highlights the best personal qualities to put on a CV to effectively enhance your professional appeal and secure more job interviews.
Personal qualities are the characteristics, attributes or personality traits of an individual. Examples of personal attributes include being honest, having a good sense of humour or being dependable.
Personal skills refer to the inner abilities or skills of an individual and are a type of soft skills, meaning they are intangible and difficult to define. Hard skills, on the other hand, are skills that can be quantified and measured (e.g. ability to code or service cars). Examples of personal skills include the ability to communicate with others, solve problems or think creatively.
Unless you’re a soulless robot (apologies to any AI robots who felt offended by this depiction), employers are very much interested in your human side including your personality, characteristics, values, likes and dislikes. They want employees that are dependable and can work with others.
While technical skills and expertise are vital for performing a technical role, you also require a whole range of personal traits to be successful in your role. Your individual characteristics play a crucial role in effective time management, problem-solving, teamwork, building relationships and in day-to-day interactions with colleagues, managers or clients.
Below you will find a list of personal skills and qualities that you can add to your CV. These attributes have been specifically selected due to the value that employers attach to them and are relevant to a wide range of roles.
Remember, simply listing personal qualities on your CV might not fully convey their significance to potential employers. To make them more effective, pair these attributes with concrete real-life examples that showcase how you’ve applied them in various situations.
Your interpersonal skills are your ability to communicate and interact with others. Examples of interpersonal skills include communication (verbal, non-verbal, written and visual), interpreting body language, managing emotions, negotiating and resolving conflicts.
This is probably the single most important personal skill to include on your CV as it is essential for almost all jobs and highly valued by employers!
Your teamwork skills refer to how well you work with others in a team.
Teamwork encompasses a range of essential activities, such as information sharing, collaborative problem-solving, pursuit of shared objectives, delegation of tasks among team members and more.
The reason why employers value team players is because everyone, no matter what their job is, will be working together with others to achieve certain goals or objectives. That is the very definition of a team.
Therefore, we are all team players and employers favour candidates who exhibit exceptional teamwork skills or have demonstrated them effectively.
Leadership is an important quality to have, even when you’re not in a management or leadership position.
It encompasses various qualities sought in all employees, including taking responsibility for one’s own work and mistakes, having a long-term vision and not being short-sighted, being productive at all times and leading others to a successful outcome.
Exhibiting these attributes signifies your ability to work independently, eliminating the need for constant guidance or supervision in your daily tasks.
To showcase your leadership skills effectively on your CV, consider highlighting your previous roles in leadership, such as:
Attention to detail is highly valued by employers because applicants with this trait tend to strive for perfection in everything they do. They will go the extra mile and not settle for “good enough.”
In their writing, they avoid minor spelling and grammar errors, and they take care to craft well-structured sentences. When designing a product, they will design a product that fully meets the user requirements not just partly.
It seems that it would be a pretty good idea to mention having attention to detail on your CV, don’t you agree?
No employer wants to employ a candidate who takes forever to do the most trivial of tasks or sighs deeply whenever asked to do something!
Such candidates often lack enthusiasm and personal drive. Employers, however, prioritise individuals who exhibit a genuine passion for their work, consistently achieving tasks with excellence and embracing new challenges with anticipation.
How can you convey your enthusiasm and personal drive on your CV? An effective way to achieve this is to incorporate CV key words like “passionate”, “driven” and “motivated” when discussing your past roles, achievements or career aspirations.
Initiative refers to the proactive mindset and willingness to take action independently, often leading to innovative solutions and improvements.
It signifies an active approach where you don’t wait for situations to unfold or come your way naturally. Instead, you proactively initiate actions and opportunities. You’re consistently the one to take the first step when needed, showing determination in tackling obstacles and embracing challenges.
How to showcase initiative on your CV:
Management and organisational skills are essential personal attributes which are required in most, if not all, jobs.
Research has shown that most projects and tasks fail because of mismanagement. Proper management of time, resources and focus can really do wonders in the workplace and make most projects, activities and organisations successful.
To showcase this skill on your CV, provide tangible examples of real-world situations in which you exhibited excellent management or organisational skills. For instance, completing a project on time and within budget, leading a team and effectively handling multiple concurrent projects.
No one knows it all.
Some people think they do, but they don’t.
Employers are looking for people that are willing to learn and develop their skills and qualities further.
The most effective way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for learning is to mention on your CV that you’re pursuing this position with the aim of professional, personal or technical growth (whichever is applicable).
Stress levels and pressures differ across various job roles; for instance, comparing the demands of a surgeon to those of a cleaner.
In the majority of roles, professionals may encounter periods of intense stress or pressure, often driven by the need to complete tasks or resolve challenges promptly.
Employers want to know whether candidates will crack under pressure or stay calm and carry out the tasks efficiently.
To assure potential employers of your capacity to manage pressure, consider mentioning this skill on your CV and providing real-world examples of situations where you effectively demonstrated it.
Examples could include:
Flexibility is important as entire industries, including specific roles, undergo constant transformation due to factors such as competition, evolving customer expectations and technological advancements.
Companies that embrace these changes thrive, while those unwilling or unable to adapt face the risk of closure. As a result, flexibility stands as a highly sought-after personal attribute in any job candidate.
Ask yourself the following questions:
If you can affirmatively answer these questions, you possess the attributes of a flexible individual!
Depending on the traits you’re highlighting, there are three sections on your CV where you can showcase your personal attributes:
A personal profile statement is a concise introduction at the beginning of your CV that outlines your skills, qualifications and career objectives.
The skills section of your CV lists the specific abilities, competencies and expertise you possess that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
The employment section of a CV details your work history, including past job positions, responsibilities, and accomplishments.
Tip: Don’t overcrowd your CV with too many personal characteristics. Incorporate some of your personal qualities and attributes into your cover letter as they both complement each other.
Personal qualities, traits and skills define who you are. Employers highly value these personal attributes on your CV as they determine your ability to do your job well. Incorporating key personal attributes, like exceptional interpersonal skills or the ability to work under pressure, can really supercharge your CV, impress employers and get you more job interviews.