By: Sobhan Mohmand, Editorial manager Last updated: 7 Nov 2018
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 measures (e.g. ability to code or service cars).
Examples of personal skills include the ability to communicate with others, solving problems or thinking creatively.
Unless you’re a soulless robot*, employers are very much interested in your human side including your personality, values, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. They want employees that are dependable and can work with others.
Having the technical skills and know-how to do a technical job is essential, but soft-skills are critical too.
Personal qualities or attributes are highly important for teamwork, group dynamics, building relationships and in day-to-day interactions with colleagues, managers or clients.
* Apologies to any AI robots who felt offended by this depiction.
The best way to demonstrate your personal skills and qualities to the employer is during the job interview. Unfortunately, to get a job interview you have to be shortlisted based on your CV, cover letter and job application.
One way to solve this problem is to make mention of your personal attributes and traits on your CV. This will give the employer the assurance that you do possess soft-skills which will aid you in your job.
Below you will find a list of skills and personal qualities that you can use on your CV. These attributes have been specifically selected due to the value that employers attach to them.
Your interpersonal skills are your abilities to communicate and interact with others. Examples of interpersonal skills include communication (verbal, written and listening), interpretation 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.
Key activities in teamwork include sharing information, helping to resolve a problem, working towards common goals, properly dividing tasks between team members, etc.
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 prefer the candidates that possess or have demonstrated excellent teamwork skills.
Leadership is an important quality to have, even when you’re not in a management or leadership position.
This is because leadership consists of many other components that are desirable in any employee, including taking responsibility for one’s own work and mistakes, having a long-term vision and not be short-sighted, being productive at all times and leading others to a successful outcome.
Possessing these characteristics means you do not need someone to spoon-feed you or hold your hand on a daily basis in order for you to do your job.
An effective way of demonstrating leadership skills on your CV is to mention any leadership positions you have held in the past;
Attention to detail is highly valued by employers because applicants with attention to detail tend to strive for perfection in everything they do. They will go the extra mile and not settle for “good enough.”
When writing, they will not make silly spelling or grammar mistakes or write badly-formulated sentences and move on. 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. These type of candidates lack enthusiasm and personal drive. Employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic about what they do; completing tasks with excellence and always looking forward to the next one.
How can you demonstrate this on your CV? You could use CV keywords such as “passionate”, “driven” and “motivated” when speaking about your previous jobs, accomplishments or career aspirations.
Your initiative is your ability to initiate or start things independently.
It means that you do not sit and wait for things to happen or common to you, you make things happen and you make things come to you. You are always taking the first step when required, and are never idle in the face of obstacles or challenges.
How to indicate that you have the 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.
It is no wonder that most applicants mention that they have “excellent management skills” on their CVs!
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 best way to indicate your willingness to learn is by stating on your CV that you are taking on this position in order to grow professionally, personally or technically (whichever are applicable).
Stress levels and pressure vary from one job to another, for example when comparing the job of a surgeon to that of a cleaner.
Applicants in most jobs, however, will one time or another experience extreme stress or pressure in order to get something completed or a problem/issue resolved on time.
Employers are interested to know whether these candidates will crack under pressure or stay calm and carry out the tasks efficiently.
One way to reassure prospective employers of your ability to handle pressure is to make mention of it in your CV by giving real-world examples of instances in which you demonstrated having this ability.
Examples could include:
Flexibility is important because whole industries, let alone individual jobs, are constantly changing. This may be driven by competition, changing customer expectations or technology. The companies that adapt to the new realities survive, whereas those that can’t or won’t adapt will go out of business. It is for this reason that flexibility is a highly desired personal quality in any job candidate
Can you handle new situations?
Can you adapt to whatever circumstances you are presented with?
Can you complete a task in more than just one way?
If you can, you are officially a flexible individual!
Depending on what which traits you are mentioning, there are three places on your CV in which you can mention your personal attributes:
Personal qualities, traits, attributes and skills make you the person you are. Employers are very much interested in their employees’ personal qualities because they enable them to successfully function in their jobs.
Writing important personal attributes, such as having excellent interpersonal skills or the ability to work under pressure, can really supercharge your CV.
Remember: You are only as good as your CV – make sure it is perfect!