5 personal attributes an employer wants to see on your CV and in the interview

Having the right hard skills, lots of qualifications and a huge amount of work experience will certainly look impressive on your CV. But there are other hidden factors which an employer will not ask for on the job advert.

Your personal attributes are extremely important to an employer, and if you can demonstrate these on your CV and during the interview, you are even more guaranteed of success.

Here are the five personal attributes an employer wants to see on your CV and during the interview.

Self belief – confidence

An employer would always want to hire someone who is confident in their own abilities. Having lots of skills and qualifications on your CV may demonstrate a certain amount of confidence, but where you can really shine is during the interview.

Everybody gets nervous or anxious when they have an interview, but it’s how you deal with those nerves and project your confidence, knowledge and abilities that really matters.

A confident worker will typically perform better as they are not constantly second guessing themselves. Self belief is an important part of being an effective team member, and will create trust between you, the company, your manager, your co-workers, and the customer.

Tip – write a CV that shows commercial awareness and tailor it to the role. Don’t have any negativity or doubt within your CV. If there are any skills that you don’t have or you’re lacking in experience, don’t let that create an unsure CV. Highlight your outstanding achievements and demonstrate how confident you are in your abilities.

During the interview always take your time to answer questions, and don’t steam in with the first thing that pops into your head. There is no rush, and although you don’t want to hesitate for too long, your answers will be far better constructed if you breathe and take your time.

Keep eye contact with the interviewer, give a firm handshake at the start, and don’t cross your arms. Preparing for the interview is also extremely important if you want to have confidence in the interview. Try to anticipate some of the questions before you go in, and have some answers prepared in your mind.

Here’s a great little video on confidence in job interviews:

Hard as nails – resilient

Resilient employees:

  • remain engaged and focussed, even when things are difficult
  • spot trends and turn them into opportunities
  • don’t get bogged down by the past, but look towards the future
  • are curious – they keep learning
  • are able to evolve with the times.

University of Surrey

Nobody likes to work with someone who buckles under pressure, and when the going gets tough you need to show an employer that you’re made of sterner stuff. With constant deadlines just around the corner, an employer needs to be able to have trust and faith in it’s workforce to deliver the goods on time – with no complaints.

A business would struggle to survive if even half of its employees had little to no resilience. It takes hard work and dedication to have a successful career, and if every time something went wrong you were to fold under pressure, you’d have a hard time forging out a career for yourself.

Tip – to show you’re as tough as old boots, your CV can show examples of your consistency to meet deadlines. You could also provide an instance whereby something went wrong but you dealt with the issue. Any situation you can think of that needed your dedication and resilience to push past the problem and soldier on can go on your CV as a great example.

Proactive – take control

Someone who is able to take control of a situation, rather than watch idly by and let it unfold, would be an asset to any company. Leading by example and not having to be micro managed is a fantastic personal attribute to bring to an interview, and it can also be something you include and showcase in your CV (and cover letter).

There are many situations that would require a proactive employee to take charge and solve a problem. It could be a customer complaint or an internal issue – both are equally as important. It doesn’t matter if you’re not in a supervisory or management position, because as a proactive employee you could still save the day and step up and take more responsibility.

An employer would always favour a proactive employee, as they can be relied upon to get the job done and are often the ‘go too’ person when help is needed.

Tip – there are lots of ways you can demonstrate on your CV that you’re a proactive person. Provide examples within your employment history section of when you solved a problem, or went that extra mile for the company or the customer. Did you volunteer to take lead on a successful project? That would also be a great example to provide as evidence to show your proactivity.

During the interview you should ask questions about the role and show your passion and interest in both the role and the company. Take the time to research the company and find out as much as you can about the position and what it will entail. Discuss the company’s future and how you can fit into their plans and help them progress.

An interviewer will love to hear you say positive things about the company and show off your knowledge of what they are all about. It shows you are passionate, dedicated, committed, and above all else a proactive individual.

Positive attitude – always smiling in the face of adversity

We’ve all worked with a really positive person and probably wondered how they do it. They remain steady and in control at all times, whilst keeping a smile on their face during difficult situations. If something goes drastically wrong they are happy to dig in, take charge and move quickly to a resolution.

Are you this type of person?

Remaining positive through difficult times will be of huge benefit to any business. It shows that the employee is able to work well under pressure, be extremely resilient and in control of their duties and the situation around them.

The way you talk, act and conduct yourself in the workplace will have either a negative or positive effect on the people around you – including the customers. A negative attitude would drastically affect the atmosphere around you, and can easily be passed on to your co-workers. Whereas a positive attitude would help everyone around you, even if there has been no issues at all.

Your attitude would also greatly affect the success of your own career. Internal promotions are only given to positive people – it’s as simple as that. So if you want to get ahead in your career, consider how you can affect the people around you, and how your own attitude will correlate to your productiveness.

Tip – never self-deprecate on your CV. If you don’t quite have all the skills, qualifications and experience the employer has requested on the job advert – don’t panic. Your CV is all about showcasing what you can do, rather than what you can’t.

Be smart in the way you approach your CV and cover letter, and always use positive words and phrases. Your cover letter would be the perfect example of showing your positive attitude if worded correctly, as you can address the hiring manager directly and make it more personable.

The interview is by far the best place to show off your infectious positive attitude. From the clothes you wear; the way you talk and the smile you give the interviewer – can all show what a great attitude you have.

Useful resource – How to show you have a positive attitude on your CV

Flexibility – move with the times

If you stick around long enough you will always see a company change and evolve. Sometimes these changes could have a small effect on your job description, but often it can have a large effect. An employer would want it’s workforce to understand and acknowledge that these changes are necessary for the company to continue to move forward and be successful.

Helping out in different departments may just be one of the many different situations you will find yourself in on a daily basis. Being a team player and putting yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time shows both resilience and an ability to be flexible – a fantastic personal attribute to bring to the table.

Working overtime may be another instance of when the company needs your help to drive things forward. You need to be the employee that the company can rely on to volunteer for those extra hours to not only earn yourself some extra money, but to also recognise when the business needs that extra push and dedication.

Tip – your CV can easily demonstrate this type of personal attribute by using examples from your work history. It may be an example of taking on extra responsibility, helping out other departments, your commitment to overtime, your promotions, and so on.

Whilst in the interview you can also project this flexibility by answering questions with a positive attitude. The interviewer may be testing your adaptability by asking you what you would do in a certain difficult situation. Provide answers that clearly show you are dedicated to helping out no matter what, and resolving any situation that may arise.

Further reading

5 qualities an employer looks for in a successful candidate

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