The most popular personal qualities to list on a resume include trustworthiness, organization skills, motivation, and flexibility.
The personal qualities that you present on your resume should directly demonstrate your aptitude for the job at hand.
- If it’s a job requiring customer service, you should demonstrate that you’re a personable and approachable employee.
- If it’s a job requiring you to work alone, then you should demonstrate that you’re trustworthy and self-reliant.
Below are 50 examples of personal qualities for you to use as inspiration.
Personal Qualities for a Resume
1. Trustworthy – Trustworthiness is a good personal quality for someone working with expensive goods, sensitive information, or in a leadership position.
2. Organized – State your organizational skills if you are seeking a job as an executive assistant, travel agent, accountant, or a related role.
3. Approachable – Approachability is desirable in customer-facing roles like a retail assistant or leadership roles where you need to be approachable for your staff.
4. Patient – Patience is an ideal personal quality for teachers, nurses, or other people working with vulnerable populations.
5. Confident – Confidence is desirable in sales roles or roles involving business-to-business interactions.
6. Motivated – Being motivated is a desirable personal quality across all job roles, making it a versatile choice for a generic resume skills section.
7. Conscientious – Conscientiousness is about doing the right thing, even when others aren’t looking. This is good in positions where you will be working independently a lot of the time.
8. Enthusiastic – Enthusiasm is a good trait to have in your job, but it’s also a little over-used as a personal quality descriptor on a resume.
9. Flexible – If you’re applying for shift work positions, employers often want you to be flexible so you can fit around an ever-changing schedule.
10. Honest – Honesty is a desired trait in positions where you’re working with a large team or sensitive information.
11. Attention to Detail – Attention to detail is desirable in skilled service roles like cleaning, mechanics, and carpentry. Another role where it’s desirable is bookkeeping.
12. Team Player – Team players are required in organizations where you are a member of a group working on projects collaboratively.
13. Fast Learner – All employers want fast learners, so this can be a skill you can put forward if you want to demonstrate that you’ll be able to meet the challenges they send your way.
14. Independent – Demonstrate your independence for jobs where you will be expected to work on your own or take charge of projects.
15. Resilient – Jobs that are potentially difficult or hard physical labor will require resilient employees.
16. Reliable – Reliability is required for shift work or jobs where you’ll have to attend lots of meetings and work alongside team membres.
17. Considerate – Being considerate of others is a good personal quality to have when you’re going to be working in an environment where there are many people sharing the same space.
18. Mature – Older employees often like to differentiate themselves by discussing their maturity. I used to write ‘mature’ as a personal quality as a teenage, though, because I wanted to demonstrate that I could be trusted despite my age.
19. Responsible – Demonstrate your responsibility if you’ll be working with money, independently, or with valuables.
20. Reflective – A reflective employee is great in professional and lifelong learning roles such as teaching and nursing.
21. Tactful – To be tactful means that you are ‘tactical’. In other words, you think about the best way to say or do something before you act. You might need to be tactful if you’re working with difficult clients all day long!
22. Helpful – Describe yourself as helpful if you’re working in an assistant or clerical role. A super helpful person may also be highly valuable in a retail or customer service role.
23. Self-Disciplined – Self-disciplined employees are highly valued in military or paramilitary settings such as firefighting or the police.
24. Punctual – Punctuality is most highly valued in blue collar jobs where you’re often working in shifts.
25. Cooperative – Employers want a cooperative employee so they will work toward a team goal rather than for their own purposes.
26. Intelligent – Intelligence is clearly desirable in all situations, but may be particularly good to place on a resume if you’re heading into roles requiring independent thinking skills.
27. Ethical – Highlight that you’re an ethical person if you know your employer is going to have to trust you with valuable things. This is a personal value that is highly regarded in just about all situations.
28. Versatile – Highlight your versatility if you want to let the employer know that you will be able to tackle any task they throw at you. I really like versatile employees!
29. Productive – Productivity means you aren’t going to slack-off at work. Of course, any employer wants a productive employee.
30. Inclusive – In today’s day and age, inclusivity is more important than ever. Inclusivity means that you’re going to be welcoming in the workplace.
31. Observant – A job where you have to pay attention to detail may require you to be observant so you don’t miss anything important. Observant people are also usually very good learners, which is another desirable personal quality.
32. Sensible – This might be a good personal quality to highlight for your first job. Employers might worry that a young person isn’t sensible, so put their mind at ease.
33. Hard-working – This trait transcends all jobs. Any employer wants their workers to be hard-working so they get value for money when hiring people!
34. Personable – Being personable is an important trait in two ways. First, you need to be personable when working with other people in the office. Second, you need to be personable in a customer-facing role.
35. Experienced – If you’ve got experience in a career role, then of course, you really need to say that your experience is a central quality of yours!
36. Attentive – Attentiveness means you’re not going to drift-off halfway through a meeting! It’s an ideal trait for an executive assistant, for example.
37. Diligent – Diligence shows that you really care about what you’re doing. You’re not going to drift off or take shortcuts in your work.
38. Eager – Eagerness is great for a young employee with little experience. Make up for your lack of experience with your eagerness to learn.
39. Optimistic – Optimism might be a good trait to demonstrate if you’re someone who works in a customer-facing role or you need to represent the brand publicly.
40. Skilful – If you’re applying for a job that requires a specialized skill, then of course you’ll want to show that you’re skillful in the skill that you need to be able to demonstrate.
41. Enterprising – An enterprising employee is more desirable in a job where you’re expected to take the lead on your own projects, but less desirable in factory-line roles where your job is limited and you’re not expected to be creative.
42. Practical – Being practical is extremely desirable in blue-collar jobs like mechanics because these sorts of jobs require you to be able to get things done and solve physical real-life problems.
43. Thorough – A thorough person will be desirable in a role like bookkeeper, stocktaker, or accountant where you can’t miss the tiny details. You’d probably want a thorough painter or even software developer so there are no mistakes.
44. Careful – Highlight your carefulness when you need to demonstrate that you’re going to look after the things (or people) you’re looking after. For example, carefulness is a good personal quality for a nurse.
45. Persuasive – Persuasiveness is ideal for a person in a sales job.
46. Systematic – You need to be systematic in a job that follows specific procedures or needs to be thoroughly completed.
47. Persistent – A persistent person would be highly desirable in a sales job where you need to convince someone to purchase a product.
48. Resilient – Resilience means you can continue to work through difficulty and obstacles. Resilient employees are desirable because they won’t quit when times get tough.
49. Passionate – A passionate person is great if an employer needs someone to take over a specific role and run with it. For example, you’d really hope a CEO is passionate about their job.
50. Intuitive – Intuitiveness is ideal because it represents a person’s ability to adapt, infer, and make decisions based on subtle cues.
51. Creative – Creativity is highly desired in the arts and roles where you’re expected to create and innovate rather than simply following order.
52. Adaptable – Employers love adaptable people because they like people who will easily react to changes in the workplace.
53. Innovative – An innovative employee would be good in a role where you’re producing new product lines or coming up with new approaches to marketing.
54. Determined – A determined employee won’t quit or give up. If you give them a task, they will get it done no matter what.
Best Answers for “What are your personal qualities?
1. High School Student Applying for a Retail Job
“I am a hard-working, diligent, and responsible worker. I have demonstrated my ability to persist through difficulty at school, where I’ve consistently achieved B+ and above grades through hard-work and dedication. I also pride myself in my maturity. I am regularly called upon by my teachers to take on roles that require me to follow instructions and demonstrate my independence when the teacher isn’t there looking over my shoulder all the time. For example, I’m trusted to be the hall monitor on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays each week.”
Why it Works: High school students often don’t have experience, so they need to explain that they are trusted by their teachers. Highlight your maturity and independence as employers worry they will employ a high-school student who can’t hack it in the workplace.
2. Teacher Applying at a School
“I am dedicated to applying an action-based teaching philosophy where I employer my students to learn through experimentation and project-based learning. My greatest strength as a teacher is my ability to encourage my students. I see failure as a lesson and let my students know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m also excellent at diffusing tough situations with parents and aim to be a collaborative educator who works with, not against, parents, to achieve the best for the child.”
Why it Works: School principals want a teacher who can handle difficult situations, work well with parents, and set high standards for their students.
Go Deeper: Qualities of a Good Teacher
3. Nurse Applying at a Hospital
“I am a compassionate nurse who focuses on ensuring patients are comfortable, well cared for, and respected at all times. As an experienced nurse, I know the importance of being thorough, diligent, and careful in order to ensure the highest standards are met at all times.”
Why it Works: The main focus for hospital administrators is that nurses do not make mistakes, follow the highest standards, and ensure patients feel they are seen and well-cared-for.
4. Freelancer Applying for a Blog Post Writing Position
“I am an excellent writer with strong attention to detail, creative writing skills, and great work ethic. I can create high-quality articles on most topics because of my versatile writing skills. I know employers struggle to find writers who can follow their instructions. If you give me a chance to demonstrate my skills, I can show you that I can follow instructions, pay attention to details, and solve problems to ensure you receive high-quality output at all times.”
Why it Works: People employing writers want someone who is versatile and have excellent attention to detail.
5. College Student Applying for a Scholarship
“I am determined and excited about achieving my goal of graduating with a 3.5 GPA in my degree. To get there, I will use my personal qualities of resilience, diligence, and determination. I have a clear study schedule that I’ve followed every week for the past year, even during summer holidays. Furthermore, I go above and beyond to make sure I achieve my goals, including by making use of all the library resources and my tutors as much as possible.”
Why it Works: The biggest worry with college students is that they will give up and pull out. So, you need to highlight your resilience and determination.
Go Deeper: Qualities of a Good College Student
You always want to be honest when demonstrating your personal qualities, but it’s also important to think about the context. What qualities do you think the person across the table from you wants to see? Do you think you have those personal qualities, and if so, can you demonstrate them?
The best way to demonstrate your personal qualities is to use clear examples of times when you have utilized those qualities to achieve your goals and overcome problems.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]