While a candidate’s work experience and skills are easy to understand from a resume, hiring managers are also trying to read between the lines to find out more about your personality.
While most candidates won’t be so crude as to outline their personality traits with a string of adjectives (don’t do this), it is perfectly possible to shine a light on how you approach your work by way of the examples that you share.
Every job will demand a different mix of personality examples, so it is important to gauge how you should portray yourself. Different personality traits bring differing benefits for an employee, their team, and their employer. In this article, we consider:
- How to Include personality examples on your resume
- 12 positive personality examples and why they matter
- 12 negative personality examples to avoid
Make sure that whatever you wish to convey in your resume comes across in the eventual interview. Any disconnect here might bring about alarm bells for an interviewer. Being honest about the personality examples that you share will make this easier.
You can include a personality example without using the word. Anyone can say: “I am ambitious and resilient.” Avoid simply using the words on their own. Demonstrate the character traits with examples that show how you have put the trait into practice.
How to include personality examples on your resume
Sharing a list of adjectives that describe your personality will impress no one. If anything, even mentioning the individual words may seem a little disingenuous. Would you trust anyone who feels compelled to tell you that they are an honest person?
It is far more effective to decide which personality examples you wish to share and then build your resume career stories around them. You will likely be able to convey multiple traits in each incident, but make sure that you keep your messaging simple.
Some people might choose to include personality traits under the skills section as they might consider them soft skills, but in my view, employers would rather see examples of objective and easily measurable hard skills there.
How do I describe my personality? Describing your personality is difficult as you often have a biased impression of how others see you. Ask a few former colleagues how they might describe your positive and negative traits. That should offer a useful cross-section. Don’t ask your mum! Your resume should be written with your work persona in mind.
12 positive personality examples and why they matter
Most bosses will welcome any of the following personality examples if they sense them on a resume or during an interview. While an applicant won’t have space to outline why each personality trait is useful for their future employer directly on their resume, the following examples may help them to decide exactly which personality examples may be most important for the role in question:
We all encounter trials and tribulations at work, so an ability to plough on despite the difficulties is vital. Our working days revolve around maintaining momentum. If we allow something to stop us in our tracks, everything and everyone around us will grind to a halt.
Being friendly and open with others does not come at a personal cost. Employees who are sociable in the office are more approachable and often help those around them in many ways. Not everyone is a social butterfly, but it is something that we can all work on.
Creativity is a muscle that can be trained to uncover solutions that simply weren’t previously on the radar. It takes intellectual courage to take a blank sheet of paper and come up with something new, but for employers who encourage risk taking, there is much to be gained.
It is rare that there is only one way to do something. Employees with a flexible and adaptable approach consider what is best not only for themselves, but for those around them. They are prepared to pivot when circumstances change and avoid a fixed mindset.
Putting yourself in the shoes of others is one of the most important skills when you work with a team. We spend so much time in our heads that it is hard to put our opinions to one side, but appreciating different perspectives allows you to change your mind.
There is nothing wrong with a competitive and ambitious attitude towards your career, as long as that ambition is directed inwards and not to the extent that you push others out of your way. Someone who wants to improve themselves will help to improve their employer.
Humility is one of the most underrated of job search personality traits. Too many people walk into an interview room with a brash and over-confident attitude (that they are then unable to back up with facts). Be humble – let your achievements speak for themselves.
Work can get tough sometimes. Having someone around who raises the levels of positivity with an encouraging word can make all the difference. People who let others know that they believe in them provide the energy that every team needs to achieve its goals.
If you say that you will do something, you will do it, no matter what it takes. In a world where excuses and mitigating circumstances are all too easy to conjure up, straightforward dependability is a vanishingly rare trait. Be the person to just get it done, without a fuss.
Helping others lies at the heart of effective teamwork. When everyone has differing skill sets and experiences, something that is simple for one person might be a mountain to climb for someone else. Offering help when it has not been requested is a selfless personality trait.
Sometimes results don’t come quite as quickly as we might like and too many people tend to give up too early (sometimes just before a breakthrough). Patience is indeed a virtue. When someone says that it is okay to wait a bit more, the pressure is released a touch.
Fear of failure lurks around every workplace. The definition of failure might vary, but sometimes you need to be that person to say “do you know what, yes, I might fail, but I am going to try anyway.” Fearlessness is infectious and it can produce astounding results.
What are the main personality types? There are countless more personality traits to those listed in this article, but in terms of giving an overview of someone’s broader personality, psychometric assessment tools such as Myers-Briggs can offer a useful insight.
12 negative personality examples to avoid
When you write your resume, there may be certain aspects of your personality that you might wish to avoid. Everyone has things that they would like to work on in terms of how they approach life, so make sure that you are not inadvertently hinting at any less desirable personality examples.
This is a situation where a second opinion might be useful. If you know that you are somewhat controlling or pessimistic, ask a friend or ex-colleague to read the resume and check that these attributes do not come across in the text.
- Stubborn – sticking with an opinion or belief come what may is not always helpful.
- Dishonest – if someone lies just once they will find it hard to gain the trust of others.
- Controlling – people who need to be in charge of everything can stifle progress.
- Selfish – when people think that life revolves around them, they dominate a room.
- Lazy – if you can’t be bothered to give your best, no one will want to work with you.
- Pessimistic – in a world of uncertainty, only seeing the negatives is oppressive.
- Judgmental – judging others by narrow standards can lead to rigid thinking.
- Insecure – insecurity isn’t ideal when you need to convey confidence in decisions.
- Jealous – focusing on the success of others will ensure that you fail in what you need to do.
- Entitled – the world does not owe you a living. You don’t deserve more than others.
- Unethical – anyone who is happy to break ethical norms is not a reliable colleague.
- Rebellious – a habit of swimming against the current will result in choppy waters.
How do you know if you have a good personality? Everyone has a mix of personality traits, good and bad. It is not entirely correct to say that someone’s personality is “better” than another. It is a matter of personal preference. Be yourself during an interview, try your best to accentuate your positive features but don’t fear revealing a weakness or two. Your future boss is hoping to meet the authentic you, so be true to who you are.
- We all have positive and negative sides to our personalities, but most employers will expect to read a mostly positive spin on how we present ourselves.
- If too many negative traits sneak into the resume the employer might wonder what else is hiding in the shadows that has been left unsaid.
- It is entirely acceptable to portray yourself in all sorts of positive ways on your resume, as long as you are a little more balanced with how you portray yourself when you get to an interview.