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Published on April 16, 2020

18 Important Personal Attributes That Employers Look For

18 Important Personal Attributes That Employers Look For

Professional skills are important, but make no mistake; it’s personal attributes that dictate whether or not you succeed at work.

Personal attributes are what drive soft skills, which two-thirds of employers say are most in demand.[1] Listening skills are based on curiosity. Punctuality is at the root of whether or not someone consistently shows up for work on time.

Soft skills, not to mention the personal attributes behind them, are much tougher to train than hard skills. Someone can be taught how to code; they can’t necessarily be taught how to be kinder.

So which personal attributes matter most to employers? Eighteen stand out:

1. Honesty

Honesty is the foundation for a high-performing team. If you cannot be trusted to tell the truth, then you certainly can’t be trusted with things like sales and the customer experience.

Furthermore, dishonesty can be contagious: If others on the team see you fibbing, they’re more likely to do so, too.

How to Demonstrate Honesty

Be upfront in your application and interview. Was your college GPA not so stellar? Did you get fired from a previous position? Be honest because employers will find out.

2. Integrity

Related to honesty, this personal attribute is about sticking to your moral principles. Be a good example to others. Never fudge your performance figures, always tell customers the truth, and be a good steward of company money.

How to Demonstrate Integrity

Describe a time when you were tempted to bend the rules for a reward. What discouraged you from doing so? If you did bend the rules, was it for a morally valid reason?

3. Thriftiness

It’s important to make a distinction about this personal attribute: Thriftiness is not the same as cheapness. A cheap person buys candy because it’s on sale; a thrifty person doesn’t buy it at all because she knows she doesn’t need it or she finds a better deal. Employers want to hire people who will find cost-effective ways of doing things for the company.

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How to Demonstrate Thriftiness

Learn as much as you can about ways to save the company money. Understand the terms group purchasing[2], negotiation bargaining[3], and have ideas on how to find cost-effective vendors. You don’t have to come up with all the answers during the interview, but surprise them with your understanding of different options.

4. Responsibility

If you’ve been hired to do a job, and it’s on you to get it done. This is especially true during crises like the coronavirus: Responsibility is critical for a productive remote work culture.[4]

How to Demonstrate Responsibility

Prove that you can handle the small things. If you’re applying for a writing role, for instance, submit the test on time and in good shape. You need to show you’re reliable before you can be considered for a full-time role.

5. Tech-Savvy

Employers want someone who will understand the new world that businesses need to operate in and thrive. Understanding new ways to communicate and organize things can impress an employer.

How to Demonstrate Tech-Savviness

Make scheduling naturally easy for them via email. Use productivity apps to speed up your work efficiency. For example, you can use Mixmax to imbed your schedule into the email discussing the interview. It has a visual feel that you can even personalize. Something like this can make you stand out among other applicants.

6. Empathy

This personal attribute is about being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. No matter your professional role, you have to be able to relate to your team members as people.

How to Demonstrate Empathy

Get in the interviewer’s emotional groove. Express sympathy for a stressful experience s/he shares. Be genuinely happy about something good that happened to them recently.

7. Sociability

Some roles require more sociability than others. Salespeople must be social if they want to stick out in prospects’ minds. But to a degree, this personal attribute is important for everyone at work. Even writers and engineers must be pleasant to be around.

How to Demonstrate Sociability

Be tactful. Add to the conversation without dominating it. Engage people, particularly introverts who may not feel comfortable striking up a conversation themselves.

Here’s an article about networking that can help you socialise better: How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

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8. Flexibility

Things change quickly in business. Aside from outbreaks of disease, clients change their mind. Supply lines snap. In situations like those, flexibility is critical.

How to Demonstrate Flexibility

Stay calm in the face of uncertainty. Treat unexpected changes as opportunities rather than reasons for fear. Change up your own schedule periodically: If you typically exercise around lunch time, might working out in the morning make you more productive?

If you need help developing a flexible mindset, this article may be able to help: 4 Ways to Develop a Flexible Mindset

9. Perseverance

Especially during times of change, perseverance is the personal attribute that keeps you going. If you keep working when times are tough, you’re going to struggle in the modern workplace.

How to Demonstrate Perseverance

Tell the interviewer about a time when you were discouraged but pushed on. Afterward, follow up frequently. Show that you won’t give up on the opportunity simply because there are other applicants.

Learn more about How to Persevere (And Get Ahead!) When the Going Gets Tough.

10. Loyalty

Loyalty is a personal attribute related to perseverance that every employer looks for. Who wouldn’t want a worker who sticks with the company through thick and thin? Often, loyalty is rewarded with raises and promotions.

How to Demonstrate Loyalty

Emphasize long-term commitments you’ve made in the past. One reason most employers prefer college graduates is that it shows you can stick with a degree program for four years.

11. Curiosity

In the knowledge economy, employees have to be lifelong learners. People with curiosity are interested in a wide range of different topics, but they’re also willing to dive deeply into them.

How to Demonstrate Curiosity

Discuss your hobbies, especially if they differ from the work you do. Don’t think of them as irrelevant to the interview; realize that they make you a more interesting, memorable candidate.

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Learn How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

12. Positivity

Work can’t be sunshine and roses all the time. That’s why positivity is so important. If you get down in the dumps easily, you’ll provoke pessimism from others on the team.

How to Demonstrate Positivity

Don’t fake happiness, but do try to see the silver lining in things. If the interviewer asks about a time you failed, explain what you learned from the experience. And be sure to smile: A cheerful demeanor makes other people want to be around you.

If you’re not a naturally positive person, this article can help you get there: How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

13. Authenticity

Of all the personal attributes on this list, authenticity may be the most difficult to define. It’s about being genuine. What you express has to match how you really feel about a situation.

How to Demonstrate Authenticity

Counterintuitively, the best way to show authenticity is to not try to show it. Just be yourself: If you’re having a great day, let that show. And if you just had a relative pass away, realize that it’s okay to be upset about that.

14. Generosity

Professional life is tough enough without this attribute. Generosity makes the world around you warmer, which everyone appreciates. And if you believe in karma, you believe that generosity will come back to you in all sorts of ways you can’t see.

How to Demonstrate Generosity

Generosity isn’t just about giving gifts — though it never hurts to surprise someone with a treat. Be generous with things like compliments and feedback as well. Even your interviewer deserves to know when s/he’s done a good job.

15. Transparency

Transparency is similar to honesty, but there’s an important wrinkle that distinguishes this personal attribute. Operating with transparency means letting your team members see the good, bad, and the ugly. More than telling the truth, it’s about defaulting to openness.

How to Demonstrate Transparency

Volunteer information. Tell the interviewer how he or she can contact your prior employers. Bring a copy of your college transcript with you to the meeting. Encourage questions, even after you’ve left the building.

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16. Maturity

Misconceptions surround this personal attribute. Maturity isn’t about not making fart jokes; it’s about being sensitive to the reality of a situation. A mature person respects the interviewer’s decision to cancel at the last minute because her kid needs to see the doctor. When there aren’t enough cookies for everyone to have two, a mature person resists the urge to take a second.

How to Demonstrate Maturity

Be thoughtful of others. If your interviewee needs a break, offer to chat in five minutes. If you don’t get the job, don’t trash the company you applied to on Glassdoor.

17. Kindness

Being kind is about having compassion. We all make mistakes, and we all deserve to be given a chance to do better. Bad things happen to good people.

How to Demonstrate Kindness

Avoid passing judgment. If the interviewer is a little late, don’t get irritated about it. Chances are, s/he was simply stuck in traffic — something that has undoubtedly happened to you at some point as well.

18. Diligence

Diligent people do their homework. They not only have attention to detail, but they do the work to get the details right. This personal attribute can show up in everything from how you dress to how you schedule your days.

How to Demonstrate Diligence

Stick to instructions strictly. If the interviewer asks you to bring an example of a small business video ad you created, don’t show one for a big company. Don’t show a radio or digital ad. And bring a backup, just in case the interviewer wants to see a second.

Final Thoughts

Personal attributes can’t make up for shortfalls in professional skills, but you might be surprised how much they matter. Be your best self, and let employers judge you for who you are. More often than not, good people are the ones who get good jobs.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Community College Daily: Employers stress need for soft skills
[2] Una: What is a GPO?
[3] Negotiation Experts: Negotiation Bargaining
[4] Staffing.com: Culture Shock: Corporations and the Need for Remote Work Culture

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Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on November 24, 2020

50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

Job Search Experts

You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

Management Experts

They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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Productivity Experts

By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

Marketing Experts

14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

Personal Branding Experts

Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

Other Notable Experts to Follow

29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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