Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Kimberly Zhang

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

36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs) Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts How to Protect Your Mental Health in Tough Times How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace 18 Brainstorming Techniques for More Creative Ideas

Trending in Smartcut

1 How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes 2 How to Make Time Go Faster When You’re Having a Bad Time 3 What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity) 4 8 Essential Project Management Skills for Productive Work 5 What Should Be Your End Goal In Life Above All Else?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on August 4, 2020

How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

SMART goal setting is one of the most valuable methods used by high achievers today to actualize their life goals time after time. SMART goal setting is the inverse of random or carefree goal setting without strategy.

Perhaps, you’ve always wished to get back in shape, get an annuity, or take control of your finances, but you failed to act. When you approach your goals with a care-free and nonchalant attitude, you’re less likely to achieve them.

You should have a strategic goal setting method in place, and learning how to set smart goals is imperative in this case. The method is time-tested and purposeful, meaning it can help you achieve your goals now.

To achieve your goals consistently and join the pack of high achievers out there who have consistently achieved many of their goals, you must be prepared to do what these people have been doing, and be ready to do the right thing: SMART goal setting.

What Is the SMART Model for Setting Goals?

SMART goal setting is a goal-setting method that considers certain factors about a goal relative to the person setting it. These factors are simply the five different letters in the SMART acronym for goal setting.

It is relative to the person setting the goal because what is true for A may not be true for B; or what is possible for A or within A’s ability to achieve may not be possible for B or within B’s ability to achieve.

What does the goal setting acronym SMART stand for?

  • S—Specific
  • M—Measurable
  • A—Achievable
  • R—Realistic/Relevant
  • T—Time-bound

Is it possible that this acronym can make a long lasting impact in your life?

Is it possible that a mere goal setting metric like SMART can help you achieve so many of your unfulfilled goals?

Is it possible that if you practice SMART goal setting, you will be able to have faster results, understand your goals better, overcome the habit of procrastination, and achieve a lot?

The power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

Advertising

It is important to extend the inquiry by asking: How many times have you said you’ll do “X,” but failed to do so?

We all have goals, and we all have 24 hours each day at our disposal. While some people find it easy to achieve their goals without procrastinating, some find it difficult to do so.

For some people who have succeeded again and again in achieving their goals, they have simply found an easy way of doing this. Is there something they know that you don’t?

How Smart Goal Setting Makes a Lasting Impact

Smart goal setting examples can be found all around you. Through SMART goal setting, Stephen Cooley was able to grow his real estate business to the point of closing at $110 million in sales when the average price point of homes was between $100,000 – $200,000 in South Carolina[1].

Through SMART goal setting, Steve Jobs was able to improve the fortunes of Apple and prevent the company from going bankrupt, even when it had barely 90 days left before being declared so.

SMART goal setting can make a lasting impact in your life in several ways.

Make Your Goal Clearer

When you use the SMART criteria to set goals, it is easier for you to understand the various phases of your goal.

By using SMART goal setting, you’re able to ask yourself relevant questions pertaining to your goal.

Motivate You Into Acting on Your Goals

When you use SMART goal setting and break down the goal into smaller goals or milestones, the bigger goal no longer looks intimidating or impossible.

Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, wrote in his book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be about how they applied the rule of five in marketing their book, Chicken Soup, and were able to make the book a best seller after some months[2]. The rule of five simply means doing five specific things every day that will move you closer to achieving your goal.

In order not to be overwhelmed, you would have to measure your performance using the right metrics. Here we are considering the Measurable and Achievable aspects of the SMART acronym. It is critical that you measure yourself in terms of lead measures.

Advertising

What are lead measures? They are the things you do that leads you closer to your goals. On the other hand, you would have to avoid “lag measures.”

While lag measures mean a successful outcome that you wished for and got, they can be emotionally draining and deceitful because, whenever they don’t happen, you can become discouraged.

Therefore, it is better to stick to lead measures.

Help You Save Time

You can achieve more when you use SMART model goal setting.

To be strategic, your goal would have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. If you can’t identify any of these points in your goal, you probably will be wasting your time on a wild goose chase.

When your goals are written down, it’s easier for you to go into action mode.

Improve Your Self-Discipline

Self-improvement is an important thing for everyone to do periodically. When you set SMART goals, it makes you realize that you have to sit up and work on achieving them.

How to Set SMART Goals

See the source image

    To make your SMART goals work, use the following tips:

    Specific

    Every goal ought to be specific. It is important to guard against making vague goals because even when they have been achieved, you may not know. This is because you weren’t specific enough.

    For example, “I will start planning toward retirement” is vague. Rather than write that, you could say, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan.” This is more specific.

    Advertising

    When you are specific on your goal, it’s easier for you to identify all its components and work accordingly toward achieving it.

    Measurable

    Your goals must be measurable. When they are measurable, it’s easier for you to follow through.

    A goal like this is not measurable: “I want to make millions of dollars.” You can make it more measurable by saying, “I want to make one million dollars selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each.”

    Also, using our SMART goal setting examples while explaining the Specific acronym, you can make the goal more measurable by saying, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month.”

    Achievable

    How realistic or actionable is your goal? Is it practical enough to fit into a given time frame? Is it something you are able to achieve in your capacity?

    You would only be setting yourself up for failure if you sets goals that are not reasonable.

    A goal like this is highly unrealistic and, therefore, not achievable: “I want to be the Governor of Texas in six months,” especially since the elections will be coming up in three years.

    Goals must be written down relative to the experiences of the one setting them. They must resonate with you. It is important that you have at least some of the resources needed to actualize this goal.

    It is also important that you consider your time frame. When the time frame to achieve a complex goal is too short, it is rare that such goal will be completed.

    Thus, using our previous example, if you write “I want to make one million dollars in ten days selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each,” you would only be setting up yourself for failure.

    This is especially true if you’re not a popular author or if you’ve never sold even up to one thousand copies of any of your previous books, whether e-copy or in print.

    Advertising

    Realistic/Relevant

    Before you proceed to making the commitment toward that goal, you need think about how realistic and relevant it is.

    Being realistic means you should be willing to make all the commitments required for that goal to be achieved. If your goal is relevant, it fits into the life you’ve imagined for yourself.

    Time-Bound

    Every goal must have a commencement date and an end date written down. It is also important that you break down your goals into phases, chunks, bits, or milestones.

    The act of having deadlines set to your goals is ample motivation that drives you into action. Without a deadline, it is not possible for you to know if you’re making headway with your goals.

    “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month for the next twenty five years” is a time-bound goal.

    Remember that some goals are short-term while some are long-term. It is important to always bear this in mind, because this will help you in making a clear and realistic strategy when SMART goal planning.

    Without SMART goal setting in view, much of our goals may likely end in our minds, on paper, or just midway into implementation. SMART goal setting reveals to us all the action points of our goals and helps us to have an awareness of every aspect of our goals.

    The Bottom Line

    What matters at the end of the day is what you do with the contents of this article because the power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

    It is not enough to have a goal. It is not enough to put it down in writing. It is important to have a strategy in mind while putting it down. This strategy is a guideline or set of rules that point you in the right direction. It is SMART goal setting in the given circumstance.

    After writing down your goals, you will have to be ready to take action. There should be a clear action point. Write down what you need to do on daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

    When your goals are realistic, they make them worth the chase. One of the things to bear in mind is that, in order not to be overwhelmed by the daunting nature of your goals, remember to always break them into milestones, chunks, or bits. In fact, take one day at a time.

    Do not bother yourself with the one-year, three-year, five-year or ten-year plan as this may likely overwhelm you with fear and doubt. Let your focus be on each day. What will I be doing today? Consider this and go for it.

    More on the SMART Model for Setting Goals

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next