The format of a curriculum vitae can often be very clinical and formal, so when it comes to attempting to inject some personality into your application it can easily go wrong. You might have all the right skills, extensive work experience and qualifications, but an employer is usually looking for much more than that if you want to stand out.
Personal attributes are very important to an employer, and a CV will not always showcase such attributes due to its formal nature. The standard CV format will allow you to highlight your amazing talents, but it won’t always be easy for the employer to get an understanding of your personality traits before the interview stage.
Here is a list of the top 5 personal attributes an employer wants to see on your CV and how to include them.
There are not a lot of jobs out there where confidence wouldn’t be an important attribute to have, but how would you go about showing that you are a confident person on your CV?
When it comes to confidence you have to show this throughout the entirety of your CV, and not just in one particular area. Overall, a well presented CV that not only looks professional but is also perfectly written with the employer and the role in mind is a great place to start.
If your CV doesn’t look fresh and dynamic and chooses to conform to the standard boring old template from 10 years ago, you are instantly going to project a lack of confidence in your abilities (check out our free CV template collection for a great layout).
Your skills, qualifications and experience have to be presented in such a way that the hiring manager takes notice. A great example of a CV that exuberates confidence is one that shows your achievements from your previous roles. This could be done any number of ways – for example,
- providing actual facts and figures, from sales targets to revenue generated;
- detailing ideas that have had a large positive impact; or
- providing instances of customer service excellence.
A confident person can easily show this attribute throughout their CV by not being afraid to showcase their past performances. Winning awards, being recognised for promotions, moving up the ladder within a company, having a focused career path, and providing example of outstanding performance is a sure-fire way to present yourself as a confident person on your CV.
“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”
2. Proactive nature
An important personal attribute an employer wants to see in every team member is a proactive nature. There is nothing more frustrating for a manager than to have to problem solve for a team member constantly on the standard expected daily tasks and issues that come along with the job. Or to have to find them work on a quiet day when they could have easily asked another colleague or department themselves!
When an employee joins a company they are always given training immediately (well, we certainly hope this is the case!). This training will last a certain amount of time and may include shadowing from a supervisor, manager or colleague to ensure they are learning the job correctly and are able to carry out their duties. At some stage the training phase will be over and the employee will be expected to carry out these tasks by themselves with little to no support.
On a daily basis there will be problems that arise, and an employee will be expected to deal with those problems by themselves for the most part. Some employees are able to problem solve easily and move on to the next task without having to ask for assistance. Some employees on the other hand are unable to problem solve adequately and have to ask for constant assistance from other team members or their manager.
From a managers perspective this can be very frustrating, so you can clearly see that being a proactive person is a huge benefit to the employer, as it not only saves a lot of time but is often the sign of a good employee. Someone that doesn’t have to wait to be told what to do, and doesn’t have to constantly be managed is a great asset to any company.
There are lots of ways you can prove that you are a proactive person who is great at problem solving by again showing examples of this on your CV. Your work history should not just be one long boring list of job titles and tasks, and instead should also be a chance to add credibility to your application. Example of how you led a project or a team, and examples of how you overcame a big problem will clearly show this attribute.
A more indirect way of showing you’re a proactive person is by carrying out extensive research of the company and the role, and then tailoring your CV. This will not only help the hiring manager see that you are the right person for the job, but will also show that you are a proactive passionate individual who cares a lot about the role and about writing a great CV.
“A good attitude is really important. And a sense of optimism, someone who has ideas and isn’t afraid to pitch them no matter what level she is. Someone who is proactive. Someone with efficiency and common sense. They don’t always go hand-in-hand, common sense and, well, everything else.”
~ Eva Chen
There will always be issues that arise in every role, and working well under pressure and stressful situations will always be a great attribute to have. An employee that hides away from problems and doesn’t stay positive throughout the bad times can often be very detrimental to a role.
This type of personal attribute usually goes alongside someone who is proactive and a good problem solver. Including such examples of where this has happened will prove to an employee that you are able to work well under pressure and stay positive when things go wrong. In addition, make sure you identify problems and how you dealt with them.
“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”
4. Flexibility and ability to adapt to change
Given enough time a role will always have to change and adapt to planned or unforeseen circumstances. An employer is always looking for workers who are happy to go along with these changes, stay positive throughout, and even suggest ways to make things go smoother. It could be anything from a small change to a complete overhaul of your daily tasks.
Within any role comes the usual tasks, responsibilities and daily routines, but there will always be an instance when an employee needs to think outside the box, change and adapt, and remain flexible at all times. On your CV you could look to show examples of how you helped out other departments, took on new tasks and responsibilities, or even changed roles to adapt to the company’s needs.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
5. Positive attitude
All of the four previous personal attributes would not typically be achievable to a negative person. A positive person in the work place is far more likely to overcome problems, be helpful to other team members and departments, gain promotion, fit in with the company’s culture, get along with other colleagues, and overall be a valued member of the team.
Sure, if you are not very good at your job then of course it doesn’t matter how positive you are, but you will generally find that the positive employees are the ones that are the most successful and will offer a lot of benefits to an employer.
A great way to show on your CV that you are a positive person is to use the right words and phrases. Someone who is confident in their own abilities will often show this through their CV with the correct wording and sentence structure. Remember, your CV is your route to an interview and should not therefore be self-deprecating in any way – its role is to showcase your awesome abilities.
A positive attitude will always shine through a CV and will leave the hiring manager wanting to find out more.
“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.”
Our top 10 perfect CV templates for showcasing personal attributes:
Each of our top top picks has ample space for showing prospective employers that you have the personal attributes they are looking for.
- #154: ‘Smart’ free CV template
- #155: ‘Certified’ free CV template in MS Word
- #156: ‘Slick headers’ free template
- #157: ‘Centred Focus’ free MS Word template
- #158: ‘Highlights’ free CV template in Word
- #159: Three Column one page CV template
- #160: ‘Steps’ free professional template
- #161: ‘Labels’ free Microsoft Word template
- #152: ‘Acme’ CV template
- #153 ‘Guided’ free CV template
Martin has been a senior manager of a large customer service team within the education services industry, dealing with all aspects of staff recruitment and management. He now authors and manages content for CV Template Master and a number of other leading websites. In his spare time, Martin is an accomplished pianist and teaches all styles with a particular focus on boogie woogie and blues.