The 4 secret personal attributes an employer looks for on your CV

There are lots of important personal traits and attributes an employer wants to see on your CV and in the interview. Some of the most obvious ones are confidence, a positive attitude, the ability to stay calm under pressure, and so on.

But there are some attributes that are not so obvious, and we’re here to let you in on a little secret as to what an employer is also looking for when searching for a successful candidate, and how this can help shape your CV.

Here’s our list of the 4 secret personal attributes and employer wants to see in a successful candidate:


Being accountable within your role can take many forms, and can also mean many different things. Some of the basic things you are accountable for within your role come down to the tasks and responsibilities you’ve been assigned, and performing them to the best of your abilities and achieving success in alignment with what’s expected and has been documented and explained to you by the company.

Phew! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way we can delve further into what accountability can also mean for you and the employer…


There may come a time when you or a member of your team make a mistake, and that mistake has a detrimental effect on a customer, employee or the company. When this happens you should not hesitate to take responsibility and show that you acknowledge your accountability in this situation. A fact of life is that mistakes are made, and it’s how you deal with them and move forward which matters.

From the customers perspective they want to see how you handle this error, and how you resolve the situation. Passing the blame on to another colleague or department, or hoping the problem will go away is not the way forward for you or more importantly, your customer. An employer is looking for someone who is going to step up and be accountable for their actions and can move forward with a resolution.

The same goes for an internal error, and no matter how big or small you should always be honest and look for a resolution with the hope to not repeat that mistake again. There is nothing worse for a manager than to see a member of their team make a mistake and try and deny it, or brush it under the carpet.

Here’s a great video that explains accountability and how being accountable yourself is the starting point to being a great leader:



Having ambition can be shown in many different ways on your CV, as well as during the interview stage. An employer will typically respond well to someone who shows ambition, as there may come a time when they want you to step up and take on more responsibility.

But how do you show this ambition on your CV?

There are lots of ways that you can showcase your ambition on your CV, and a great place to start is your work history. An ambitious person will most likely show a positive career progression, giving examples of internal promotions as well as career moves to higher positions.

You could also provide reasons as to why you were promoted within the ‘work experience’ section of your CV. Examples of how you stepped outside your comfort zone and what did to achieve a promotion clearly show ambition. A management training course for instance would show exactly what your intentions are and that you are willing to put in the work required to achieve your goals.


“Ambition is enthusiasm with a purpose.” — Frank Tyger


Such an important personal trait to have and one which is often overlooked is reliability. Being a reliable worker doesn’t just mean turning up for work on time, and there are a lot of many other aspects associated with this that an employer looks for and expects from an employee.

A reliable worker is someone that goes the extra mile and is happy to put in the extra hours when needed to work towards a common goal.


If you are someone that has a proven track record of being punctual, has a great attendance record, and can be relied upon to help when required, then you are the kind of person an employer looks for.

A manager may be overseeing many team members, and they will know off the top of their head who is classed as ‘reliable’ and who isn’t. They’ll know who the ‘go too’ people are when the going gets tough, and who can be relied upon to go the extra mile when needed.

They’ll also know who the team members are that the manager will avoid when help is required – the ones they know won’t be too happy about stepping outside of their comfort zone. Although these employees do a satisfactory job, they will never be in line for promotion or be given extra responsibility. If a company has to downsize through hard times or restructuring, it’s obvious to see who will be more likely to be keeping their jobs!



Creativity may be a mandatory trait and something which is absolutely essential for a particular role. However, there are often roles that don’t emphasise the need for creativity but employers will actually benefit and take note of someone who is.

A creative employee has both its pros and cons for an employer, and it all comes down to the role that’s on offer. There are some roles for example that don’t really benefit from creativity and require a worker to stay focused on the task at hand and within the rules and regulations that have been set by the company. In this example it doesn’t mean to say that you have to be completely devoid of all creativity, it could however just mean that creativity is lower down on the list of requirements to perform the job well.

There is however lots of instances when being a creative employee can move you up the ladder, and if you feel that showcasing your creativity on your CV and during the interview is going to put you ahead of the competition, then don’t be afraid to go for it. Remember, creativity can mean different things depending on the role – for example, there are very few jobs where the ability to come up with creative solutions would not be a benefit.


Above source: Jovoto

A website that you built by yourself or a creative hobby will look great on your CV, as it shows you are a passionate person who loves to take on new challenges. A creative CV template that is a little different from the rest can also show off your creative abilities (check out our latest one-page CV templates). Don’t be afraid to personalise your CV and showcase not just your skills, but also your personality to the employer.

Find out more: What to include in a CV

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