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Character Traits: Definition and Examples

Character Traits: Definition and Examples

Your character traits are based on your personality, morals, ethics and beliefs. Knowing your best character traits can help you to develop them further and use them to your advantage in your career, from writing a compelling resume or cover letter to requesting a promotion. In this article, we define 13 character traits that can boost your career.

What are character traits?

Character traits are aspects of your behavior that may be valued by the community or society. They are often used in the context of specific situations, such as encountering an opportunity or a challenge. For example, think of your favorite hero in a book or movie you enjoy. How does this person act under pressure? How do they behave when others are in trouble? The words you would use to describe these behaviors, such as brave, caring and honest, are character traits.

Why are character traits important in the workplace?

When you know your best character traits, you can work to strengthen them. This can help you in a multitude of ways from advancing your career and achieving goals to developing relationships and growing your professional network.

Character traits can also help you make decisions that align with your values. For example, you might identify with being courageous, and as a result, you could be more inclined to stand up for what you believe in or make a tough call at work.

Leveraging character traits in your job search

Review the traits below and carefully consider which of them you possess or identify with. Once you know your best attributes, be sure to address them in your resume, cover letter and interviews.

Character traits in your resume

You can weave your character traits into your resume summary by including language such as, “4+ years of experience building creative solutions for an enterprise sales team.” Also include them in your work experience descriptions. For example, you could include a bullet point that reads, “Maintained flexibility during company-wide restructure due to COVID-19 and implemented successful work from home processes under a tight deadline.

Character traits in your cover letter

When writing a cover letter, you should display character traits that are relevant to the job. For instance, if you’re applying to a role in customer service, you might highlight a time you exercised patience and compassion.

Character traits in your interview

You should also work your best character traits into your responses to behavioral and situational interview questions such as “what are your greatest strengths,” or “tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge.” Remember, it’s important to be specific when answering interview questions, so strive to share stories and experiences of times when you exhibited these traits in a professional setting.

Highlighting character traits for career advancement

Additionally, when your employer can recognize your character traits, it gives them a better sense of your strengths. Your character traits can provide insight to how you might perform new job duties, communicate with peers, manage stress and handle high-pressure situations.

For example, if your employer is seeking to promote someone to a management position and you are interested in the opportunity, you might bring to their attention that you are perceptive, empathetic, motivational and strategic. These specific traits are characteristic of someone who can identify the needs of their team, understand their pain points, drive them to reach goals and determine the best next steps to achieve company objectives.

Character traits list: 14 examples of career-boosting traits

Below are some positive character traits that could be helpful in your career. Try to think of times you used these traits in your work. Recognizing your character strengths and weaknesses can assist you when setting goals for your career, searching for a new job, receiving a performance review or when asking for a raise or promotion. Communicating these to a current or potential manager can help provide evidence for your case.

1. Ambitious

An ambitious person is someone who has a strong desire to achieve success by meeting their goals. You might have demonstrated ambition when you applied hard work and dedication to overcome a challenge or exceed company objectives.

2. Creative

Someone who is creative can use their imagination to make or invent something. Creativity doesn’t only apply to artistic roles. It requires creativity to solve a difficult problem, present information in a clear, interesting way or find better ways to complete tasks.

3. Compassionate

A compassionate person is someone who can both feel and express sympathy for others. You might display compassion when you help a colleague overcome a difficult challenge. Compassion is a helpful trait in any position but could be especially helpful in customer service roles.

4. Conscientious

Someone who is conscientious is careful and takes purposeful action. They are concerned with doing what is right and to fulfill a duty. Generally, conscientious people also have a higher level of self-discipline and strive to complete every task to the best of their ability.

5. Courageous

A courageous employee is someone who is not deterred by challenges and difficulties. They’re likely to take on projects others fear may be too hard or require too much work. They might also take more calculated risks in the workplace, which can lead to gains for a company.

6. Flexible

Flexible people can quickly adapt to changes in plans, such as shortened project timelines or new client needs. The ability to modify your behaviors based on changes in the work environment is critical to succeeding in fast-paced roles and companies.

7. Honest

An honest person is always sincere and truthful and generally does not feel comfortable participating in deceptive practices. While honesty is essential in all positions, it’s especially important in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare and finance.

8. Humble

Humble people are able to exercise humility. They avoid boasting about their accomplishments and are respectful when earning praise or recognition. You may display this trait if you’re a leader who ensures your entire team is given credit for achieving a goal.

9. Honorable (Integrity)

Someone who is honorable has integrity and acts according to their principals and ethics. An honorable employee is someone who will ensure they always behave in ways that reflect positively on the company where they work.

10. Loyal

A loyal employee is supportive of an organization and its mission. Someone who is loyal can be trusted with sensitive information and is more likely to stay at a company long-term.

11. Patient

Patient people are able to tolerate setbacks, delays or unexpected challenges without becoming anxious or angry. Having patience is essential for jobs where it can take a long time to see the results of your efforts, such as when leading a marketing team or campaign.

12. Persistent

Employees who are persistent work in relentless pursuit of goals. They continue along their path despite any obstacles or difficulties they face along the way. Persistence is an excellent trait for someone in sales, journalism, public service or law.

13. Resilient

A resilient person is someone who can quickly recover from setbacks, stress, adverse situations or unexpected changes. For example, you might be a resilient employee if when you fail to meet a goal, but you quickly put together a plan to exceed your next objective.

14. Disciplined

Someone with self-discipline can overcome temptations to stray from the path to success, such as procrastination and self-doubt. Self-disciplined employees work hard and often need little to no supervision.

This is just a sampling of positive character traits that can help position you for the job you want or succeed in the role you have. If you’re not sure which characteristics apply to you, consider asking trusted peers what they perceive as your most valuable traits and look for ways to apply them in the job every day.

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