Personal Strengths List: 30 Examples for Job Interviews
Are you having a tough time landing a job, and you’re starting to lose confidence? Or maybe you just hit the job market but you want to get hired quickly.
Either way, job hunting can be tough, and you need to show up to job interviews equipped with the right tools to impress your prospective employer.
One thing I have learned, both as an interviewer and an interviewee, is that job applicants really need to sell themselves. And, unless you actually work in sales, the idea of this can be intimidating. While you don’t want to sound conceited—and certainly not desperate—you want to be able to communicate to the people interviewing you how you can be an asset to their team.
So, how do you do this while still making a great first impression?
You need to know what your personal strengths are and how they align with the job description at hand.
It sounds harder to figure this out than it actually is. The first thing you need to do to identify your strengths is to think about things you have done in the past. What are some achievements you have made and where have you excelled?
Make sure the strengths that you come up with are not only relevant, but also adaptable to the job; and be sure to come prepared with a few examples of how you have applied that strength in the past and how it benefited your previous employer.
Learning how to promote yourself is simple once you do the self-reflection that is needed in order to uncover your personal strengths. In this post, I will give you 30 examples of what many employers are looking for when it comes to their potential employees’ personal strengths. Hopefully, you can see several of these strengths in yourself and highlight them in your interview to land the job offer that you’re looking for.
Personal Strengths List: 30 Examples for Job Interviews
1. Strong Communication Skills
This strength is perhaps the most basic skill that employers look for, but “strong communication skills” is a phrase that is used so often that it is often unclear what it really means. Having strong communication skills implies that you can effectively and efficiently convey information through a variety of mediums, including email, verbally, phone messages, and body language.
Strong communication also involves being able to understand instructions, make requests, and ask questions with ease. One reason employers look to hire people with strong communication skills is because they know that proper communication can not only bridge gaps, but can also mend negative situations.
2. Problem Solving Skills
Companies want to hire motivated employees who can take on challenges with little direction. Problem-solving is the process of identifying things that could be improved and developing a plan to implement a change. It also involves observing the impact of those changes once they’re made.
Being able to problem-solve is important for you as an employee because it enables you to exert control over your environment. Problem-solving also helps you implement changes and improvements that organizations need to compete and survive in our ever-changing environment. If you can have a solid brainstorming session and come up with some solutions to problems that the organization is facing, you will be a huge asset to the team.
3. Computer Literacy
Computer literacy is considered to be a very important skill because most companies depend on computers and technology to get their work accomplished. In fact, employers often use computers to help their company run more efficiently, which leads to lower costs. Having computer skills means you can perform tasks that other candidates may not be able to do.
For example, arguably one of the most commonly used (yet misunderstood) computer programs is Microsoft Excel. Being literate in creating Excel spreadsheets and knowing the formulas to input data into this program is a strength that can be useful in almost any career. Plus, while you might think that since Excel has been around for 30+ years, most people know how to use it, however, studies have shown that 60% of people between the ages of 16 and 34 can't do basic spreadsheet tasks such as sorting or searching for data.
4. Leadership Skills
Having good leadership skills means you are more likely to be proactive and have a good sense of initiative. This will suggest to a potential employer that you don’t wait for other people to tell you what needs to be done. Because you are a forward-thinker, you are better prepared to offer solutions to problems that arise, be productive, and help motivate others without having to be told to do so.
5. Fast Learner
It doesn’t matter if you aren’t coming to an interview fully equipped with all of the knowledge, skills, and abilities an employer is looking for, as long as you can pick up on new things quickly. It’s ok if you’ve never done some of the things listed in the job description if you are up front and honest about it and let them know you’re a fast learner. Having this strength will show employers that they won’t have to invest a lot of time or money into your training, which is a huge advantage.
“Multi-tasking” is sort of a buzzword in the business world, but it is a strength that is important, nonetheless. Organizations require people to do more assignments and take on more responsibilities than ever before in order to keep up with their competitors. While multi-tasking should have boundaries in the sense that you still need to be able to effectively perform all of the tasks you’re doing, it is still something that is a highly sought-out skill.
7. A Positive Mindset
Employees who come to work with a positive attitude and who are ready to greet their co-workers and clients with a smile are a great asset to an organization. You can sell this intangible strength in your interview by talking about a situation in a past job where your positivity helped the team succeed or how it was able to benefit the organization in some way.
Employers know that as the attitudes of their employees goes up, so does the team’s potential. Also, they will know that your positive attitude can help you cope with stressful circumstances at work. While this may seem more like a personality trait than a strength, it certainly takes a sense of personal strength to leave your personal problems at home when you get to work and remain positive throughout the day.
When you are self-disciplined, you have control over yourself and your actions. This is a valuable strength to a prospective employer because it means you follow through with your promises and decisions and therefore are able to achieve your goals and contribute toward the progress of the organization’s goals. Self-discipline also exhibits itself as inner strength, which helps you avoid procrastination or slacking on the job.
9. Emotional Intelligence
Your emotional intelligence (EI) is a major factor in your professional interactions, and studies have shown that EI is a strong predictor of one’s job performance. EI refers to your ability to effectively understand and manage your emotions and relationships. If one of your personal strengths is EI, it means that you can stay calm under pressure, effectively resolve conflicts, be empathetic to co-workers, and lead by example.
Alternatively, when employees have low EI, organizations tend to produce inferior outcomes because negative emotions spiral out of control. This may lead to unmet business goals, a decline in productivity, increased absenteeism, and a high turnover rate.
10. Organizational Skills
Organizational skills are some of the most transferable job skills an employee can have. When you’re organized, you are able to plan, prioritize, and keep track of your work. The ability to keep your work systematic allows you to focus on a variety of projects while staying productive and efficient at the same time, which helps keep the business running smoothly and successfully.
Employers want to hire people who can not only maintain an organized work area, but who are also able to quickly adjust to the organized structure of their company.
11. Independent Thinker
Some people agree with everything their boss says without questioning it. However, companies need employees who will challenge the norm if their ideas could improve the business. Being able to stand up for what you think is the best thing for the company is a strength that employers want, as it could mean that new ideas will be brought to the table.
12. Strong Work Ethic
Employers look for candidates who have a strong work ethic because they want people who are willing to take the initiative to go above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done. Successful employees are known for having a strong work ethic and for having the ability to carry out the everyday tasks that are required to consistently reach their goals.
Having a strong work ethic certainly involves having a sense of determination, but it is also about having respect, being honest, and working with a growth mindset. Employers get to decide what kind of work ethic they want to see in their employees and then adopt those behaviors themselves to set the precedent for the organization.
13. Passion for the Field
You have to be passionate about the work that you are interviewing for in order to be able to sell yourself to potential employers. If you are apathetic toward the work that the company does, the hiring managers will be in no rush to bring you on board, as they will assume you will just get by with doing the bare minimum in order to get a paycheck. Organizations want to hire people who share their love of the industry and who have an interest in the wellbeing of the company.
Your credibility is made up of your character and reputation. While your interviewers may not gain any insight into your reputation until they call your references, they can get an idea of your character during the interview when they ask about how you have handled situations in the past.
Make sure that everything you say meets the highest ethical standards (without stretching the truth). You don’t want to say anything that could be misconstrued as anything other than ideal professional conduct and behavior.
Aside from being able to speak intelligently about the tasks required to do the job that you are interviewing for, it is a good idea to show your interviewers that you are continually working to upgrade your level of competence in your area of work through personal research.
Professional development is a huge part of organizations, and if you can show a potential employer that you take the initiative to stay updated in your field during your personal time, it will show a level of ongoing commitment.
Studies have shown that 76% of an employee’s productivity and contribution is determined by their level of intelligence. Here, “intelligence” refers to your level of common sense and your ability to handle the everyday challenges that come with the job.
The way to demonstrate your intelligence in your interview is to ask intelligent questions. The more curious you are and the more interested you are in hearing the answers, the smarter you’ll appear.
Integrity starts with being true to yourself. You are able to admit your weaknesses along with your strengths and you’re willing to take the blame for mistakes you have made in the past. When you have integrity, you have an innate tendency to do what is right and reject what is wrong, despite the consequences that may come from your decisions. Studies have shown that dishonesty (such as plagiarism) can lead to workplace deviance and white-collar crime, so employers clearly want to hire people who have a sense of integrity.
Integrity can be seen in many forms, but in the workplace, the most important traits are dependability, honesty, and good judgement. This means that you act according to what you say, you’re reliable, your behaviors reflect your positive values, and you are eager to show that you care.
18. Team Player
Most organizations require some type of team collaboration, so having a strong suit in teamwork is a plus. Employers appreciate those who can support their team with a unified approach and have the ability to work effectively with others. Organizations want to hire employees who can work in unison, despite cultural, personality, or work style differences.
Companies want to know that their employees will act in a professional manner, especially if you are dealing directly with customers or clients. Despite its importance, professionalism is certainly not a skill that everyone brings to the table, which means you can set yourself apart from the competition by sticking to a professional code of conduct.
There are many things that go into acting professional, but being aware of how your work and behavior affects those around you and being accountable for your actions are two major components of it.
Being able to be flexible means you are willing and able to adapt to changing circumstances and expectations. Flexible employees are valuable to employers because they are typically not the people who say things like “that’s not my job” when asked to take on additional work. Flexible employees are able to adjust their approach to tasks based on each situation’s unique demands.
When employers hire people who are willing to take on extra responsibilities or who are able to adapt to changing conditions, employers can get more accomplished without having to find other people to take on additional work.
Being creative can help you in any profession. The ability to come up with unique ideas will impress your potential employer because companies rely on innovation to keep them ahead of the competition. If you have that creative edge that will help you increase your work’s productivity or land new clients, interviewers will be impressed and excited to bring something new and unique to their company.
Do some research ahead of time about the organization to see if you can think of any new ideas to bring with you to the interview. Chances are, even if they don’t want to use the idea, they will be impressed.
Employers want loyal employees. To show you are loyal in an interview, avoid making negative comments about any of your previous employers or anyone you have worked with in the past. Even if you have been laid off or fired from a job, avoid criticizing the company and focus on any positive aspects that came out of your experience.
Employers are looking to hire loyal people because not only do these employees work hard for their money, they are also committed to the company’s success. They’re often willing to put the company’s best interests ahead of their own, and constantly work to improve themselves in their role.
Recent studies have shown that employees are beginning to define “loyalty” differently than they once did. While being loyal to a company used to suggest an employee would work for the company for a long time, now employees tend to be loyal to their role, but not necessarily the company. Because feeling a sense of loyalty to an organization is rare these days, employers will jump at the chance to hire someone who they believe has staying power.
23. Time Management
Having time management skills allows you to properly prioritize your work, estimate how long each task will take, and complete your work in an orderly fashion so you can finish more tasks in a shorter period of time. This helps open up more free time, which then gives you opportunities to either do more projects, engage in learning opportunities, reduce your stress, or increase your focus. All of these things lead to a more successful career.
Hiring managers want employees who have good time management skills so they aren’t wasting the company’s time during work hours, which ends up costing the company unnecessary money.
24. Ability to Accept Criticism
Receiving constructive criticism at work is helpful because it shows that your managers and co-workers care about your work and want you to succeed. However, hearing negative feedback can be tough for some people and it may cause them to become defensive or feel offended.
Having the ability to accept criticism and view it as someone else genuinely trying to reach out to help you is a strength that shows your potential employer that you are open to learning new things and always want to have a chance to improve.
25. Research and Data Analysis
Being able to compile a lot of information or data and see the big picture is a critical strength to have in any job. It means that you can pick up on trends with the data that you do have and you’re willing to go out and find any information that you don’t have.
Also, once you gather new material from your research, you can put it all together to see the big picture. Analytical skills are important to employers because they show that you can find solutions to problems and make decisions based on past results on what actions to take next.
26. Attention to Detail
This is another strength that is often mentioned, but not necessarily completely thought through. You may wonder how one strength can be so important across so many different lines of work, but the answer is simple. Mistakes are bad at any organization.
Having attention to detail can help you identify and solve problems, especially smaller issues that aren’t immediately recognized. And, as employers know, small mistakes can lead to major consequences. Employers want to hire people who can get things right the first time.
27. Active Listening
Active listening is an increasingly valuable strength to have in the job market today as people are so easily distracted when they’re in the middle of a conversation. Active listening is the process by which you gather information from another person, but is different from just hearing what a person is saying.
It involves avoiding interrupting the other person, summarizing and repeating back what you heard to ensure you correctly understand what they’re saying, and mirroring their body language to make them feel even more understood.
Active listening is a helpful strength for employees to have because it helps you absorb and truly understand what others are saying, rather than only hearing what you want to hear or misinterpreting their words. During a job interview, using active listening skills can help you build rapport with those who are interviewing you.
This personal strength does not get the attention that it deserves. The greatest employees know themselves well enough to speak with sincerity, admit to their mistakes, and understand who they are and how they relate to their environment or surroundings. When you are self-aware, you know how to manage your strengths and weaknesses in the workplace.
Having self-awareness allows you to relate better to co-workers, creating a more congenial environment. You are able to objectively look at any problems that arise and your potential role in creating them. You are also mindful of the people around you and their workspace–meaning you aren’t making loud phone calls at your desk when others are trying to concentrate or you’re not disrupting co-workers with off-subject conversations when they’re trying to concentrate. Having self-awareness greatly contributes to a team’s efficiency.
29. Fast Decision Maker
Employers want to hire people who are ready to make a decision when it is time to do so—no matter how hard the decision may be. Being able to analyze a situation quickly and declare a decision using only the information you have is a skill that will show employers that you are confident in your sense of judgement.
People who are easily able to bounce back from a failure of some kind are going to impress an employer. If you can prove you are resilient, potential employers will see that you know how to handle rejection, view problems as challenges, and be optimistic. If you have a setback at your job, you will stand back up and continue to work hard for the company, which is a big time and money-saver for employers.
Final Thoughts on Personal Strengths
While it can feel awkward to brag about your strengths, qualities, and abilities, it is important to put a spotlight on these things during a job interview in order to “sell” yourself to a prospective employer. Don’t downplay the things you are capable of doing–and if you aren’t sure what your strengths are, ask a former co-worker or boss. They will be able to tell you what they valued in your work the most.
As you go through this list of personal strengths, think about some instances in your professional life where you displayed these qualities and it paid off. Bring these examples to your interview to share with the organization so they will see the value in hiring you.
Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.