What are personal attributes?

Updated April 13, 2018

Employers, recruiters and admissions staff in educational institutions need to know more about you than your qualifications and work experience -- they also need to know what personal attributes you have to offer. Personal attributes are favourable aspects of your personality and behaviour. On CVs and application forms, they're positive personal characteristics that relate directly to working or education. Personal attributes are also sometimes discussed at interview.


Employers, admissions staff and recruiters are interested in personal attributes that relate to how well you work as an individual and with others. Time-keeping, reliability, honesty, flexibility and a positive attitude are some attributes common to people who are successful in work and education. For people who represent their employer, good personal presentation and a calm, friendly manner are important. Some jobs might require specific personal attributes such as attention to detail or being a good listener. If it's difficult to decide what your personal attributes are, try asking a former teacher or employer.


When writing your CV or at interview, your personal attributes sound more convincing if you can provide concrete examples. Your team working skills stand out if you include information about a group project you successfully completed, and your ability to show initiative is convincing when supported by an anecdote about how your idea resulted in an improvement in a former job. Examples don't have to come from the world of work. Sports, hobbies and even daily living can show evidence of many personal attributes such as commitment, budgeting, leadership, organisational skills, research and planning ahead.

Targeted personal attributes

One mistake often made when submitting applications is failing to adjust personal statements according to the situation. Employers and admissions staff look for the candidates who are best-suited to positions. Unimportant information may cause them to reject your application. When recruiting a new administrative assistant, for example, employers may be more interested in your methodical, reliable approach than your researching skills. If you're unsure what personal attributes a position requires, check the information again, contact the recruiter, or try speaking to someone currently in the role.

CVs and applications

Personal statements on CVs or application forms give information about what you have to offer in addition to your qualifications and experience. A well-planned, well-written personal statement is more likely to impress. Write a list of your attributes and supporting examples, grouping similar attributes together, such as your your abilities in working with others, and your individual skills, then write your statement. Another person, such as a career adviser or friend in a professional role, can help check for errors, flow and organisation, and maybe suggest some more attributes to include.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

A graduate of Leeds University, Jenny Green completed Master of Arts in English literature in 1998 and has been writing about travel, gardening, science and pets since 2007. Green's work appears in Diva, Whole Life Times, Listverse, Earthtimes, Lamplight, Stupefying Stories and other websites and magazines.