Top 10 Traits Desired by Employers

By J. Mason
Online Career Tips Staff

Have you ever asked your boss what they like best about you? I don’t mean just at your annual review, but after interviewing a potential team member, or completing a big project. Finding what they value in an employee is valuable to your growth, and may help you showcase your best “assets” the next time you’re looking for a new job.

Taking tedious notes, asking insightful questions, or just being on time can boost your chances at getting a raise or recognition. I’ve spoken with some of the “upper management” at my company about the traits they find valuable in an employee. Here’s what I compiled from my experience and theirs:

  1. Adaptability: Being a chameleon and having the conscience of mind to go with the flow on projects, tasks, and to deal with stress in a way that doesn’t have you flipping tables or cursing like a sailor can give you an automatic lead into the company; especially if the position you’re going for doesn’t exactly fit your previous experience.  
  2. Motivation: For teams thriving on growth this trait is especially attractive to employers looking to stem out from their current status and bring forward a new era of expansive possibilities.
  3. Intelligence: You may assume that this would be obvious from your tricked out portfolio and voluminous resume, but a couple slips in the interview or a typo and your “IQ” points can head south. Being stunted for words during the interview, or saying “umm, I’m not sure” can take you from top of the class to bottom of the pile. Use good grammar, spell check (very important!), and think before you speak!
  4. Personal Achievement: If you went through the grueling admissions process to attend a traditional college after high school you’ll remember the section in the application asking about extracurricular activities. Do you have any outside of your work? Employers use this as a way of getting to know you, and see it as a glimpse into what drives your spirit outside of your resume.
  5. Good Follow-Through: Showing that you’ve brought a project from conception to completion is a great trait to display. One of the best ways to “show and not tell” them is by sending a thank you note after the interview.
  6. Personable and Good Manners: I’ve combined these because they can go hand in hand. Be polite to the staff members you meet on the way down the hallway to your destination. If you’re shy, for once be outgoing, shake hands, smile and say hello. It also goes without saying to keep your personal hygiene in check and leave out the gum and turn off your cell phone. Being able to get along with different personality types with grace is beneficial in displaying your ability as a team player as well as controlled.
  7. Good Judgment: This is the part in the interview when they ask about a time when you were in a difficult situation at a previous, and what you did to work out of it. Take mark of the story you chose and where it leads. It displays how you exercise good judgment, and if you have the ability to do so.
  8. Modesty: The ability to handle and work with criticism; whether constructive or not. Being able to share with your potential boss what a “constructive” weakness is, and if you know how to identify it and work with it shows strength in character. If you can take a different approach from a co-worker and implement it without complaint it shows another side, team collaboration.
  9. Honesty: Being able to trust that the decisions you’re making are ethical and in the best interest of the company is high on an employer’s list.
  10. Time Management: Knowing how to differentiate between higher and lower priority assignments is important. Do you spend too much time on trivial tasks, only to have your boss leering over your shoulder asking you about the report due yesterday? Good organization and prioritization are important .

[Up Next: Resumes – When Is It Time to Call In the Experts?]

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