Is Your Personality a Strength or a Weakness?

What personality traits are attractive to employers?  Does it vary significantly depending on the job or are there certain qualities that are an asset for every position?    There are five personality traits, often referred to as ‘the big five’, that many employers perceive to be predictors of high performance.  It is a good idea to be aware of these traits and to be ready with examples of how you have demonstrated them in the past:

Openness:  How open are you to new experiences?  Do you resist change or do you embrace it?  Think of a time when you sought out a new adventure and overcame the initial obstacles that you faced.

Conscientiousness:  Since recent studies have identified conscientiousness as the most accurate predictor of career and life success, many employers are looking for this trait in potential candidates.  Are you organized and careful in your work or are you sloppy and careless? Try to come up with a few examples of when you successfully completed a task that required a strong attention to detail.

Extroversion:  Are you outgoing or reserved?  The value of this trait largely depends on the job that you are seeking.  For example, if you are seeking a position as an accountant, it is not necessary for you to be outgoing, but if you are applying for a job as a salesperson, it probably is.

Agreeableness:  The ability to get along with others is an essential component of every job.  Try to think of examples of situations when you worked well on a team as well as any positive comments that your managers or coworkers have made about your interpersonal skills.

Emotional Stability:  How do you respond to stress?  Do you become overly anxious or are you able to stay calm?  Can you come up with an example of when you were able to maintain your composure under difficult circumstances?

You know that employers are evaluating your technical skills, but you may be surprised to learn that possessing the right personality traits is equally important.  Once you are familiar with the traits that most employers are seeking, you are in a better position to demonstrate that you are the best fit for any job.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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