Before you decide what characteristics to list on a job application, research what qualifications employers want in that particular industry. What a pharmaceutical company wants will differ from what an environmental engineering firm wants. If you apply to organizations in different industries, you might choose general qualifications that apply to those industries.
Showcasing Your Characteristics
Different names for characteristics you'd include on an application are skills, competencies, abilities, qualities and attributes. Bottom line, these describe who you are and what you can do for an employer. They are not the credentials you've picked up in college, but they could be qualities you've developed through coursework and through work experiences. Your qualities either match what an employer wants or they don't.
Employers want employees who can communicate in different ways, including skills in listening and expressing yourself. How you can get a message across is just as important as receiving and interpreting messages correctly. Whether you excel at written communication, listening or oral presentations, you want to highlight these skills on your application. (ref 1)
In many organizations, you need leadership skills to participate in group projects and get others to support your priorities. Discuss how you've led past initiatives and how the leadership skills you honed in those experiences have prepared you for this new opportunity. Employers want people who get along effectively with various personalities and assume leadership roles when needed. You will also need other qualities such as modesty and conscientiousness to round out leadership characteristics. These will help you demonstrate commitment to the organization and to your colleagues.
In today's fast-paced work environment, you must give attention to multiple priorities. You must juggle priorities while dealing with interruptions to your workflow. When you discuss your ability to multitask on your application, don't be afraid to tie in other qualities such as finding creative solutions to problems with co-workers so team deadlines are met and helping the organization set new priorities when conditions change.
Don't choose skills that deviate from the preferred qualifications that are listed in a job posting. If an employer wants five years of experience in client relations, you could discuss your communication skills. If a job posting calls for computer programming skills, problem-solving and analytical thinking, don't focus on leadership qualities.
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