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This is Part 2 of 7 of the “7 Personality Traits Employers Value” series.

To review a touch, here are last Thursday’s opening paragraphs:

Most of us, when we write our resumés, focus on our hard skills. Today I’m going to look at 7 personality traits that are valued by employers in today’s uncertain world.

Historically, our hiring systems can seem to be off these days. One of the issues believed by employers and searchers alike is that “hard skills” are the traits that make sure the company runs at it’s best.

What? Hard skills don’t matter?

And yes, while someone obviously needs to have the appropriate technical skills, it is 7 “soft” personality traits that make the company go ’round and ’round. It is the way you do what you do that counts most for what employers value today. No matter your role in the company, everyone is in sales at some point in the company’s existence. Everyone that ever deals with a customer is a salesperson for the firm’s culture and values.

A large team of diverse people, acting like a team through the pre-game ritual of one person's hand on top fo the other, and the other and the other.
Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

For instance, what happens when there’s a customer emergency? What happens when that customer has gone off of the deep end for (apparently) no reason? What happens when your employee feels slighted in their job review? What happens when people need to work cross-departmentally with strangers?

What happens when you review a job posting, and you seem to have all the “i”s dotted, and the “t”s crossed, yet you don’t even get an interview?

What happens when you get interviews, but you don’t get the job; especially after several attempts with different companies?

Have you ever heard of people being hired for a job they were seemingly unqualified for? And to make matters worse, you were better qualified, and you didn’t get the job?

Some management people call this “getting the right person on the bus, and then finding the right seat for them to occupy.”

In other words, in the past, we’ve often hired the person we like the best, rather than the best candidate. In the past, we’ve downplayed the 7 personality traits that we now value.


Here is a list of the 7 personality traits employers value most – especially in “hot” situations:

  1. Someone that actively listens and communicates well (diffuses conflict)
  2. People with emotional intelligence (EQ), and know how to manage their own emotions
  3. Patient people (humble people)
  4. “No Drama” folks (see numbers 2 and 3, above)
  5. People that can manage themselves
  6. People that can focus on a task
  7. People that can practice self-care during the workday, and be more effective as a result

Let’s look at those one at a time, over the next few episodes. Here’s number 2 of 7:

7.2. People with high EQ and know how to manage their own emotions

The term “EQ” or “emotional quotient” has been bandied around quite a bit lately. Some of us know what it means, while others are left scratching their heads about it. We’ve all heard about “IQ” and how that can impact our levels of success in this life.

According to the influential Harvard theorist Howard Gardner, actually recently professionals are looking to EQ as a better indicator of success than is IQ. The idea is to be able to read people correctly, and then be able to react correctly to whatever emotion we perceive.

The “gotcha” with EQ is, one can believe their own EQ is high, when that is not necessarily true. It is a perception, after all. And, as you may have heard perception becomes, or rather is, reality.

Empathy for another is another term for high EQ.

A collage of a young woman's face, with exaggerated facial expressions, used as an example of many emotions tied to reading faces.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

To become an excellent salesperson these days you need to know how the other person on the other side of the table feels about the item you’re selling.

If you mis-read a room, your success in that engagement is greatly (negatively) impacted. Your ability to negotiate with those in the room is negatively impacted. Your ability to even work as a teammate can be (negatively) impacted.

Deriving the correct reading in the room means being able to read contextual clues as well as facial expressions and body language. Seeing the difference between “being challenged” and reading that it’s really curiosity on the face of your co-worker is paramount. The difference between anger and frustration and not understanding you can mean the difference between success and failure.

And in today’s world where many conversations are virtual, this can really put a person at a disadvantage. It can be very hard to read a person’s body language when you only see them from the head-and-shoulders angle.

By the same token, telephone calls are even worse – you have to read everything by only the tone of the other person’s voice.

There are 5 categories of EQ

In fact, researchers agree that there are 5 basic categories of EQ:

  1. Self-awareness. How well do you recognize your own emotions? How confident are you in your abilities?
  2. Self-regulation. Most of the time, emotions hit us when we least expect it. That makes sense, because if you were only impacted by emotions on a schedule, you’d be able to be ready for them, and have an action plan in mind for how to handle those situations.
  3. Motivation. With any project, you can prepare yourself for success by having clear goals, a positive attitude, perseverance, and the ability to overcome negative issues as they arise (as they most certainly will).
  4. Empathy. There is nothing in business that can take the place of an empathetic person. People don’t buy from fact sheets, or marketing 1-pagers. They buy from people they know, like and trust. And when you cannot forge a bond on any of these 3 fronts, your ability to work with that person is next to impossible.
  5. Social skills. In today’s world of flatter organizations, influence is a greatly prized trait. This includes your ability to persuade people over which you hold no direct authority. Those that can get their projects green-lit. Those that can inspire and lead others. Those people that can manage conflict without involving higher management.In today’s workplace, those that can create collaborative environments, and feed the cooperative spirit are the most highly regarded.

Thought for the post

While a high IQ has been important to success in the past, over the last 20 years or so, we’ve found out that the 7 personality traits employers value, and will create the greatest stage for success.


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