How to show you have a positive attitude on your CV

positive attitude cv

A positive attitude is something every employer looks for! It’s a self-belief skill, and showing employers your great attitude doesn’t start in the interview room. You can use your CV to show off your positive attitude to your potential new boss, too. Here’s how!

What is a positive attitude?

We’ll start with the basics. The quick answer is that having a positive attitude means you see the good in things. You’re more of a Tigger than an Eeyore when it comes to challenges in life. But you’re realistic, too! In the world of jobs, a positive attitude means you are willing to make an effort and look for solutions to life’s little problems, not just give into frustration.

In terms of how to portray your positive side in your CV, employers have 5 signs of a positive attitude they look for:

  1. Accountability
  2. Adaptability
  3. Commitment
  4. Honesty
  5. Trustworthiness

Accountability

Do you take ownership of your decisions and actions? Do you try your best at the tasks your boss gives you, knowing the quality of work reflects on you, even if they’re not your favourite tasks in the world? That’s accountability.

Demonstrating accountability in your CV:

Think of a time you took ownership of a project. Your boss might have given you a specific task to do. It might have been a small but vital part of a bigger project. In your CV, mention any extra steps you took above and beyond your original mission to make sure you did the best job you could do.

Adaptability

Have you taken part-time jobs to build your skills towards a dream job in the future? Are you willing to try to come up with a plan B or a new way of doing things if the office printer runs out of paper, everyone’s on sick leave at the same time, or you’re given new tasks and responsibilities you’ve never done before? That’s adaptability.

Demonstrating adaptability in your CV:

Your potential future boss wants to know you’re not going to crumble (or grumble) if there are changes to your daily routine. They want to know you can be flexible and positive in your approach to life, study and work.

If you’ve done lots of temporary jobs or summer/weekend/part-time, you may be wondering how to fit them all onto your CV.  You can group them into a theme (e.g. “Administrative roles” or “Construction roles” or “Retail roles”) to save CV space but show you have been keeping busy.

If you’ve jumped from one field of work into something very different, aim to show how your skills and experience in e.g. retail led to improving your skills, experience and level of responsibility in e.g. office administration. Employers will see you can adapt to different environments and still keep building core skills like digital know-how or customer service along the way.

Finally, always mention on your CV if your past role was changed by promotion or extra responsibilities. This will be a clear signal to your future boss that previous employers recognised you could handle a step up in your daily routine.

Commitment

Have you been interested in the company or field of work for a long time? Have you studied extra courses to develop your skills and knowledge in that area, whether it’s vocational courses or degrees? Have you done relevant voluntary work? Have you stayed for a decent length of time (not quitting a week after you start because you got bored) in previous jobs? Have past employers offering seasonal or temp work called you back to work for them again, because they trust you? That’s commitment.

Demonstrating commitment in your CV:

Tailoring your CV to a particular role and company shows you are driven to give your best shot at applying – not just for any job that pays the bills, but for THIS job! In your cover letter and CV, make it clear why you’re motivated to work with that particular employer. It will help your potential future boss understand you’re committed to the goals and attitude of the company. If they’re going to commit to training you up, they want to know you’re committed to stick around and grow in the role.

Make it clear in your CV if you’ve had any relevant education, work experience or volunteering experience that shows you’ve been interested in building relevant skills and knowledge related to the job for some time.

Working for a while in a particular job, or being called back for regular part-time or seasonal work, demonstrates you have shown commitment to jobs – and employers – in the past. So always say if you, for example, did summer work in the local leisure centre for three years running.

Honesty

Obviously, when we talk about honesty we mean tactful honesty – because diplomacy is such an important part of teamwork and being able to get along with people in your workplace! But honesty is still important, and there are a few ways you can show how honest you are in your CV

Demonstrating honesty in your CV:

Never lie or embellish the truth. Don’t say you were given more responsibility than you were. Don’t say your employer promoted you or praised you if they didn’t. And never say you did a job you’ve never done, or studied for a course you never took. Lies will catch you out.

One way to show how honest you are in a CV is the magic phrase “worked as part of a team”. Not only does it show you are a great team worker, but it also shows you are not arrogant. So if you worked as part of a team to get an amazing new project off the ground, this magic phrase shows you are not claiming all the credit for yourself. It makes your CV look much more believable and employers will warm to your honest nature before they’ve even called you in for an interview!

Trustworthiness

Can you be trusted to handle cash in a retail or catering job? Can you get on with your work without a line-manager having to watch your every step? Can you leave a job on good terms with everyone out of your own choice, without getting fired? Can you turn up early and do your best? Did you get promotions or added responsibility in return for your hard work and loyalty? That’s trustworthiness.

Demonstrating trustworthiness in your CV:

Never bad-mouth past employers in your CV, cover letter or interview, even if you know they treated you badly. It will only put potential future employers off. They will wonder what negative things you might say about them one day if they hired you.

If you were trusted enough to be given roles like handling cash, locking up after everyone else had gone home, or acting as a company’s ‘ambassador’ by personally dealing with clients or the public, say so. It shows your past employers trusted you.

Things like good timekeeping or being given extra responsibilites all show employers you can be trusted.

Young Professional Challenge

We want you to think about your CV, whether you’ve got one you already use or you need help creating your first one. Take a look at your CV and start to think about how you show your positive attitude on there.

  • Create sentences to go in your CV which show off your positive attitude to your next boss
  • See if you can include words or examples that show off your accountability, adaptability, commitment, honesty and trustworthiness.
  • If you’ve told any little fibs in your CV, now’s the time to fix that and make sure everything in it is TRUE. You’ve already got great skills and a willingness to learn new things. You don’t need to tell porkies to achieve great things!

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