If you've ever taken a psychology class, you probably know the Big Five personality traits. What you might not know — or what you've probably forgotten in the time since you spent a semester falling asleep in the back of Psych 101 — are the particulars of each trait, but that's what I'm here for. Consider this your refresher course in the signs of a conscientious personality, so you can wow people at parties with your oddly specific knowledge of psychological theories. (I'm totally serious; that's how I snagged my best friend in college.)
But first, a little background is in order. According to the five factor model (FFM) of personality, there are five major traits that combine to make our unique personalities: Extraversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, neuroticism, and conscientiousness. The FFM hypothesizes that everyone possesses these characteristics to some degree; an introvert would score low in extraversion, while someone who is known for being nice would score highly in agreeableness. I've already covered what neuroticism looks like (short answer: moody and anxious), but today's topic is perhaps a little more desirable — research has shown that conscientiousness is far and away the most sought-after characteristic by employers.
So how do you know whether to list this particular trait on your resume? Here are six common characteristics of conscientiousness below.
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1. You Can't Leave Anything Undone
It's literally in the definition: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, conscientious means being "concerned with doing something correctly." If you can't leave something alone until it's done right, you're super conscientious.
2. You're Ridiculously Organized
The personality trait is usually associated with organization; when you think about all the people you know who get stuff done, they're usually well-organized. As Glenn Geher, PhD, wrote for Psychology Today, "Conscientiousness is characterized by a strong tendency to be diligent and reliable – keeping things organized and on-task."
3. You Have Tons Of Self-Discipline
4. Appearances Are Important To You
In a 2011 study, researchers studying the behavior of conscientious people wrote, "Conscientious people tend to write down important dates, comb their hair, polish their shoes, stand up straight, and scrub floors." Basically, they're more concerned with appearances and keeping things tidy than someone who doesn't score as highly on the trait.
5. You're The Parent Of Your Friend Group
Part of being conscientious is a strong sense of responsibility; people who are conscientious tend to plan ahead and take obligations seriously. As a result, you're probably known as the mom or dad of your friend group, always ready with water bottles, self-adhesive bandages, and solid advice.
6. You're Successful
All that planning apparently pays off: Research has shown that people who are highly conscientious are less likely to commit crimes, have higher grades, and tend to stay married longer. For the sake of us Type Bs, though, try not to rub your happiness in our faces.
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