How to Describe Your Work Ethics on a Resume

by Tia Benjamin; Updated September 26, 2017

Simply writing "I have a strong work ethic" is not the best way to demonstrate that work ethic to an employer. Rather than providing generic, unsupported statements, allow the employer to visualize your work ethic by clearly describing the way in which your work ethics were incorporated into your performance at each job you have had. The University of Georgia -- in the online lesson "Other Employability Skills" -- identifies "three primary components of work ethic": Interpersonal skills, initiative and dependability. To impress the hiring manager, your resume should highlight the ways you apply these skills to your work.

Step 1

Critically review your past performance at each position. List examples of your performance that demonstrate work ethic, such as putting in long hours, punctuality, reliability and excellent communication and conflict resolution skills.

Step 2

Review the list and select one example for each position. Check that the examples display a range of behavior. In other words, don't select only examples that show your reliability and dependability, but select examples to show the whole spectrum of work ethic, including your interpersonal skills and ability to work on your own initiative.

Step 3

Summarize each example until it becomes a concise single sentence that still highlights the work ethic component. For example: "Worked independently to complete X project on time and under budget." Include each sentence as a bullet point in the relevant work experience section.

Step 4

Include nonwork related examples if you don't have much experience. Time spent serving as a volunteer for a charitable organization, or working in the community as a little league coach, for example, can be used as an example of your work ethic.

Step 5

Tie the examples together with a related qualifications summary that emphasizes your overall work ethic and values. If your bullet points relate to your timeliness, dedication and ability to work on your own initiative, your overall qualifications summary could read: "Dependable, committed self-starter with professional certification and five years of progressively responsible management experience."


  • Don't state any work ethic information that will be contradicted by your references, otherwise you run the risk of appearing dishonest.

About the Author

For more than a decade, Tia Benjamin has been writing organizational policies, procedures and management training programs. A C-level executive, she has more than 15 years experience in human resources and management. Benjamin obtained a Bachelor of Science in social psychology from the University of Kent, England, as well as a Master of Business Administration from San Diego State University.

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