How To Describe Good Work Ethic on a Resume

Work ethic is a great quality to have — but not a great phrase to use on your resume. Here’s how to show off your work ethic through your accomplishments.

2 years ago   •   4 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
Table of contents

“Looking for a hard working self-starter with an excellent work ethic …”

Let’s be real — most people reading that statement in a job ad are thinking, “that sounds exactly like me!” But how do you prove it to a hiring manager? The answer is: by focusing on accomplishments that demonstrate good work ethic.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through sample accomplishments that show good work ethic, where to put it on your resume, and other relevant skills you should be highlighting. But first, here’s how to get started.

The step by step guide to demonstrating good work ethic on your resume

  1. Consider what qualities you have that speak to your work ethic. Are you highly organized, so that you’re always on time and meet deadlines? Honest and upfront with other people? Determined to make sure you’re delivering your best work? Identifying these qualities can help you pinpoint what to focus on.
  2. Brainstorm any time when you’ve demonstrated those qualities at work. Write down as many examples as you can.
  3. Read through the job description and match the responsibilities listed with your examples. Ideally, try to include one accomplishment for every job duty.
  4. List these examples as accomplishments in bullet point format, starting with a strong action verb.
  5. Quantify the results of your actions by including hard numbers or metrics. Using your best guess is okay!
  6. Run your resume through an ATS resume scanner to find out what you did well — and for actionable steps on how to improve even further.

Let's look at an example of how to emphasize your strong work ethic on your resume:

How To Describe Good Work Ethic on a Resume
How To Describe Good Work Ethic on a Resume

Where to put work ethic on a resume

Like any soft skill, work ethic shouldn’t be listed in your skills section or spelled out in your cover letter. Where it does belong is in your work experience bullet points.

How to show good work ethic on your resume

The rule for including soft skills on a resume is “show, don’t tell.” That applies to work ethic, too.

Instead of telling a recruiter that you have a strong work ethic, show them through your resume accomplishments. Choose examples of a time when you took initiative, delivered work above and beyond the call of duty, or navigated a tricky situation with integrity. Most importantly, include the results of your actions in a way that shows how they benefited the company.

Once you’re done, upload your resume to the tool below to check if your bullet point accomplishments highlight your good work ethic and other soft skills such as initiative, attention to detail and teamwork.

Example of work ethic in your work experience section

Here’s an example that shows off a good work ethic — without saying the words “work ethic.”

Example of showing good work ethic on a resume through bullet point accomplishments
Example of showing good work ethic on a resume through bullet point accomplishments

More tips for including work ethic on a resume

Part of having a good work ethic is a desire to improve — and that means getting feedback from trustworthy sources. Why not start with your resume? Score My Resume is a fast, free, AI-powered tool designed by experts to give you personalized feedback on your resume.

If you’re wondering how to show off other soft skills, check out our guide to including soft skills on a resume, which includes more examples and discussion of some of the most valuable soft skills recruiters are looking for.

Specific work ethic skills to highlight

Good work ethic isn’t a monolith. If you’re trying to demonstrate a good work ethic on your resume, it might be helpful to break it down into smaller, more concrete skills. These could include:

These are all soft skills — which means you shouldn’t say “I have a positive attitude” any more than you’d say “I have a good work ethic” — but choosing specific skills to focus on and including matching accomplishments is the key to effectively demonstrating a good work ethic.

If you’re wondering which hard skills to include in your skills section, use the tool below to get a list of hard skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Resume synonyms for good work ethic

If you can’t say “good work ethic” on a resume, what can you say? Try these action verbs instead, which all highlight a good work ethic without having to say it:

  • Accelerated
  • Produced
  • Increased
  • Led
  • Initiated
  • Promoted
  • Improved
  • Founded
  • Innovated
  • Released
  • Completed
  • Generated
  • Doubled

Work ethic resume bullet point examples

Sold on average 10 cars per month, exceeding company quota by 5%.

If your good work ethic has led to you consistently exceeding expectations, highlight that by describing your accomplishments in terms of average production or company quotas.

Worked closely with 5 cross-functional teams to reverse a downward trend in past-due account collections with better automated outreach.

Having a good work ethic is sometimes about flagging — and resolving — existing issues. Instead of going into detail about the problem, focus on your actions and the positive results.

Maintained 100% compliance with company policies as well as federal laws and regulations.

In heavily-regulated fields or jobs where safety or compliance are important factors, accomplishments like this can help demonstrate an all-important strong work ethic.

Awarded Top Performer for 4 consecutive years, achieving over 100% of annual quota in procurement.

If you’ve received official acknowledgment of your excellent work ethic, like honors, awards, or industry recognition, highlight those in your resume along with the results that got you there.

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