What are personal skills: list and examples


In this article, I will discuss what personal skills are, a list of personal skills, and some examples of these skills for your resume.

Table of contents

We can consider aptitude the ability to learn a certain behavior, or a congenital condition of a certain efficiency that becomes an ability only if it manifests itself, but that can always remain in a latent state, or even a natural predisposition.

Personal skills facilitate the development of particular forms of activity, since they are psychophysical skills that can facilitate or hinder the completion of a training or work project. 

With this article I will therefore see what personal aptitudes are, a list of aptitudes and some examples.

1. What are personal skills?

The definition of aptitude varies from one author to another, some recognize substantially a single aptitude definable intelligence, others evidence innumerable aptitudes.

  • Piéron defines aptitude as the congenital condition (predisposition) to a certain mode of efficacy; it may remain dormant and never manifest, but if it does, it transforms into skill and can support the acquisition and expression of knowledge and skills. In this article you will find examples of skills.
  • According to Piaget, aptitude is what differentiates two individuals who have the same characteristics.
  • For other authors, aptitude is a set of elements that allows a person to carry out complex activities (and, therefore, show ability): speaking a language, building objects, etc.
  • Gemelli defines aptitudes as determinants that give rise to different performances and the particular ways of reacting that result; in other words, who owns them is facilitated to carry out a particular activity.
  • For Claparede, an aptitude is a physical or mental attribute considered from the point of view of performance: resistance to fatigue, perseverance in effort, motor or mental speed, etc.

In some cases, instead of skills, there is even talk of talent; however, even considering the useful aptitudes as prerequisites, we must not forget that all complex human activity also derives from the expression of the personality and the will placed in the field.

Aptitudes, in effect, appear as an original factor, we could say genetic, but then they are forged by environmental conditions.

Artists like Goya and Mozart were very early in their manifestations of aptitude, but certainly the educational conditions were equally decisive. Aptitudes, if cultivated, are reinforced over time and transformed, evolve into skill.

It must be remembered that high aptitudes, but without the spring of interest, of stimulation, of will, end up not giving positive results in terms of expression of the consequent ability.

Aptitude is not the same as attitude.

2. Types of personal skills

The most traditional and shared classification distinguishes physiological, sensory, motor and intellectual aptitudes on a kind of scale of increasing complexity:

  • Physiological aptitudes are represented by strength, physical endurance, etc. Let's think about the importance of the consistency of muscle mass for certain archaic occupations or for certain sports, which can be counterproductive for hockey. Let's also think about certain characteristics of the rib cage and the leg muscles that make the difference between cyclists.
  • Sensory aptitudes are represented by the so-called five senses, which can be more or less accentuated. They are the most obvious and the most constant, and their measurement and evaluation goes back to the origin of experimental psychology.
  • Motor skills can be highlighted in sports activities, in crafts, music and art in general. Let's think of manual dexterity, in the sense of balance, in the harmony that can be expressed in free-body gymnastics, in dance, in playing an instrument such as the violin or the piano.
  • Mental aptitudes are represented by the faculty of organization of thought. Think of the faculty of concentration required of a surgeon or a goldsmith, or of the faculty of controlling multiple phenomena typical of an orchestra conductor.

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3. How competencies are identified and measured?

Given that aptitudes are configurable in a complex and correlated way, attempts have been made to measure them by developing special tests or reagents such as psychosensory, perceptual-motor, psychomotor, mental tests, etc.

A widely used item is Thurstone's, a multifactorial battery of primary skills to assess nine areas. These instruments are credible and useful for young people, but it must be remembered that, since aptitudes are a substantial abstraction, those that can be measured are, in practice, abilities, that is, aptitudes in some way stimulated and made applicable.

If we recover the concept of aptitude as the set of dispositions, inclinations, psycho-physical conditions that make it possible to carry out a particular activity, we verify that with education and experience it finds more or less effective forms of expression.

Skills, in other words, are inextricably linked to age, education, exercise, gender, and so on. For example, we know how to do calculations, even complicated ones, because in addition to having an aptitude for calculation, we have learned to do math.

Therefore, to capture aptitudes in their essence, the education, study, experimentation, application and experience factors should be eliminated.

Remember that most aptitudes during adolescence become skills. In fact, only two ways can partially go back to aptitudes: comparing people with education, studies, etc. same, noting the differences of the different benefits; or refer to individuals belonging to childish age.

4. 30 examples of skills for a resume

Since individual aptitudes are the central nucleus of the individual's personality, their understanding plays a very important role for the personal brand: exercising a profession in association with one's own personal aptitudes guarantees strong stimuli and ample gratification; on the contrary, when the professional career and aptitudes take different paths, contradictions and dissonant situations are experienced.

To better understand the concept, we will see examples of personal and work skills. Here is a list of 30 interesting professional skills important for a resume (CV):

  1. Spirit of adaptation
  2. Problem resolution
  3. Motivation
  4. Tenacity
  5. Target orientation
  6. Stress resistance
  7. Team work
  8. Creativity
  9. Proactivity
  10. Attention to details
  11. Flexibility
  12. Resilience
  13. Leadership
  14. Integrity
  15. Empathy
  16. Courage
  17. Competition
  18. Efficient communication
  19. Initiative
  20. Dynamism
  21. Precision
  22. Planning
  23. Organization
  24. Confidence in oneself
  25. Autonomy
  26. Sensitivity
  27. Respect
  28. Patience
  29. Cordiality
  30. Concentration


  • Cocco, GC (2005). Learning as a competitive advantage. "Time to mind": the enhancement of business skills for innovation. 
  • Ostillo, MC (2020). Personal Branding.
  • Spalletta, E., Quaranta, C. (2004). Integrated school counseling.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative, I have no authority to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. I invite you to visit a psychologist to treat your particular case.