4 important personality traits of U.S. presidents

Reflect on the skills of some of our greatest presidents and how they can be applied to your job search.

Whether you think they’ve succeeded or failed, each U.S. president was elected for a reason. Each man proved to the American people that he was right for the job, and tried to continually showcase his best traits. In the wake of Presidents’ Day, we examined which traits can be used to advance your career. Here are four of the professional traits everyone should take away from our presidents.

Perhaps the most well-known presidential nickname is “Honest Abe.” Mr. Abraham Lincoln earned this nickname prior to his first inauguration, though speculations vary as far as exactly when. It may have been during his youth as a star customer-service store clerk, or later on in his law career when others observed his intolerance of lying in the courtroom.

There are countless incentives to tell the truth, but perhaps none more important than it will eventually come to light, whether you verbally acknowledge it or not. We can all learn a thing or two from fellow President Clinton’s refusal to admit to a certain a mistake.

As far as the job market goes, there’s no better way to kiss a position goodbye than if you lie on your resume. Even seemingly harmless fibs—like if you claim to be fluent in Spanish but you’re actually just semi-conversational—will likely show themselves sooner than you think.

Franklin D. Roosevelt may have been one of the most dedicated politicians of all time. He was so invested in his beliefs that he didn’t allow anything to get in the way of his career as a political leader—even a crippling illness.

Mr. Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio in 1921 at age 39. Though he was paralyzed from the waist down and had lost the use of his legs, his political career had hardly even begun. Roosevelt continued on to serve as the Governor of New York from 1929-1932, and served a record four terms as President of the United States.

It’s no secret that it’s tough out there for a job seeker. The sheer amount of competition can be daunting. No matter the job market, it’s crucial to stay committed to your goals, while trying to stay positive and level-headed. Amanda Augustine emphasizes that job seekers stay persistent in their pursuit for a position, advising to “harness the power of three: Apply to jobs, engage in recruiter activity, and utilize your social and professional networks”

Despite his scandals and shortcomings, President John F. Kennedy is predominately known for his incredible ability to command a room. In his 1961 inaugural address, he famously kept the audience rapt, saying, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Just as it did for JFK, a friendly and pleasant demeanor can soften even the toughest critic. Even if you’re no ‘people person,’ flashing a friendly smile during discussions of your incomparable work ethic couldn’t hurt.

Keeping cool
Whatever your political party, and whatever your stance on President Barack Obama in the Whitehouse, you have to admit the man can keep his cool in a tense situation.

Notorious for his repartee, he has managed to dish out light-hearted, witty one-liners to cheeky press and pedestrians attempting to shock or catch him off-guard.

Next time you feel the need to lash out at someone in your job search or career —even if you feel justified to do so—try cracking a joke at the situation’s expense instead. It’s a much calmer approach, and everyone in question will react more favorably than if you were to hurl a couple of poorly prepared insults.

Politicians aren’t perfect, but they do know a thing or two about commanding a crowd. They had to impress the American public enough to be chosen for the job. As a job seeker, you may only need to impress an employer or hiring manager (as opposed to the entire American population). However, you are a candidate up for a job against other equally qualified professionals. So, remember: When it boils down to it, a well-planned, complimentary observation of the company culture may make a difference.