Do you consider yourself to be a disciplined person? Hiring managers are looking for people who possess this trait. If you don't have it—never fear—you can develop it!

If you're applying to a job, the word “disciplined” can go a long way to demonstrating your ability to work autonomously. That is more important now than it ever has been in the past. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed a lot of people into remote working environments, whether they were ready for it or not. 

As the great transition to working from home becomes more common, take the opportunity to show you're disciplined, a desirable skill others will overlook when showcasing strengths. 

The characteristics of a disciplined person

Why would employers care that you're disciplined? Yes, every employer alive wants job candidates who can perform the daily tasks listed in the job description. However, experience and education aren't the only things companies want. Soft skills are just as important in your quest to find gainful employment. 

Soft skills point to your level of commitment to forge ahead to get things done, accomplish goals, and meet deadlines. The person who interviews you for a position will be looking for several clues to answer some questions about your personality:

  1. Do you get along with others?

  2. Are you good at organization and time management?

  3. Are you adaptable?

  4. Do you avoid instant gratification for the good of others?

  5. Do you possess self-control and discipline necessary to work both independently and within a cross-functional team? 

By demonstrating confidence and talking about times where you had to overcome some obstacle by exercising patience, you exude discipline. 

Discipline can be learned

Take a moment to evaluate whether you truly are a disciplined person. It's okay if you're not. Being disciplined isn't something people are gifted at birth. It is a learned habit. If you've ever been told, “You have no willpower,” shame on the people who told you that, but it does suggest that discipline and self-control are things you can work on. 

In fact, building self-discipline can have several positive impacts on your life other than just helping you secure employment. 

Set goals to build discipline and secure employment

Having goals breeds success. Whether you want to gain discipline as a skill or you are already disciplined and are ready to use it to land a better job, SMART goals will help you. SMART goals are clearly defined and set a very specific path towards the achievement of a particular thing. Know the difference between a dream and a SMART goal:

  • Dream: I want a new job.

  • SMART Goal: I will apply to 10 Fortune 100 companies this week for the position of Staff Accountant. 

The bottom line is be specific with your goal. By its very nature, setting SMART goals, working diligently towards them, and achieving those goals demonstrates discipline. 

Showcasing discipline on a resume (two examples)

Now that it's time to start applying for jobs, you have to update your resume. There are many ways to work in the concept of being disciplined. The first, and easiest, is to add it to your “Core Competencies” (aka Skills List). The best way to include that you are disciplined is to work it into your summary paragraph. 

Core Competencies

This is a list of skills that generally shows up just beneath your summary paragraph. A strong “Core Competencies” section will contain about 15 skills or keywords with a strong mix of hard and soft skills

You could simply stick the word “disciplined” in the list, but that doesn't say a lot. The best recommendation would be to pair it with another soft skill, like “Disciplined Self-Starter” or “Goal-Driven Problem Solver.” The skill you add doesn't have to contain the word “disciplined.”

Summary Paragraph

The summary paragraph (aka Career Summary) is a block of text that appears just below your resume's title. This paragraph is your elevator speech. It basically answers the tell-me-about-yourself interview question. 

There are countless ways to add that you possess the skill of discipline into this paragraph. You could add it at the beginning:

  • Patient and ambitious (NAME OF ROLE) who thrives on ensuring business continuity through process improvements.

Perhaps somewhere in the middle of the paragraph, you talk about leading teams. Motivating staff to succeed definitely comes from a place of discipline. Then, as you close out your paragraph, you could mention that you are uniquely able to “work in both independent and collaborative environments” further showcasing your ability to exercise self-discipline.

Discipline as desirable to a hiring manager

No matter how you work it into your resume, the goal is to get it on there. Hiring managers in several industries need people who are confident, reliable, disciplined, and can overcome barriers to success.

Do all jobs desire discipline as a soft skill? 

It is easy to see how discipline can be a desirable trait in finance, business management, or an operations role. Artistic, creative, or caretaking professions would probably desire flexibility over discipline, yet discipline wouldn't be completely discounted. Ultimately, every role you apply to would give you an opportunity to flex your discipline muscles. 


Figuring out how to set yourself apart from the competition—other job seekers—can be tough. While it is important to show off your experience and education, don't forget soft skills. Soft skills are characteristics you possess that others may not and may be what puts you over the top. 

Would you categorize yourself as disciplined? If so, utilize TopReume's writing service to help you showcase this unique trait through your accomplishments!

Recommended Reading: 

Related Articles: