How to Win in Business

This IBM exec says great hires share one key trait — here's how to get it

This IBM exec says your resume should highlight one key trait

Give your resume to Harriet Green, top IBM executive, and within a few seconds, she'll be able to tell if you have the trait she says makes for the best employees.

For Green, general manager of IBM Watson Internet of Things, it isn't about being the smartest or most experienced applicant, though she admits that's a plus.

Rather, it's about being the most eager to learn, and your resume makes it pretty easy to tell if you have that trait, Green says.

"One of the things that I'm looking for all the time is people who believe in lifetime learning," she tells CNBC. "I'm a deep studier of the CV or the resume."

When reviewing a resume, Green examines the different positions a professional has held over the years. She then looks for differences between the various roles and what the individual has learned along the way.

"Has someone done the same job five times in different companies?" Green asks. "Or have they learned new skills?"

"If you've got people who love to learn," Green says, "then the challenges of change will be that much easier."

Here's how you can apply the executive's advice to your own career:

Highlight five or more of the skills you have on your resume, Green suggests. It's a great way to show employers not only the expertise you have, but the fact that you're willing to learn.

And in the longer term, when taking a new job or making a job change, don't just prioritize salary. Think about what you can learn, and who you can learn from, says former Google career coach Jenny Blake, who has helped more than 1,000 professionals advance their careers.

Google executive Peter Roper echoes this idea, saying that listing the skills you hope to gain throughout your career is one of two main ways to map out your career.

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Finding lifelong learners is a skill Green is using now, as she builds a team that will eventually include more than 1,000 people and operate in the group's new headquarters in Munich, Germany. In an area focused heavily on new technologies, having employees that want to keep studying is important.

"We all want to hire really smart people, but it's more about a propensity for change," she says.

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