The Core Traits of Career Success

The Core Traits of Career Success

I believe that there is a pattern of behavior among highly successful managers, and that studying what works can help others grow successful without having to go through the same bumps and roadblocks.

These are the six traits that I’ve come to believe capture much of what many recruiters and hiring managers look for in a candidate.

Persistence I can tell you without hesitation that most senior staff members would put this trait at the very top of their list. Yes, you must be smart, and you must have a grasp of your specific areas of expertise. But you must have the discipline and tenacity to stick with the problem and see it through to completion.

Focus. A sense of focus provides a certain “missionary” zeal, and it becomes a persistence multiplier. Focus is directing your energy to a single pursuit, having a spotlight on the central task at hand. Have you heard the expression about people who have a “single-minded pursuit”? That’s focus.

Inner beliefs. Successful people have a mental attitude that things will work out for them. It’s not the phony “rah-rah” positive attitude professed by motivational speakers. I’m referring to a generally upbeat view of the world. When you apply a positive world view, along with a lot of persistence and a tight focus, you can accomplish so much more than if you carry around the bad attitude caused by morning traffic on the way into work.

Flexibility. When successful people run into difficulty, they look at the problem from other directions, hammering away at it with great persistence. But if they don’t make progress despite all the effort expended, they are flexible and move in another direction entirely. Without flexibility, you will hit a wall.

Network. Building a network doesn’t require the outgoing people skills of a salesperson; it’s about people wanting to associate with you because you deliver on your commitments and give back to your partners. This network generally ends up being one of the reasons for a person’s upward mobility.

Critical thinking. Top professionals all have the ability to reason well. They know how to get to the bottom of a matter quickly, and they use their critical thinking skills to make great decisions. And instead of being paralyzed by the impact of an important decision, they act, combining critical analysis with forward momentum.

There is one more major trait that ties these six together: passion. You need to be passionate about the work you do. That passion for your work will often lead you to the right partner or to the right job at the right employer.

Understand these half-dozen traits, integrate them into your work life, apply passion liberally, and the result will be that someday you will see significantly more career opportunities as others begin to consider you as highly recruitable professional in your own right.

Rick ChristensenRick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice

Rick has been a career consultant for almost 30 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.

Contact Rick at:

Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Rick Christensen

Rick has been a career consultant for over 20 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

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