Five characteristics of successful jobseekers

Five characteristics of successful job seekers

If you could highlight any one asset you really needed to find a job that you love, what would you choose?

Crafting the perfect CV/cover letter is vital, and making the right preparations for acing the interview goes without saying. And of course, for certain positions, having a particular skill may be a necessity. But what else does it take to actually get the job you want?

The answer may be simpler than you think. In fact, there might be one key change you can make to dramatically improve your chances of success: master your mindset.

What is mindset?

If skill set is about what you can do, then your mindset is about what you see, think and believe. Used correctly, it can make any one of us stand out from the crowd.

With technology developing at an unprecedented rate, certain skills are becoming obsolete more quickly now than ever before. However, whilst nobody can predict the skills needed to succeed in five or ten years’ time, mindset stays constant.

Echoing these sentiments, we asked over 800 employers, and 96% of them chose mindset over skill set as the key element they seek when employing (and retaining) staff.

Based on these findings, here are the top five characteristics of successful job seekers:

5. Accountability

72.56% of employers highlighted accountability as an essential characteristic when looking for new employees.

The individuals who demonstrate accountability most effectively are those who go beyond the confines of their job description, take responsibility for things that go wrong and/or attempt to improve the current situation in any way they can.

Example of how to use accountability in your CV: ‘Sought one-to-one coaching to improve my value per transaction, allowing me to consistently hit not only my individual targets, but also those of the team for a period of six months.’

 4. Adaptability 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, adaptability was chosen as essential by 75.12% of employers surveyed.

Those candidates who can genuinely display the flexibility and ingenuity to rise to any challenge they face, maintain a dynamic approach and respond positively to it all, will automatically increase their employability.

Example of how to use adaptability in your CV: Due to a change in personnel, I increased my workload for one quarter to compensate for the loss (until a new hire could be made), successfully adapting my approach to meet the requirements at hand and ensuring the team’s goals continued to be met.

3. Trustworthiness 

Whatever industry you’re in, having a sense of trust in others around you is vital for a harmonious workplace. Perhaps that’s why 90.93% of employers chose trustworthiness as their next essential characteristic when hiring.

There are a number of ways you can demonstrate this in your CV or at an interview, from both a moral sense (e.g. opening tills, cashing up etc.) and from a team working/delegation standpoint. Establish your trustworthiness effectively, and a big box is ticked for the hiring manager.

Example of how to use trustworthiness in your CV: Efficiently managed my own workload, which included setting deadlines and delivering copy to external agencies on time, maintaining excellent productivity and ensuring quality of work met a consistently high standard. 

2. Honesty

Affirming the old adage, 91.4% of hiring managers think that honesty really is the best policy.

And, although honesty is inevitably linked to accountability and trustworthiness to a certain degree, adopting it as an integral part of your mindset and being able to practically display it is crucial. It doesn’t have to be too hard-hitting, just a few words to display your morals are in the right place should be more than enough.

Example of how to use honesty in your CV: In my role as supervisor, I have recently had to deal with a member of staff whose recent output has been of a unsatisfactory nature. However, rather than formally discipline them, I confidentially spoke to them to ascertain the problem, and their work has dramatically improved as a result.

1. Commitment 

Finally, according to our research the most important trait for successful jobseekers is commitment. In fact, 92.09% of all employers said that this was absolutely essential for all team members and potential hires.

Commitment undoubtedly has an exceptionally powerful effect. If it’s there, it engenders trust and earns respect. When it’s missing, it’s almost impossible to replicate or attain belief from any level of the business.  

Actively exhibit your commitment, and you’ll set yourself apart for all the right reasons. (Warning: Stating you always give 110% is not necessarily the most effective way to do this. It’s also impossible…).

Example of how to use commitment in your CV: During a recent project, I undertook over 40 hours of overtime, making sure all commitments made to suppliers were met on schedule, and personally overseeing all creative changes were implemented right through until the assignment’s completion.  

James Reed and Paul G. Stoltz

To find out more about our research on mindset, and for more tips on how to use your mindset to get the job you want, read Put Your Mindset to Work by James Reed and Paul G. Stoltz available on

Put Your Mindsert to Work