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Five personal characteristics that contribute to your success

To be successful, you need to genuinely think about personal areas of improvement, and work on these traits, just as you would for any other career goal.

The following characteristics can be found in all successful people, but they do not arise by chance or luck. They come from habits, which are built up day after day.

International recruitment specialist Robert Walters shares five key characteristics that all successful people develop and maintain.


Good or bad, everyone takes feedback differently. Those who do not flinch after difficult news are those who are resilient.

Obstacles and setbacks are part of life. Accepting bad feedback won't stop you from moving forward. Anyone who has been employed long enough will agree that a manager who tells you where you went wrong is better than a manager who gives you no feedback at all.

If you show that you can deal with criticism, you prove that you can take adversity. Bouncing back and not collapsing in difficult times indicates that you have a strong character.


Eagerness to learn

In business nowadays, it is mainly about the 'willingness to learn' rather than the 'know-how'. Asking questions and being curious not only shows a high level of commitment, but also shows that you are eager to grow and learn.

Stubborn know-it-alls are not appreciated in the workplace. They often come across as arrogant, even if it's unintentional. Asking questions and being open-minded leads to innovative ideas. As Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, once said, "We run this business on questions, not answers."


We are all guilty of pride at some point, especially when we have put a lot of time and effort into something. 

However, if you do not allow yourself to be guided by trivial matters and learn to be humble, you will often come into contact with new ideas and expand your intellectual possibilities. Taking a step back from time to time, and maintaining an attitude of humility, puts you in a superior strategic position. It lets others around you know that you do not consider yourself untouchable.


Those who are compassionate and empathetic are often more approachable. Working on your emotional intelligence and being able to empathise with someone's situation will improve and develop relationships inside and outside work.

"I was once in a similar situation and it was very stressful. Let me help," is much more reassuring than, "that's annoying for you." Empathy ensures that the people around you are seen and heard, which promotes a positive working atmosphere.


The extent to which you can respond quickly and flexibly to changes or new challenges has a strong influence on your success. Whether it is a new job, a change in your responsibilities or a new manager: if you can adapt smoothly to the changing situation, you will continue to act efficiently and keep your focus on priorities.

Wherever you are on the career ladder, it is always a good idea to work on these personal qualities. Self-development sometimes opens up more possibilities and opportunities than what you have to offer technically, so make them part of your goals.

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Have a look at other tips and advice to advance your career. Looking for a new professional challenge? View our latest vacancies.

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