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Four Key Qualities of a Successful Job Seeker

This post was written by our resident Career Coach Elissa Harris. To sign up for a free 30-minute career consultation with Elissa, please click here.

We have all been reading a lot about how the economy is affecting job availability, and although that is true, we also need to recognize that the key principles of job searching remain the same. You might just need to expend more energy on your job search and apply these principles in a more creative way. 

This post outlines mbaMission’s guidance on how to leverage four key qualities of a successful job seeker in any job market: 

Generosity (definition: the quality of being kind). In the context of a job search, generosity means giving back to others, building genuine relationships, and expressing sincere appreciation for help. Here are some ways of expressing generosity.

  • Take the call. When a graduate of your undergraduate or graduate institution reaches out for advice or guidance, respond to them. Offer feedback on the skills required to land a specific job, make introductions, and share the graduate’s resume with a hiring manager. 
  • End every networking call by voicing your appreciation. Ask a question like “Is there anything I can do to help you?” or extend an offer like “If you think anyone in your network would benefit from my areas of expertise, please feel free to make an introduction.” Write a thank you email after each call. 
  • Offer assistance on LinkedIn. Share open positions within your company (using the keywords “I’m hiring” or “We are hiring”).
  • Keep your network updated. Thank your contacts for their introductions and connections. Let them know what actions you took based on their advice. 

Resilience (definition: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties). In this economy, believing in yourself is more important than ever. You will likely get a lot of “no” answers before you get a “yes.” Show employers that you do not view hurdles as insurmountable; overcoming failures develops your adaptability, grit, and persistence. 

  • Learn from each interaction. Track feedback on what you can do better, and find ways to improve. Rejections do not mean you are not qualified or that you will not find another opportunity of interest.
  • Focus on your transferable skills and functional expertise, not just your industry knowledge. Consider a pivot that will help you secure a role in the short term but keeps you on your target career trajectory.
  • Demonstrate comfort with ambiguity. Hiring processes might be slow. Remember that even though landing a job is your number-one priority, your hiring manager could have more pressing priorities. 
  • Give yourself time to be frustrated when an opportunity of interest does not come to fruition, but do not spend too much time dwelling on it. Find opportunities for self-care; reenergize and celebrate mini-milestones. 

Curiosity (definition: a strong desire to know or learn something). Learning does not stop when you graduate from school.    

  • Develop and share your perspective on an industry of interest—including products, business models, innovations, and disruptions—and use it as a basis for networking conversations. Post about it on your LinkedIn newsfeed. 
  • Be a scholar of business. Consider how different industries and senior leaders are adjusting to the changing market.   
  • Take online courses to build skills or learn the latest on specific topics of interest. Learn by following target companies on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. 
  • Tap into your networks to ask for help. Brainstorm questions to ask in networking meetings that will solicit robust conversations and show the depth of your passion. Seek guidance from them on courses to take or websites to read.

Preparation (definition: the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration). The job market has more candidates now than in the recent past, so find ways to stand out.  

  • Set realistic expectations. Have a Plan A and a Plan B (and even a Plan C). Craft a larger than usual target company list (approximately 25 organizations). Double (or even triple) your efforts. Do not settle for one or two networking calls a week; aim to conduct three to five every week. 
  • Know your career narrative/your story; check out our blog post on this topic. Be clear with your value proposition, and focus on how you can help your target employer (not just what you have done in the past). Practice articulating your experiences. Find partners for mock interviews. 
  • Update your resume, and optimize your LinkedIn profile. Ensure that they align with your key messaging and include relevant keywords so you get additional visibility on the platform.  

For more career advice, download our free guides. Our MBA career guides were written in conjunction with industry insiders who provide intriguing perspectives on the fields.



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