Habits of successful job seekers

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After working in employment services for a few years and seeing hundreds of job searches up close, you start to notice patterns. Effective jobseekers often share a common set of traits and habits. Fortunately, anyone can develop them. Here are five habits of successful jobseekers:

1. They are open-minded.

A successful jobseeker is someone who is open to new possibilities and exploration as part of their search. The benefits of openness can extend to all areas of job search. Effective jobseekers evaluate potential employers not just on salary, but for work culture and opportunities for growth.

They take opportunities to network, not just for immediate job prospects, but for the purpose of connecting and learning something new.

Being open, positive and inquisitive in your search can help you find paths you haven’t yet considered or uncover opportunities in the elusive hidden job market.

If a suggested job search strategy makes you uncomfortable (networking, anyone?), try not to reject it immediately. Give it a try in a low-pressure situation. For example, if the idea of doing informational interviews makes you break into a cold sweat, start with a networking coffee date with a friend or former colleague and see how it feels.

Speaking of which...

2. They accept that networking is part of the deal.

Networking is an important part of any job search. And yet, it is still very common to spend several months of conducting exclusively online job search, competing with hundreds of applicants per posting, before turning to networking out of frustration.

Effective jobseekers accept and even pursue networking early in the process, and complement their online job search with building in-person connections.

3. They are confident.

Confidence can be very difficult to maintain during a job search when you are weathering rejection often. But taking time to develop or rebuild confidence is important: successful jobseekers feel confident that what they have to potential employers is truly valuable.


  • Forming a network of fellow jobseekers to reduce isolation and remind yourself that other skilled people are struggling with the same issues that you are.
  • Volunteering your time to add structure to your schedule and bring back your sense of your productive, professional self.
  • Acknowledge your past successes by developing accomplishment statements for your resumé and behavioral interview questions.

4. They ask for help.

Looking for work is hard to do alone. Remember that no matter how fabulous you were in your last job, it’s normal to struggle as you flex your skills for interviewing, cover letter writing and networking.

Successful jobseekers don’t hesitate to reach out to family, friends, former colleagues and employment professionals for support.

This article originally appeared on the YWCA Metro Vancouver's blog and is reprinted with permission.

Amy Phipps is a WorkBC Case Manager at the North Shore Employment Services Centre. If you’re seeking services and support in your job search, visit one of our centres to get started. The YWCA of Metro Vancouver's FREE employment and career services for male and female jobseekers ages 16 to 65+ years include specialized workshops and support for immigrants, youth, Aboriginal peoples, personnes francophones, persons with disabilities, survivors of violence and abuse, older workers and women returning to work after an absence.

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