6 Factors Of Career Success

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

What is Career Success? Is it moving up the corporate ladder and accepting a position as Director of Marketing? Is it becoming an entrepreneur and creating your own successful company? Or maybe it’s a passion-based career that brings out your inner passion.

The biggest obstacle to career success is figuring out what it means and creating a plan to overcome what stands in your way. Whether you’re starting your first job or you’ve been stuck in the same role for years, it can be hard to know what’s necessary for career success.

My last position taught me a lot about workplace norms and expectations, and I’ve seen many people gain promotions through their hard work and skills. So here goes the top factors for your career success.

Basic Skills

Have you ever wondered why there are so few successful people with degrees in basket-weaving? It’s because there is no such thing as a degree in basket-weaving.

The point being, no matter how qualified you may be for a particular job, your chances of success are greatly diminished without the proper skills. And what are the proper skills? Well, that depends on the job.

There is an old saying that you can’t teach talent, but you can give it “a good haircut.” What that means is that much of our success hinges not just on whether we possess innate aptitude in a given area, but whether we’ve cultivated those abilities and honed them over time through practice and effort.

Reading, writing and arithmetic! Believe it or not, a good portion of high school graduates (and some college grads) do not read at an 8th grade level and cannot do multiplication in their head. Employers are seeking employees who can read well, can write coherently, and who can calculate mathematics in a business environment (fractions, percentages, etc.) Add to that the modern basic skills of typing, basic computer knowledge, and ability to use most computerized tools to round out the basic skill sets needed for employment success.

Professional Development

As all high tech and engineering pros know‚ it’s learn or burn in today’s work environment. Attaining new skills, applying new concepts, updating established skills is an absolute necessity to succeed in today’s work force.

The successful individual is constantly attending seminars, taking classes, attaining training on new products or releases, and otherwise learning new skills that will keep them marketable in their careers. Successful people are lifelong learners. Employers are looking for people who have the training necessary to fulfill their needs.

Personal Skills

In order to achieve career success, one must develop certain personal skills. The first step towards career success is self-awareness. This refers to the ability to understand your strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to develop a clear understanding of what you’re good at and where you can improve. Once you have clarity about your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to set goals that are realistic and achievable.

To further enhance your career success, it’s also important to learn how to problem solve. If there is a problem in your work environment, try approaching it proactively by taking small steps towards solving it.

Another key skill that will help you tremendously in achieving career success is communication skills. Effective communication with employers (and other people) can greatly impact the way they perceive you. It’s important not only to listen but also to speak clearly as this will help you build trust with others.

Job Attainment

Job search is a process that requires a great deal of dedication and attention to be conducted successfully. It follows the old principal that many veteran programmers refer to as GIGO ‚ Garbage In, Garbage Out. If you put lousy effort in, you will receive lousy results.

Employers are seeking employees who know how to present themselves in a positive manner and who display enthusiasm and knowledge about the companies they approach. Not only do candidates get evaluated on their skills and experience, but also on how they are approaching the job search. Enthusiastic candidates with fewer skills have an even chance of getting the job as dull candidates with better skills.

Career Development

Career Development differs from Professional Development. Professional Development is learning while Career Development is a planning and goal setting process. Successful individuals design a career plan with written goals for short term and long term. They lay out the steps needed to move their careers from Point A to Point B within Time Frame C and plan how they are going to achieve those steps.

Successful people have someone to whom they are accountable for their progress and who will monitor their success in achieving their goals. Employers are seeking individuals who (believe it or not) wish to commit to the company for a long period of time. Good career progression is a high selling point of candidates to prospective employers.

Job Survival

There are a lot of factors that contribute to success in the workplace, but one of the most important is knowing how to make a good impression. It is all about making yourself appear more valuable to your company and, in turn, making your company appear more valuable to you.

Now there’s a hot topic in this period of layoffs. Who gets the ax and who doesn’t is often a matter of numbers, but it is also often a matter of performance. Employees who have consistently demonstrated their worth, taken initiative, and made themselves a valuable asset to the company have lower incidences of being downsized than employees who put forth mediocre or average effort in their jobs.

Surviving within a company through layoffs or moving up the career ladder is a success skill that is learned and is consciously cultivated among successful professionals.


In today’s fast-changing world, your career success will be determined by your willingness to take advantage of the rapidly evolving opportunities that are available. No matter what position you’re in now, there is always room for improvement.

We hope that this list brings some clarity to your career development strategies, and if you have any other suggestions feel free to share them with us in the comments section.