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The Five Best Job Characteristics

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Although careers in all different fields call for their own sets of specialized skills and personality traits, many of the key characteristics that lead to job success are applicable across the board. Working diligently is crucial, whether you pursue a job as a lawyer, astronaut or sous chef.


Reliability is a must-have in the job world. You can have excellent skills and smarts, but if you don't show up for work every day, those things mean absolutely nothing. Reliability goes far beyond timeliness in showing up, too. If you tell your supervisor that you're going to finish a big project by a certain date, you have to mean it -- and put your all into it. Reliability indicates a respect for others.


No one wants to hire an employee who's simply there to get a paycheck, with zero interest in his line of work. Recruiting managers and upper management want workers genuinely enthusiastic about their jobs, with a deep curiosity that goes far beyond thoughts of clocking out and going home. If you have a true zeal for your career and are enthusiastic about succeeding and improving, employers will consider you a valuable -- and probably irreplaceable -- member of their team. Goal-oriented employees interested in achievements help motivate everyone else at work, too.

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Most people like optimistic individuals -- in careers and in other aspects of life. Few people like listening to a downer constantly trying to put a damper on everything. If you possess a can-do spirit and believe that the sky's the limit, you'll help others see the potential in their endeavors. A cheery outlook can do wonders in the workplace, especially in times of high stress and anxiety -- think looming deadlines and major changes in management.


Honesty's an imperative component in career success, whether you're in a leadership position or just starting out in your field. If your co-workers don't think they can trust you, you can't ever become a real part of their team. If you're a person of decency, others will feel safe and comfortable working alongside you -- and in giving you important responsibilities.


Being composed and poised is a vital element to career success. Occasional panic-inducing situations are inevitable on the job, no matter how painstaking and careful you are. If a member of your team misplaced an important file that you need for a big meeting, don't scream and storm out of the office -- that helps nothing and only hurts employee morale. Be a calm, cool and collected person who gathers his thoughts, rationally thinks about how to proceed and ultimately fixes the mess.

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