The 13 factors for a successful career

The 13 factors for a successful career

What determines career success’ This question has occupied career research, career counseling, organisations and private persons for decades. With the help of a new questionnaire, Bern researchers from the department of work and organisational psychology have now identified the important resources for a successful career.

Both scientific and popular literature suggest numerous factors that are important for a successful career. To find out which of these are the right ones is difficult. Researchers from the department of work and organisational psychology of the University of Bern have now merged the international research of success factors, and identified four areas that are crucial for a successful career: knowledge and competences, motivation, the professional and personal environment as well as activities to develop one’s career.

Social support promotes the career

These four areas are each divided into 3 to 4 specific resources. "These 13 resources in total are necessary to achieve professional goals", says psychologist Andreas Hirschi. In the area of environment for example, this is the social support someone receives from other persons for career development. Social support makes it easier to deal with difficulties and challenges in career development - and people who have more social support are generally more satisfied with their work and career and show more success. In the area of motivation for example, the resource of clarity and self-determination of career goals is important. Persons that are clear about their professional goals generally show more dedication in their career and are more successful and satisfied in their professional development.

The career resources questionnaire

To clarify to what extent one person has these 13 career resources, the researchers developed a short questionnaire for self-assessment. In an elaborate multistage process, the questionnaire was validated using expert assessments and four surveys of more than 3,000 persons in total. It encompasses all 13 factors and can be completed in around 10 minutes. The conducted research with the career resources questionnaire, in various random samples of employed persons, shows, amongst other things, that all factors are positively linked to the salary and the promotions achieved in the previous career. In addition, persons with more resources also report greater work and career satisfaction. The study was published in the academic outlet "Journal of Career Assessment".

Also interesting for professional use

The questionnaire is freely accessible on the internet. Based on the answers in the questionnaire, people obtain a profile of their personal career resources which they can use to determine their personal situation. In addition to the questionnaire, a range of work materials, for example a work book to enhance the results of the questionnaire, and materials for experts are also available. "Alongside research, this tool is also suitable for professional use, in career counseling and human ressources development, and for personal self-reflection", says Hirschi.