The most successful job seekers display a common set of behaviours, according to a new survey.

The 2015 Successful Job Seekers research, conducted by the DeVry University’s Career Advisory Board, explores these behaviours and investigates the critical factors and personal traits job seekers feel contributed most to their success in finding employment.

Researchers surveyed 589 U.S. professionals of varying ages and in different roles and industries. Successful seekers were defined as both “passive job seekers” – those who were recruited and received offers without conducting searches – or “active job seekers” – those who accepted jobs less than six months after starting proactive searches. In other words, people who didn’t have much difficulty finding a job (though some might argue that six months is actually quite a while, we will allow it for the purposes of the results).

Here are the researchers’ key findings, according to a press release:

Successful seekers are selective and focus on specific targets.

More than one half applied to five or fewer positions and two thirds applied to 10 or fewer.

90% of active job seekers wanted to be at least 75 percent qualified before applying for a position.

Nearly one third of active job seekers were interviewed for more than half the positions to which they applied.

Customizing job applications was a critical success factor.

Nearly 70% reached out to a contact person to find out more about the position, and approximately the same number (67%) submitted resume containing keywords and skills listed in the job description.

A majority of respondents prepared for interviews by reviewing the company’s website or Googling the company, and nearly one half brainstormed concrete examples of how their skills matched the job description.

A majority followed up with timely thank you notes after an interview.

Interestingly, while career experts often stress that one should treat the job search like a full-time job, over 90% of respondents did not. Forty-five percent spent less than one hour a day and 47% spent one to three hours a day on search activities.

Also interesting is the finding that a majority of respondents did not find potential job opportunities through social media, and only 33% used LinkedIn “occasionally” or “frequently.”

“Successful job seekers used a mix of search techniques such as querying friends, family and business contacts about companies, and attending in-person networking events, conferences and industry gatherings.”

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