Home » News » Motivation Key to Successful Job Search

Motivation Key to Successful Job Search

Motivation Key to Successful Job SearchA new study reveals just how important staying motivated is for the unemployed looking for a new job. Just as important, according to the researchers, is managing negative thoughts.

The research shows that having a more positive, motivational outlook had a beneficial effect on looking for a job, especially at the outset of the search.

However, more important was the person’s ability to stay energized and keep negative emotions under control over time, according to Dr. Ruth Kanfer, a psychology professor at Georgia Tech. Kanfer co-authored the study, which appears in the current issue of The Academy of Management Journal.

The findings also indicate that effective self-management during a job search becomes more difficult over time.

“Searching for a job isn’t like learning a skill, where maintaining a positive attitude may be easier as you see improvement with effort,” she said.

“Beyond landing a job, you get almost no feedback on how you are doing or what you might do differently to improve your chance of finding a job. You submit resumes, make calls and get no feedback on your progress until you get a job.”

She adds that to successfully sustain motivation over time, people need to become increasingly proactive. For example, job seekers should seek increased social support and develop daily routines that provide positive feedback and support positive attitudes toward the search, she advises.

The study conducted weekly assessments on self-management, job search and mental health among 177 unemployed people seeking re-employment over the course of 20 weeks. Participants spent an average of 17 hours a week looking for a job at the beginning of the study and reported a gradual improvement in mental health.

By the fourth month, however, time spent on looking for a job had dropped to 14 hours a week and mental health started to show a slight decline.

Ultimately, 72 percent of job seekers found employment by 20 weeks, the researcher reports.

Source: Georgia Tech

People job searching photo by shutterstock.

Motivation Key to Successful Job Search

Janice Wood

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.

APA Reference
Wood, J. (2018). Motivation Key to Successful Job Search. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.