For many, a New Year’s resolution involves finding a different career path.
While searching for a job usually is not seen as exciting, new research finds that those who can look at the process as a self-growth opportunity will have more success finding their dream jobs.
Researchers from University of Missouri (MU) and Lehigh University found that job seekers with attitudes focused on “learning” from the job-seeking process experience the greatest success.
“Attitude means a lot,” said Daniel Turban, Ph.D., a professor of management at MU.
“In our study, we found that job seekers who have a ‘learning goal orientation’ or a natural disposition to learn from every situation in life, tend to be more successful in achieving their career goals. We also found that this disposition is not just influenced by genetics; it can be acquired.”
As published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Turban and Serge da Motta Veiga, Ph.D., of Lehigh focused on college seniors who were job hunting. The researchers surveyed approximately 120 individuals at different points during the job-seeking process.
People who had a strong learning goal orientation (LGO) reacted to failures by putting more intensity into the search process compared to job seekers who had a low LGO.
Additionally, when the process was going well, individuals with a high LGO maintained or slightly increased their intensity, while those who had a low LGO decreased their intensity.
“It’s not that people with a high LGO have less stress, but they deal with the stress better than others,” Turban said.
“With the right amount of stress, individuals with a high LGO increased their intensity, and as a result, were more successful with reaching their goals. We always think stress is bad, but that’s not the case.
“Feeling a moderate amount of stress can be very motivating.”
Searching for a job is a skill that can be developed as people with a low LGO can learn techniques or behaviors to help them improve their LGO so they handle stress and failures better.
“Job seekers can be trained to improve their LGO,” da Motta Veiga said.
“Such training could help them realize that the stress and failure they experience while searching for a job is not a bad thing, but instead represents an opportunity to learn from the process and determine how they can be successful at it.”
Turban and da Motta Veiga said that it’s best when job seekers spend time reflecting on how they are doing.
“The more intentional job seekers are about learning from the process, the more successful they are likely to be in their job searches,” Turban said.