The results from a new study might be filed under “easier said than done” for those on the job hunt: Attitude matters.
Researchers from University of Missouri and Lehigh University studied the habits of 120 college seniors while they looked for jobs. The ones who approached the process as a learning opportunity—called “Learning Goal Orientation” (LGO) in the report—were more likely to find success in their careers. And, luckily for those not predisposed toward the sunny side, becoming learning-oriented is a skill you can… well, learn.
The LGO people were more likely to shrug off setbacks in the process as opportunities to learn how to step up their game, while non-LGOs got discouraged and flagged. When their hunts were unsuccessful, the learners increased their intensity and used the failure as motivation to push forward.
“We always think stress is bad, but that’s not the case. Feeling a moderate amount of stress can be very motivating,” Daniel Turban, professor and researcher for the study, .
The researchers suggest spending time reflecting on the process: Instead of pushing past failures and successes on to the next gig, get to the bottom of what works and what doesn’t. “Such training could help them realize that the stress and failure they experience while searching for a job is not a bad thing,” said lead author Serge da Motta Veiga, “but instead represents an opportunity to learn from the process and determine how they can be successful at it.”
For those with the right attitude, stressful situations like interviews and application deadlines inspire them to work harder—a burst of energy that puts them ahead of the rest.