Considering a Job Search Class? Here's What to Look For Credit: Job Search image via Shutterstock

If you want to boost your chances of landing a job, take a class, new research suggests.

Picking the right job-search training program could give job seekers a winning edge when looking for work, according to a new study set for publication in the Psychological Bulletin journal.

The research discovered that the likelihood of employment increased among job seekers only when the job search training programs that they went through combined both skill development and motivation enhancement. Specifically, the most effective classes teach students how to set goals, be proactive, boost self-confidence and even get their whole families involved.

As part of the study, researchers analyzed data from 9,575 job seekers who participated in one of 47 previous studies of job search training programs. Each of the programs was designed to help job seekers look for employment or secure employment more quickly.

While researchers found that job seekers who participated in these classes were 2.67 times more likely to gain employment than those who did not take the courses, the odds increased even more if the training included critical elements. Specifically, classes worked best when they encouraged proactivity, promoted goal setting, enlisted social support and boosted self-efficacy.

The study's authors found that younger, middle-aged and older job seekers all benefited from participating in job search programs, compared with those who didn't participate. But the impact on middle-aged job seekers was minimal compared to those under the age of 35 or older than 50.

Mo Wang, one of the study's authors and an associate professor and director of the Human Resource Research Center at the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business Administration, said he hopes the study will influence those who administer job search training programs to blend skill development learning with motivation enhancement learning. For example, because enlisting social support is proven to be an effective tool in acquiring employment, the researchers suggest involving a job seeker's entire family in the intervention, to create a motivating and supportive job search environment.

"Now that we know what the critical ingredients are for successful job interventions, practitioners should design their job search training programs to maximize job seekers' exposure to those components," Wang said. "Career counselors could become more effective if they combine both skill development-focused and motivation enhancement-focused techniques in their day-to-day practices."

The study was co-authored by Songqi Liu of The Pennsylvania State University and Jason L. Huang of Wayne State University.

Originally published on Business News Daily