"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," Daniel Turban, one of the study's authors and a University of Missouri professor of management, said in a statement.
Researchers surveyed approximately 120 college seniors at different points during the job search process. They discovered that job seekers who had a strong desire to learn from the situation put more intensity in the search process, compared with those who weren't as focused on learning. [10 Job Search Websites You Don't Know About ]
Additionally, when the process was going well, those with a high focus on learning were able to maintain or increase their intensity, while those who didn't have the same attitude decreased their drive.
The study's authors attribute part of the results to their belief that individuals who try to learn as much as they can from each situation they're in deal with stress better than those who don't.
"With the right amount of stress, individuals with a high [learning goal orientation] increased their intensity, and as a result, were more successful with reaching their goals," Turban said. "We always think stress is bad, but that's not the case. Feeling a moderate amount of stress can be very motivating."
The good news is that individuals who aren't naturally focused on learning from their situations can learn techniques or behaviors to help them improve their attitude so they handle stress and failures better.
"Job seekers can be trained to improve their [learning attitude]," said Serge da Motta Veiga, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at Lehigh University. "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."
Based on their research, the study's authors believe it's best when job seekers spend time reflecting on how they are doing, and that the more intentional job seekers are about learning from the process, the more successful they're likely to be in finding a job they really want.
The study was recently published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.