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  • Writer's pictureSelena Martin

Having a Growth Mindset When Job Searching

Now, let’s be honest, being laid off from your job sucks. Handing out resumes and not getting any call-backs is discouraging. Competing against more qualified candidate is intimidating. Overall, all of the struggles related to securing a job can be overwhelming and generally unpleasant. Nevertheless, what I have noticed throughout the years of working with thousands of job seekers is that attitude during these times of peril DOES matter and can actually affect your success.

How can you maintain a positive attitude when you are feeling rejected? The reality is that there is no simple answer here. It can be hard to maintain an optimistic attitude when struggling to find work, however, without a doubt, the most successful people I have met are those who possess a growth mindset in job search as opposed to a closed mindset.

What is a growth mindset? Carol Dweck’s has been foundational in exploring the psychological traits of mindset for most of her career. Through her research and dedication it has been determined that success and achievement can be directly tied to a person’s mindset. People with a growth mindset believe they can be good at anything, because their abilities are entirely due to their own actions. This means that people who fall into this category are always looking to improve their performance, learn from their mistakes and grow.

What is fixed mindset? A fixed mindset is believing that you either are or aren’t good at something, based on your inherent nature, because it’s just who you are. Often people with this mindset believe that things are the way they are and that any efforts to improve will be in vain. People with a fixed mindset often blame others or situations for their failure and don’t see how they can improve. The below table nicely summarizes the difference of both mindsets (taken and adapted from )


  • You believe “She’s a natural public speaker” or “I’m just no good public speaking.”

  • You believe trouble or obstacles are devastating. If you believe, “You’re either naturally great or will never be great,” then when you have any trouble, your mind thinks, “See? You’ll never be great at this. Give up now.”

  • You want to hide your flaws so you’re not judged or labeled a failure.

  • You stick with what you know to keep up your confidence.

  • You look inside yourself to find your true passion and purpose, as if this is a hidden inherent thing.

  • You believe failures define you.

  • It’s all about the outcome. If you fail, you think all effort was wasted.


  • You believe “Anyone can be good at anything. Skill comes only from practice.”

  • You believe trouble or obstacles are just an important feedback in the learning process

  • Your flaws are just a TO-DO list of things to improve.

  • You keep up your confidence by always pushing into the unfamiliar, to make sure you’re always learning.

  • You commit to mastering valuable skills regardless of mood, knowing passion and purpose come from doing great work, which comes from expertise and experience.

  • You believe failures are temporary setbacks.

  • It’s all about the process, so the outcome hardly matters.

So, the moral of the story here is not to quit. A great way to get answers to these questions is to talk to people who are working in your industry and gather information on qualifications needed to penetrate the market. Review my previous article on Informational Interviews and Job Search to understand more about the benefits of this practice and how this could be the key to landing your next job.

How does this effect my job search? When it comes to job search you will inevitably deal with rejection, frustration and disappointment but all of these challenges can be learning opportunities. If you aren’t getting any call backs for positions-could it be that there is something wrong with your resume? Do you need to obtain additional certification? Could your application be improved? Did you do something wrong in the interview? These are all healthy questions to ask yourself and someone with a growth mindset would be determined to investigate this further to determine if there was a way to enhance your success.

'Keep your head up and keep on hustling until you land that job.'

Finding a job is most definitely a skill and there is always room to learn and improve. Connect with other professionals in your sector and let them guide you. Above all-don’t be afraid to make mistake as these are simply learning opportunities. You got this!!

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