Whistle While You Look For Work

Publication: Personnel Psychology (2013)
Article: Be happy, don't wait: The role of trait affect in job search
Authors: Daniel B. Turban, Felissa K. Lee, Serge P. da Motta Veiga, Dana L. Haggard, & Sharon Y. Wu
Reviewed by: Scott Charles Sitrin

Staying positive increases your chances of finding a job, according to a recent study in Personnel Psychology. Feelings of positive affect relate to job outcomes, such as the number of interviews and job offers. Specifically, positivity influence a job seeker’s motivation and procrastination behavior, which in turn influences job-search outcomes. So, with unemployment at nearly 8%, try to stay positive, and hopefully, good things will come your way.

245 graduating college students searching for a full-time job completed one survey in September and a second survey in December during the on-campus recruiting season. Over 50 % of the participants were women, and the average age was 22. For the surveys, the first assessed positive/negative affect, and the second assessed procrastination, motivation, and job-search outcomes.

Job seekers with a positive outlook are, unsurprisingly, more likely to persist and less likely to put off job searching. While a smile and a hopeful viewpoint are not a magic tonic, they do offer a better way to approach the quest for employment.

Do you have any tips for staying positive when you look for work?