In my previous blog post, I mentioned that a growth mindset can be good for your job search, so preparing to develop a growth mindset can help you along the way. I promised you another blog specifically on growth mindset and job searching. This is that blog – I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath. But in all seriousness, I do believe that cultivating a growth mindset regarding your job search is the #1 predictor of fast success. 

What is a Growth Mindset?

According to Harvard Business School, “Someone with a growth mindset views intelligence, abilities, and talents as learnable and capable of improvement through effort. On the other hand, someone with a fixed mindset views those same traits as inherently stable and unchangeable over time.” 

In other words, people with growth mindsets believe that success is dependent on consistent work, the development of grit, improved abilities, strengthened networks, and bolstered skills. A person with a growth mindset sees a challenge as a puzzle to figure out or a problem to solve, something from which they will learn and grow. A person with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, sees a problem as a roadblock, a setback from which they might never recover. 

According to perhaps the most well-known student of Growth Mindset, Carol Dweck, “Challenging situations can be catastrophic for those with fixed mindsets because of the implication that if they don’t already have the skills or intelligence to complete a task, there’s no chance of improvement” (Harvard Business School).

In other words, when they are faced with problems, people with growth mindsets start hunting around for solutions. They are entrepreneurs, inventors, artists, musicians, and writers. (Keep in mind the most of the “greats” among these started with a single problem or challenge in mind.) Those with fixed mindsets, however, tend to identify as victims and begin to attract more and more negative circumstances because they view themselves as ill-equipped, or simply another victim of cruel life. 

How Do I Test Your Mindset Regarding Job Search?

Most of us don’t have a growth mindset all of the time. Similarly, few of us are 100% committed to the fixed mindset. There are many factors that come together to determine your mindset on a specific topic at any given moment. Your upbringing, access to resources, education, socioeconomic situation, religion or spiritual beliefs, previous performance, and closest circle of friends and colleagues all impact your mindset. It’s also entirely possible to have a growth mindset regarding one subject and a fixed mindset regarding another. I experienced this in my 20s. Professionally, I was accomplished and excited about a consistent stream of new projects designed to help others. Personally, however, I was a wreck, and I didn’t believe I had the tools necessary to pull myself out of a negative situation. When I began to change my mindset regarding my personal situation, my life changed. 

What about you? When you first read the description of growth mindset, did you think, “Hey, that’s me! I have a growth mindset! I’m a good problem-solver. I’m entrepreneurial. I love tapping into my creativity to solve problems.” If so, that’s great. But now, let’s think specifically about your job search. Do you believe that you could really have the career of your dreams if you connected with the right people, demonstrated your professional skills effectively, and aligned with the organization’s mission? Or, do you believe that work was meant to be hard, and you’re meant to slave away at your job while keeping your sights set on retirement? 

One of the best ways to test your mindset is to pay attention to the “gut reactions” you have when someone brings up your job search, or you sit down to think or work on it. If your gut reaction is negative, if you find yourself saying you could “never” have the results you want, or if you’re constantly trying to bring up or dwell on previous negative situations regarding job search, odds are your mindset isn’t quite as growth-oriented as you would like it to be. 

Another good mindset test is to do some free-writing or journaling about your career goals. Try to simply type or write without thinking too much about what goes on the paper – and certainly don’t go back and edit. Set a timer, write for a certain period of time, and then come back to your writing and review. What is the overall tone of your thoughts? This can tell you a great deal about your mindset. 

How Do I Change My Mindset Regarding My Job Search?

Testing your mindset – or finding out what you really think – is a lot easier than changing your mindset, but changing your mindset can happen. Here are a few methods that I used:

  1. Work with a coach or a mentor who has a positive mindset about careers/entrepreneurship. Positive reinforcements help. If your coach or mentor believes you can do it, that will eventually rub off on you. Plus, if your coach or mentor has a positive, growth mindset, they can teach you how to reframe your thoughts in a positive way. 
  2. Reframe your thoughts. So exactly what is that, anyway? Reframing simply means looking at your fixed mindset thoughts in a different way. For example, say you’re fired from your first job in the HR field. A person with a fixed mindset might think, “I guess I don’t have what it takes to succeed in the HR field.” However, you could reframe your thoughts to something like, “I didn’t have the skills necessary to succeed in that role. But now I can identify these skills and work on them so I can succeed in my next role. I know that not all jobs are the same, and there are many employers out there who will give me a second chance. If I were an employer, that’s what I would do. Better get to work.”
  3. Interview successful people. One of the best ways to convince yourself that it can be done is to interview people who have done it, so find people who have successfully transitioned careers, broken out of their industries, graduated with a Ph.D., or exceeded the “limit” of their profession. Then, go back to those stories when times seem though. 

Whether you have one, you’re developing one, or you’re just now thinking that there might be something to this growth mindset thing, developing a growth mindset can help you streamline your job search because your mind is working with you, not against you. If you would like to chat about how a growth mindset can help you succeed, I’d love to help! Feel free to book a free call.