Job search self-efficacy and career self-management

smiling person using laptop

When we’re confident in ourselves and our capabilities in the job search- we promote our success. While traditional wisdom might encourage us to focus on our weaknesses, we want to nudge you into taking a more empowering approach.

This week, we’re discussing how job search self-efficacy (JSSE) can help predict your future success and how our estimation and perception of our abilities can influence our job search outcomes. We’ll also provide a few practical tips for developing behaviours to help you achieve your job search goals.

Job search self-efficacy

JSSE refers to how confident we are in our job-seeking skills and ability to find a job. It reflects our beliefs about our capabilities but doesn’t always accurately represent our capacity. In his research on general self-efficacy, Albert Bandura found a positive relationship between belief in skills and abilities and actual performance. JSSE predicts that as your belief in your job search skills, abilities and knowledge increases, you’ll take on more behaviours that generate positive search outcomes (like more interviews or better job offers).


JSSE also predicts our commitment to our goals and the likelihood of achieving them in the long term. Our level of JSSE can indicate our future behaviours, thoughts and emotional responses to stressful situations. People confident in their job-seeking skills and abilities tend to be persistent- a trait necessary to navigate the complex and barrier-ridden job search.


Higher JSSE can also predict better well-being outcomes. Our community tells us that experiencing unemployment is often brutally discouraging. Research also highlights the significant negative impacts on our mental health. However, when you focus on building your JSSE, you’ll be in a better headspace to take on an interview, new role and future work.


man using a laptop at a desk


There’s a strong correlation between personality traits and JSSE. According to research, having a proactive personality and higher levels of conscientiousness can positively affect your JSSE. Extroversion and a positive outlook on life are also positive factors in JSSE measurements. Contrastingly, low scores for these traits can have adverse effects on self-efficacy. 

While our traits shift over time, they tend to be relatively stable. Regardless, you can temporarily boost or encourage the personality traits that promote JSSE. This can enhance productive behaviours and positively affect your job search outcomes. 

smiling woman

Being and feeling supported

round life buoy

Being and feeling supported is another predictor of strong JSSE. Support can be social, emotional, or job search-related. Anyone from your social network of friends, family and acquaintances can support you, widen your perspective and improve your self-image. By seeking out social support, you enhance your quality of life and are better prepared to navigate barriers in the job search.

Similarly, it can help to be part of a community. Surrounding yourself with people in similar stages of a career change or job search improves your job search outcomes and allows you to support others and improve their outcomes. You can find your community via job seeker threads online, volunteering, a club or the gym.

It’s not always easy to focus on executing your job search, even with emotional and social support, but it’s a good place to start.


For many of us, job search activities tend to take center stage, but sometimes we don’t have the skills required. This largely depends on when we experience joblessness. 

For example, new grads and young workers might be unfamiliar with skills related to writing a resume, creating a LinkedIn profile or researching a company, and have a need to develop them. Contrastingly, mid-career workers might find skills related to coping, resilience, and controlling negative emotions to be more beneficial.

Developing skills builds self-confidence in our job search, enhancing JSSE and creating opportunities for better outcomes.

resume paper on MacBook

Final thoughts

smiling woman using laptop

If you’re finding it difficult to stay motivated and engaged during your job search, having a higher level of JSSE can help you to be more successful. Raising your confidence in your abilities is a great way to begin maximizing your opportunities and taking control of your job search. 

The Buoyancy app includes weekly measures of JSSE to help you capture your baseline and ongoing levels of job search behaviours and confidence. It offers many JSSE boosting tools like ongoing support, personality-based interventions, tracking and insights to help raise your level of job search self-efficacy. These interventions can help you build resilience, improve your coping skills, be more proactive and confidently engage with your job search. 

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