Role of perceived events in university graduates' job search self-efficacy and success

Yanjun Guan, Xinyi Zhou, Yuyan Zheng, Shanshan Wen, Angelique Yue Fu, Nan Hu, Anguo Fu, Yue Yue Han, Zhimei Wang

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This study aims to enrich job search literature by examining the unique role of perceived job search events in predicting job search self-efficacy (JSSE) and two job search outcomes (i.e., perceived job search progress, the number of job offers) during the school-to-work transition. Two hundred and fourteen Chinese university graduates were asked to describe two representative job search events (one positive and one negative) and rate them on multiple dimensions (i.e., frequency, novelty, disruptiveness, criticality, and controllability). Content analysis reveals five categories of positive events (i.e., good preparation, social support, positive feedback, fair treatment, good luck) and five categories of negative events (i.e., inadequate preparation, fierce competition, negative feedback, unfair treatment, bad luck). Results from a two-wave study show that after individual differences in self-regulation strengths (i.e., proactive personality, approach-avoidance traits, core self-evaluation, career adaptability), baseline levels of JSSE and job search success are controlled (measured at Time 1), event content and dimensions account for 13% of the variance in JSSE at Time 2, which partially mediates the effects of criticality and novelty of positive events on perceived progress and number of job offers at Time 2. Additionally, negative events controllability and positive events frequency are directly related to perceived progress and number of offers, respectively, which JSSE cannot explain. This study advances the current understanding of the conceptualization and effects of job search events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103741
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Early online date22 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Job search events
  • Job search self-efficacy
  • Job search success


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