Working for a spa or massage franchise is a viable career choice for many massage therapists, whether they maintain a private practice as well.

If a massage therapist decides to become one of the employed, how can he or she best land a job?

In a new study, researchers at the University of Missouri focus on what job seekers need to get ahead of the competition. They found that certain planning activities and positive emotions have a large impact on success in finding a job.

“We found it most interesting that metacognitive activities—thinking about a plan, acting on a plan and reflecting upon that a plan—were important early in the job search while having positive emotions were important later in the job search,” said Daniel Turban, professor and chair of the university’s School of Business, Department of Management.

The study found that metacognitive activities, including goal setting and plan development, affect resume submission and success in first interviews, while the ability to maintain positive emotions plays a larger role during second interviews and receiving a final job offer. The researchers also examined how the personality traits of extraversion and conscientiousness affect metacognitive activities and positive emotions.

Extraversion, how energetic and outgoing a person is, influenced both metacognitive activities and positive emotions. Conscientiousness, a person’s self discipline and dependability, affected metacognitive activities and directly influenced the number of final job offers received.

Based on the study findings, Turban suggests job seekers make a plan and continuously assess their progress. It also is important to expect rejections and develop a coping strategy ahead of time. This should help maintain positive emotions throughout the process to improve those chances of getting a job, Turban said.

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