Why Developing a Growth Mindset Might Get You That New Accounting Role

27 June 2023 Steve Merritt

man looking at career growth mindset

​When most accounting candidates start looking for a new role, they focus on completing several important tasks, from refining their LinkedIn profile to updating their resume. However, many professionals overlook one of the most important steps to set themselves up for success in any job hunt: cultivating the right mindset.

Your mindset drives not only your behaviours but also how you think about and respond to the process of finding a new job. After all, finding the ideal role can be an arduous process. Some studies suggest it can take up to 5 months to find a new position.

During this process, it's easy to become disillusioned and lose motivation, but a growth mindset can keep you focused and on track when other candidates lose faith. Today, we'll look at how a "growth mindset", which focuses on constant development and transformation, can improve your chances of getting the right accounting role.

The Role of Mindset in Job Searching

No matter how much experience you have in the accounting industry or how much time you've devoted to developing your skills, finding the right job can often take time and effort.

Negative thoughts are natural when faced with rejections, interviewers who ignore your applications, and various other challenges. However, overcoming these negative thoughts can be important in improving your chances of success.

A negative mindset means you're more likely to give up on your job search or stop exerting as much effort into your applications simply because you don't believe you'll be successful.

Sometimes, your negative thoughts can even influence the results of interviews you are invited to by impacting your body language, tone of voice, and how you present yourself to others.

Alternatively, positive thinking can significantly strengthen your position in the job market. It can help you appear more confident when connecting with hiring managers and push you to take extra steps to impress the accounting employers you want to work for.

With a growth mindset, you can adjust how you respond to failures and challenges in your job search and ensure you're constantly growing, developing, and becoming more effective at connecting with hiring managers.

What is a Growth Mindset?

Your mindset is one of the most important tools in your quest for the ideal accounting role. It's essentially your established attitudes and beliefs about your life and yourself. Your mindset can influence your success, directing how you cope with, and overcome the numerous challenges you may face.

The "growth mindset" concept, introduced by Carol Dweck, a Stanford Psychologist, has captured the attention of numerous researchers and professionals over the years.

Dweck theorised that people generally have one of two different types of mindset: a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe they have the talent and skills to accomplish a goal or don't. They allow what they perceive as "fate" to control their lives.

On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe skills, intelligence, and success are things people can cultivate and develop with hard work and effort. Those with a growth mindset commit to lifelong learning and improvement, believing every failure is an opportunity to learn, develop, and improve.

Adopting a growth mindset as part of your job search means instead of resisting challenges, you thrive on it. You learn to view situations more positively, making you less likely to be derailed by rejections or missed accounting opportunities. You also present yourself as a constantly growing and evolving person, making you more appealing to employers.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Developing a growth mindset can take time if you generally have a fixed mindset. Mostly, it involves identifying your thought processes and restructuring how you approach certain issues, challenges, and ideas. The first step is recognising and challenging the limiting beliefs you already hold about yourself, your abilities, and your job search strategy.

For instance, if you believe that you're not "good enough" for a specific role or don't have the right skills to thrive in a particular position, there's a good chance you'll convey this disbelief to hiring managers and interviewers.

Accepting your flaws and recognising your strengths ensures you can highlight your most valuable attributes to employers.

To hone your growth mindset, you'll also need to focus on the following:

  • Rethinking your response to failure: Failure is common in the accounting landscape for employees searching for the perfect role. You won't get a job offer whenever you send a resume or application. However, if you look at each failure as an opportunity to learn, adapt your strategy, and improve your approach, you'll be more likely to set yourself up for success the next time you seek a new role.

  • Setting realistic goals: Embracing a growth mindset doesn't mean cultivating the idea that you can accomplish anything. Instead, it involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses to determine areas where you need to grow. This also means setting realistic goals based on the limitations you have as an employee. Think about what you can realistically achieve right now and how you can take steps to improve your chances of success in the future, such as undergoing additional training or earning new certifications.

  • Practising self-compassion: People with a growth mindset are accepting of themselves. They believe they have the potential to accomplish great things, but they don't ignore their weaknesses. Instead, they understand that they have strengths and limitations like all people. Practising self-compassion can be a helpful strategy for developing a growth mindset. For instance, instead of saying, "I can't do this", consider saying, "I can't do this yet, and that's okay, but if I…."

Applying a Growth Mindset to the Job Search Process

A growth mindset can positively influence the job search process in several ways. First, it helps you to overcome challenges like failing to get a job offer and learn from the mistakes you make in interviews. Secondly, a growth mindset allows you to develop mental resilience and grit. It ensures you can continue to move forward, even when you're not achieving your goals instantly.

Applying your growth mindset to the job search process can be as simple as challenging negative thoughts and adjusting how you respond to issues. For instance:

  • Consider how you approach setbacks: How do you deal with setbacks, such as an employer rejecting your application or an interviewer refusing to get back in touch? With a growth mindset, you'll look for opportunities to learn from failure and discover what you can do better the next time. This can give you strength and guidance when continuing your job search and even help you avoid crucial mistakes.

  • Practice positive thinking: Although you're never guaranteed to get a job offer when you head into an interview or send out an application, consigning yourself to defeat straight away can have a negative impact on your chances of success. Embracing a positive thought process, where you tell yourself you "can" accomplish something, helps you to showcase a more confident, endearing personality to interviewers and hiring managers.

  • Commit to lifelong learning: Searching for a role in the accounting industry can be an excellent learning opportunity. It's a chance to discover what employers in your industry are looking for, what interview strategies work best, and how you should present yourself in your cover letter and resume. Use this mindset to look at every challenge you face in your job search as an opportunity for growth.

  • Celebrate your achievements: When interviewing with an accounting hiring manager or adapting your resume for a job application, don't be afraid to showcase your achievements. Highlight the challenges you've faced that might be relevant to the company, and draw attention to how you overcame these obstacles in the past. This will show potential employers that you're a problem solver, capable of dealing with complex situations.

  • Admit to your failures: When a hiring manager asks about your weaknesses, don't try to sweep them under the carpet! Show off your growth mindset by admitting your failures and sharing what you've learned. This will help you to present a more honest and authentic personality to hiring managers and show your commitment to success.

Start Nurturing Your Growth Mindset

A great resume and cover letter, a strong LinkedIn profile, and a careful approach to the interview process can all help to boost your chances of earning the right accounting role. However, you won't achieve much if you go into the job search with the wrong mindset.

Adopting a growth mindset, which allows you to learn from your failures, celebrate your successes, and stay resilient in the face of challenges, can help you to outshine competing candidates.

If you want help to cultivate your growth mindset and improve your chances of getting the right role, working with an accounting recruitment company could be a valuable next step. Your recruiter will help to prepare you for interviews and give you the guidance you need to maintain positive thought processes as you search for the right position.

Hedley Scott Recruitment offer complimentary and confidential career conversations. Contact one of our team here.