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Attitude check: How your outlook impacts your IT career

February 13, 2014

Is your attitude holding you back from IT career opportunities? Multiple studies have linked positive attitudes to health and longevity. An optimistic outlook is also helpful when you're applying for jobs and can be a factor in how quickly you advance. Here's why.

Poor attitudes interfere with IT job searches
Although the IT job market is well-stocked right now, the search and application process can still be challenging and sometimes discouraging. Even highly qualified candidates can be held back by the wrong attitude, cautioned The source warned that the following mindsets can be roadblocks as people search and apply for jobs:

  • Entitlement. You've got a great education and solid experience. You deserve a fantastic job, right? According to, assuming that you're entitled to a position can cause you to present yourself to recruiters in the wrong light. You need to show that you're a good fit for the job and have what it takes to excel—your background doesn't automatically grant access to your dream position. Similarly, the source said, avoid thinking that employers should just give you a chance. They're going to be investing in you as an employee, so they want confidence that you're going to be successful.
  • Uncertainty. Don't know what you want to do with the rest of your life? That's okay, but don't let it derail your job search. emphasized the importance of coming up with clear goals to direct your search. It's also crucial to present a driven, goal-oriented attitude to potential employers, the source added, because companies often view unfocused candidates as "high risk hires" who won't be fully invested in the position.
  • Discouragement. Seeking the right position can be frustrating. Throw in a few rejections and it's all too easy to feel despair. It's essential not to let these experiences make you feel defeated, said. Shake it off and adopt a positive mindset so you can continue to put yourself out there and confidently present your talents to recruiters.

Your mentality reveals key traits to employers
When you're writing your cover letter or showing up for an interview, remember that your attitude speaks volumes to employers about the type of worker you'll be. Companies are seeking IT professionals with hard and soft skills, and they're looking for signs that candidates will integrate well with their teams. According to Forbes magazine, employers should seek professionals who are action-oriented, ambitious and passionate. You can showcase these traits in the way you present yourself in your cover letter and by speaking about your goals during your interview. At the same time, it's important to be modest, the source added, because employers want candidates who will be great team members and fit their company culture.

Having a positive attitude can also help you handle tough interview questions, such as those about your mistakes or shortcomings. You should answer these questions candidly, demonstrating that you treat issues seriously while learning from them. Your ability to maintain a positive attitude even when frustrated or flustered can also show internal and external employees that you'll interact well with customers. 

Positive attitudes can propel IT careers
Leadership starts with self-confidence, Forbes magazine explained. Therefore, keeping up your confidence and seeking out new challenges to tackle can open up opportunities for promotion and project management. Forbes also noted that upbeat, optimistic employees usually perform better than those with a negative frame of mind.

According to Training Magazine, positive attitudes can help keep you healthier and more energetic.

"There's an interaction between personality and physiology," said Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Center on Aging, the source reported. "It makes sense that being more positive causes less stress and seems to get people on the right track to live better."

Psychology studies have shown that attitude is formed by your upbringing, individual experiences and how you reinforce your traits with your own mentality, the source added. To change your attitude, you need to believe you have control over it. If you're having trouble adjusting your outlook, the source recommended surrounding yourself with positive thinkers who will lift your spirits and from whom you can learn how to approach challenges with more optimism.

It's also helpful to have a good work-life balance, whether you're searching for IT career opportunities or already employed. Exercising can help reduce stress and improve your mood, The Huffington Post explained, as can helping others and focusing on gratitude. When faced with setbacks, think of them as challenges you'll overcome and opportunities for taking your skills to the next level. Keeping a positive outlook - even when you're frustrated - and tenaciously working for results can show employers that you have what it takes to make their team successful—and maybe be a leader, too.

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