Priming Jobs as Skill Development Opportunities and Responses to Job Postings


  • David Drewery University of Waterloo
  • T. Judene Pretti University of Waterloo
  • Jamie Nettinga University of Waterloo



social influence, written reflections, humanities, social sciences, experiment


Many inexperienced job seekers adopt a focused job search strategy in which they disregard job postings that seem unrelated to their interests. Yet, many of the jobs that they disregard during their job search could have been relevant to such interests because they offer opportunities for skill development. Counterintuitively, an exploratory job search can help such job seekers find and pursue more relevant jobs. In an experiment (N = 122), we examined the effect of priming seemingly irrelevant jobs as skill development opportunities on inexperienced job seekers’ responses to job postings. Compared to those who did not receive the prime, those who received the prime reported higher perceived job relevance and, in turn, perceived job attractiveness for subsequently viewed job postings. The results suggest that career educators could use peer-to-peer learning, or public reflection, to encourage students to share insights with each other, reframe the meanings of job relevance, and pursue more relevant jobs.


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Computer desk with note pad. On note pad written Skill Developement



How to Cite

Drewery, D., Pretti, T. J., & Nettinga, J. (2022). Priming Jobs as Skill Development Opportunities and Responses to Job Postings. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 21(2), 4–16.