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Growth mindset

Growth mindset is not so much a skill or aptitude, but rather an attitude or state of mind that we will call a growth mindset.

Growth mindset is a term coined by American psychologist Carol Dweck.

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

Carol Dweck

  • Broadening your career horizons
  • Key skills and competencies for career success

Broadening career horizons

Love of learning, dedication, hard work. Do these sound familiar? As a researcher it’s highly likely that you can relate to and have plenty of examples of how you can demonstrate all three of them.

In the context of broadening your career horizons, and considering options within and beyond academia you can take your love of learning and have the confidence and enthusiasm to apply that to a variety of contexts.

A growth mindset can help you in the face of a set-back as you know that failure is a part of learning. Failure is viewed not as an indication of personal limitation but part and parcel of ongoing growth. Prosper has engaged with over 100 employers in order to co-create the resources you are using now.

There’s no doubt that certain key competencies are in high demand, but the vast majority of our employer partners have also emphasised the importance of a willingness and ability to learn and an enthusiasm for the organisation’s work when they are seeking to recruit.

What organisations value most highly

Organisations may publish a person specification or have a list of desirable criteria in mind when they are looking to recruit, but in reality there is no such thing as an ideal candidate. Often, it is attitude, and the resilience and determination to keep trying after a setback that employers value most highly.

“While hard and soft skills are important… I have found that developing a mindset of growth and flexibility (commitment to continuous learning and the willingness to take on roles that may require moving beyond area of expertise) and innovation (which is not only about new ideas, but also new applications of existing ideas), are even more crucial.”

David Amienyo, Senior Sustainability Consultant, Sphera Solutions

“For people that are very enthusiastic and want to, and are willing to, learn and progress. I think the opportunities are there.”

Gabrielle Laing, Policy Adviser, SCI Foundation,

“Personality is a big part of it, to be enthusiastic about what it is we’re doing.”

Kate Whelan, COO, Notch Communications

“Someone personable, with good communication skills, that doesn’t mind getting stuck in and helping other people out, and does problem-solving and stuff like that, would be ideal.”

Isaac Pritchard, Mechanical Engineer, LettUs Grow

“Don’t hold yourself back –if you have passion, some experience and are willing to learn, that will come through in your application and interview stage.”

Lan Hoang, Research Staff Member, IBM Research UK

Suggested task

You can cultivate a growth mindset in a number of ways, and we have produced plenty of resources to help you in this endeavour.

Login or register to add these tasks to your personal development plan.

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