The occupation of looking for work: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of an individual job-seeking experience

Marna de Bruyn, Josh Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This qualitative study explored the meaning of job-seeking, as a human experience and occupation, as it is understood by an individual job-seeker within the United Kingdom. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to understand the meaning of job-seeking as a lived experience. A series of three, in-depth interviews were conducted with a single participant at various stages of the job-seeking experience. After individual and cross analyses of interview transcripts, three master themes were developed that demonstrated how the job-seeking experience was understood. These were: (1) understanding the self and identity, (2) understanding relationships, (3) understanding job-seeking as a journey. These results are discussed in the context of previous studies of job-seeking and occupational perspectives that focus on meaning in human occupation. The study concludes that job-seeking is a rich human occupation in which its form, function and meaning are influenced by internal and external sources of resilience related to the person, their occupations and environment. Future research could build on these insights by considering the efficacy of these internal and external supports and how job-seeking varies across different cultural and social contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-376
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2017


Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Occupational Science on 21/06/2017, available online:


  • Job-seeking
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • lived experience
  • resilience
  • self-identity

Cite this