Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the moderating role of regulatory focus in the job demands-resources model. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire survey was conducted among 146 teachers in secondary education. It was expected that detrimental effects of job demands (i.e. workload, interpersonal conflict) on emotional exhaustion would be more pronounced among individuals with a strong prevention focus (oriented towards safety and security). Favorable effects of job resources (i.e. autonomy, social support) on motivational outcomes were expected to be more pronounced among individuals with a strong promotion focus (oriented towards growth and development). Findings – The hypotheses regarding the moderating role of prevention focus were confirmed, but the moderating effect of promotion focus appeared to be exactly opposite to expectations. The effect of job resources on motivational outcomes was more pronounced for individuals with a weak promotion focus. Originality/value – To the best of one’s knowledge, this is the first study to examine the role of regulatory focus in the job demands-resources model. The study shows that regulatory focus is important in explaining individual responses to job demands and resources and may therefore be a relevant factor in career development.