Searching for a new job is tough for the vast majority of people. There’s no way around it. You get your resume polished up, apply for countless positions, and sometimes you don’t hear back. Not one peep. When the little devil on your shoulder starts piping up that you’re not enough, or that you’ll never find something, do you listen? Or do you make a point to learn, adapt, and fight back? The answer to that question reveals a tremendous amount about your resilience.
Our level of resilience determines whether we can jump over hurdles, or whether we let unexpected barriers drag us down. It’s our capacity to recover quickly from setbacks. Rather than dwelling on our struggles, we can harness our inner strength and view each obstacle as an opportunity to be seized. Each setback is an incredibly rich learning experience, no matter the outcome. When you employ your ability to recover quickly from difficulties, you can handle the stress of the job hunt more effectively.
Job hunting, like baking, is an art form and a science. Whether you’re looking to advance, to break into a new field or re-enter the workforce, you are going to have to evolve to get there, and that’s great news! Because if what you’re doing doesn’t work, you can pivot and try to approach the situation from a different angle. This process involves patience, acting as a keen observer, and making adjustments based on your findings. When you treat your career search like an iterative process, viewing your results in a nonjudgmental, analytical way, you take failure off the table as you’ll only continue to evolve and grow. As you’re doing this, you’re adapting, you’re changing, and you’re going to make it happen.
Having resilience won’t make things perfect; life will still be complicated at times, and you’ll be faced with difficult decisions or circumstances. However, when you practice resilience, you’ll be able to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going.
Can we improve our resilience? Yes! Here’s how:
- Connect: communicating, connecting, and interacting with your network is a massive part of enhancing your resilience. Academic research has proposed that someone’s resilience may start outside the individual and that family, community, and culture play a role in the process. Take the time to consider who you surround yourself with. You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you. Reach out to your family and friends and share what you’re going through. To your surprise, you may find that someone you know has gone through a similar process or circumstances and can provide excellent guidance and tips.
- Sense of purpose: what activities give you a feeling of accomplishment? What excites you about the future? Goal setting can be a great way to help you think about the future and give your daily tasks more meaning.
- Learn as you go: as Dr. Seuss once said, “today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Our past experiences brought us to who and where we are today. Difficult experiences help form our character and develop some of our most wonderful qualities. We cannot control the past, but we can transform it by accepting it, learning from it and having the will and the courage to move forward.
- Keep your eye on the prize: some job seekers hold onto negative emotions about the feedback they receive or lack thereof throughout the search. Address these feelings and give yourself permission to shed any insecurities that get in the way of feeling confident about your prospects.
- Self-care: taking care of yourself first is essential. It is the stepping stone to optimal health and to delivering your best work. When your life is in balance, it is easier to breathe, and it’s easier to perform. Sometimes we have to slow down to speed up.
- Take action: rather than turning a blind eye to what scares you or makes you feel defeated, create an action plan for how you can move forward. Strategize with a friend or a coach and outline what avenues you can take to reach the finish line. Break your tasks or goals into small pieces. Check things off your list one at a time so you can see your progress.
Developing resilience doesn’t happen overnight. Over time, and with some practice, you’ll be able to face the realities of the job hunt with courage, improvise workable solutions, and find meaning in adversity instead of blaming yourself or others. If you need help getting started, seek the guidance of a trusted friend, family member, or a coach to help you through the process.
When you prioritize your health and manage your time efficiently, you will move through your daily actions with more confidence as you move closer and closer to your goal. You’ll find that consistently applying a few of these small practices will reap great rewards.