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How Can A Job Seeker Develop Resilience?
What is resilience?
Resilience is a person’s ability to cope with the trials and stressors that life throws their way. The most resilient people are able to adapt quickly to change and recover thoroughly from setbacks. Resilience is usually associated with crisis, but what many don’t realize is that it is an essential attribute in being successful in the workplace. We need resilience in our day-to-day to respond to obstacles, and we need it in the long-term to recover from them and stay motivated.

Why is resilience important to a job search?

The most successful job seekers are the ones who stay motivated, react to rejection productively, and maintain their sense of self-worth. Resilience enables all of these things through the regulation of emotions, and a ‘solution-oriented’ approach to moving forward. Though people have varying degrees of resilience, the job seekers that bounce back after a setback deal with the unpleasantness of the job search process with more ease. Their effort may be the same, but their attitude is more positive and their outcomes are likely to be better. The good news is that the job search process is actually an excellent opportunity to build and develop resilience.

Here are 10 ways to develop resilience during a job search:

1. Own your feelings: Instead of suppressing your feelings, be aware of them. When you feel negative feelings like anger and disappointment, remind yourself that you will not feel this way for long.

2. Teach yourself optimism: Use your past experiences to look back on some of your harder times. Realize that you made it through once before, and you’ll make it through again.

3. Be open to constructive criticism: An outside-in perspective is helpful as you learn to regulate your emotions, because another person will be able to offer advice without their own emotions clouding judgment.

4. Manage your expectations: Job hunting usually takes longer than one thinks. Most likely, there will be bumps in the road along the way. Be realistic, but always hope for the best.

5. Know what you can and cannot control: We do not have control over everything. Building resilience requires responding to what you can control.

6. Build your support system: Be around people who can support your job search and help keep your spirits up. You can be directed by a professional career advisor, or you can join a job search accountability group composed of other serious job seekers who will help keep you on task.

7. Engage in positive self-talk: Be self-affirming by treating yourself with kindness and respect. Praise yourself for sticking to your job search. Maintain your sense of self-worth by focusing on your strengths when you’re feeling vulnerable.

8. Be adaptive: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. When your job search is stalled, look for other angles. Ask others what you can do differently to bring about better outcomes.

9. Take care of yourself: Self care is key. Eat and sleep well, take care of your health and stay active. Enjoy the company of your family and friends.Take breaks from your job search when you need to achieve balance.

10. Maintain a sense of humor: Try not to take life so seriously. Job hunting has many comedic moments. And, there are many opportunities for camaraderie. Rather than deny your mistakes, allow yourself to laugh at them.

When you feel like you're spiraling down, keep referring back to the list of ways to develop resilience throughout your job search. The Career Resource Center staff, volunteers, and members can empower you in your job search and support you in building resilience along the way.

-Gail Spiel, MSW, Social Worker, CRC Accountability Group Facilitator
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