This article considers ways to build your resilience to positively handle the potential stress and challenges experienced when searching for jobs in a competitive market place. With high numbers of applicants for many vacancies resulting in protracted job search for many at the current time, we will share insights and tips to help you to remain focused, in control and confident in your job search. The article also highlights the value of getting support through your personal and professional networks.
Focus and Control
If you have applied for numerous jobs without success, there is every chance you might start to lose focus and feel out of control with your situation. And whilst there is value in widening your job search and thinking creatively about where you may find success, it’s important to also stay focused.
One way to maintain focus is to know your strengths, skills and motivations and to develop a job search strategy aligned to these areas. This will help you to write an impactful CV, stand out in the short listing, perform well at interview and network effectively.
Take steps to reflect on what is in your control and develop a strategy to shape what happens. For example, you can control the type and number of jobs you apply for, you can make the time to write a tailored, impactful CV and you can invest in preparation for an interview.
In the face of rejection letters or lack of success at interview, focus on what you can learn from the situation, build on the positives and plan the next steps.
- What can you do differently to increase your chances of being shortlisted for interview?
- What improvements can you make to your CV?
- How can you prepare more effectively for an interview?
Goals and Commitment
Choose goals which you can commit to and are motivated by, this will help you to stick to the task in the face of setbacks. Think about what motivates you and what you want from a job. The more resourceful and determined you can be in your job search the easier you will find it to sustain the high levels of effort that is required in a tough market.
If you face a setback give yourself time to refocus and to recharge your energy levels. Ask others for help to provide the extra support you need to stay on track. Think optimistically, focussing on your strengths and the opportunities, rather than dwelling too much on obstacles and areas of weakness.
- What motivates you in your job search?
- Which jobs are you motivated to apply for?
- How can you break down job search tasks to make them more manageable?
- How can you ensure you stick to your goals?
Confidence and self-belief
Even the most resilient of us are likely to experience a knock to confidence levels in the face of a protracted job search. You can build your confidence and resilience by focusing on the positives and your strengths, reminding yourself at regular intervals of your achievements and what you do well.
Ask for feedback from people you trust and from a human resources or careers specialist, so that you can learn from situations and build on the positive feedback. The more you can remain confident and retain your self-belief the better chance you have of getting a positive result.
If you are not in current employment, take on a part-time, temporary post or do some voluntary work so that you can build your confidence and your skills, alongside your job search for a permanent job.
- What are my key achievements?
- What are my key strengths and skills?
- What do I enjoy doing?
- How can I maintain confidence and self-belief in the face of setbacks?
Summary of tips
- Retain a positive attitude and self-belief (watch out for negative self talk)
- Spend time getting to know yourself – your strengths, skills and motivations
- In face of setbacks, remind yourself of your achievements and strengths
- Shift your thinking from the negatives of the challenge to the opportunities it presents
- Handle rejection in a positive way and learn from the experience
- Build a support network around you
- Support yourself in a challenging situation and give yourself permission for feelings such as disappointment
- Take time out to recharge and achieve a balanced perspective
- Think creatively about opportunities and alternative job search strategies
- Be proactive, take action