Looking for a new job can be a stressful activity – uncertainty about the future, combined with potential knock backs, feeling trapped in a job, as well as financial pressures, can all combine to test the most resilient of us. Resilience is a concept we hear a lot about these days. I like to think about it as the capacity to survive and thrive in the face of set backs and challenges. Resilience can be built by cultivating positive emotions, ensuring you have good support  networks, remaining grounded in your values and being reasonable and realistic about your goals.

Here are 10 tips to improve your resilience through career transition and job search:

1. Adopt a positive and future-focused mindset.

As difficult as this can sometimes be, especially if your job search is taking longer than you expected or hoped, try to think and act constructively and be around positive people that help you to be resilient and support your job search. Be open and alert to possibilities and remain confident about what you have to offer. Set some goals for each day,  take action (however small) and look after yourself physically and emotionally.

2. Be realistic about your expectations

It may take a while to secure your next job – this is normal, so be prepared for that. You may need to submit multiple applications and attend a range of interviews. As long as you are approaching your job search efficiently, then you will be on track. Please see my tip sheet Fast Track Your Job Search for some more information about how to do this.

3. Learn from feedback

If you aren’t successful with an application or at an interview, seek some feedback about what you did well and what let you down. Often we catastrophise our performance (in interviews in particular), assuming all sorts of negative things about ourselves. The reality of course is usually far different from your dire assessment. Act on any constructive feedback you receive, tweaking and adapting your approach as needed.

4. Be guided by your values

Everyone has a different set of values, ethics, motivators and interests which when understood, honoured and acted upon, provide the compass needed to guide career and life choices. What are your values – what really matters to you? Consider the following 10 examples of career values. Are any of these important to you? Which ones top your list?

  1. Earning a reasonable wage
  2. Achieving status
  3. Innovating and trying out new ideas
  4. Opportunities for promotion
  5. Having challenging work
  6. Using and developing your skills and talent
  7. Having flexibility in work hours
  8. Being part of a friendly team
  9. Working in an environmentally sustainable workplace
  10. Being of service to others

Make your own list and try to align your job search to your values –  it will definitely be more authentic, motivating and successful if you do.


5. Look in the right place and in the right way

There are many job seekers who unfortunately subscribe to the ‘more is better’ philosophy which sees them submitting multiple (sometimes hundreds) of applications through job vacancy sites. The problem is that these are usually the same resume submitted time and again for many different kinds of jobs. Unsurprisingly they have a very low success rate, because they do not take into account what the employer is actually looking for, nor what it is they are actually looking for.  Once you have a good resume you can quickly adapt it to other positions because it will already largely reflect your skills, values, experience and interests. Please take a look at my tip sheet 10 ways to future proof your career for more ideas about this.

6. Remain focussed and active

Continue to move towards your goals. Take small achievable steps if that’s all you can do or have time for. Small wins will boost your confidence and help to ward off any fear of failure that comes your way.  By being targeted and focussed, you make best use of your energy. 

7. Be open to opportunities

Often when your resilience is tested, it can be natural to get frustrated, feel defeated and lose momentum. This in turn can make you less alert to job opportunities and leads. Avoid this by being open to ideas and options and new ways of approaching your job search. Bounce some ideas around with your friends and colleagues, brainstorm new ideas and possible contacts and allow yourself to think creatively and imaginatively about your future.

8. Always have a Plan B

No matter how happy you are with your current job or career, there are plenty of examples, where people have not been resilient in the face of unexpected changes such as funding cuts, a change of management or a re-structure. Ask yourself, if your job were to end today, or things turned bad at work, what would you do? Do you have a Plan B?  Likewise if you are currently out of work or in the process of making a change, keep in your mind that even when you do secure your next job, that every job is temporary.

9. Take care of yourself

Pay attention to your physical and emotional wellbeing. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing and exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to be resilient through job search.

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10. Enlist your support crew

Experience shows that those who have a good ‘support crew’ around them have the best chance of maintaining the resilience and focus needed to succeed in job search. Enlist the support of trusted friends, colleagues and family who are there to encourage them, proof read applications and generally listen to their plans and ideas. Also important, can be a qualified career coach who will improve your efficiency through expert advice on how to plan your career and be ‘on your side’ as you plan and implement your job search.

Until next time, go well