Whether you recently graduated from school or college or you got laid off because of COVID, you might feel under a lot of pressure to find a job as soon as possible. It starts out on a high note, you feel hopeful when you apply for a position but failure to land a job (or multiple jobs) might discourage you from applying again. It’s all too easy to bury one’s head in the sand after a rejection. This is where resilience training comes in. The job search is a marathon not a sprint and you need to build resilience to get you through it.
There’ll be slow periods – great swathes of time when nothing happens – where you’ll need to keep motivating yourself and times when you’ll be under pressure to apply to lots of job at once. The job search comes with highs and lows in a kind of cycle ranging from hopeful when you apply for a job and are invited for interview, disappointment when this doesn’t lead to an offer, insight from the rejection which gives you confidence to renew yourself for the next application. The job search comes with emotional and mental baggage but in truth, the only thing standing in the way of getting the job you want is your mindset. Resilience helps you deal with the setbacks you experience along the way. Hardships are inherent, but you’re in charge of your reactions to such situations. Resilience is all about being proactive, flexible and determined to find a silver lining in every situations.
Here’s what to do to build your resilience through the job search process:
Don’t Lose Hope
During your job search, you’re bound to experience rejection from prospective employers. Only a few things in life feel worse than opening a rejection email from the company you were looking forward to working for. Especially if you were under the impression the interview went well. When that happens, your confidence takes a serious hit. If it makes you feel better, it happens to everyone looking for a job at some point.
Although it’s hard, you have to remember to hold your head high. Don’t let rejection letters make you lose hope in building a career you want. Your talent and skills stand, they don’t change. The rejection doesn’t diminish your accomplishments nor does it affect your chances of success in the future. So instead of dwelling on the bad news, focus on learning your lesson and paving the way for your big break next time. So stay positive, focus on one thing you could do differently and keep moving forward.
Send Follow-up Emails
Not many young people realize this, but staying in contact with the recruiters throughout the process is essential. Send them a follow-up email if you haven’t heard from them for two or three weeks. Every company has a different recruitment process, and you have every right to receive updates about the position you applied for. Also, send a follow-up email even if you don’t get the job. Exhibiting strong emotional intelligence may clinch you a different job with them. At any rate stay in touch with the recruiters or employing body for networking purposes and ask them for feedback directly. They might be able to give you pointers on how to approach your next interview and get the offer. Use the feedback to improve your odds for landing positions in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many industries. If your field of study is one of them, you might want to try out following different paths. Today, it’s almost impossible not to be able to transfer your skillset to another field. Being resilient means being able to adjust to new circumstances to take advantage of whatever opportunity that’s presented to you. For instance, expand your search to other industries and apply for job titles that speak to your particular skill. It’s rare to find your degree course in a job title. If you know your two strongest skills, you can match yourself to any number of jobs. Also, think about your hobbies, interests, and soft skills. You never know where you might find the opportunity you desperately need.
Learn New Skills
The worst thing you can do is let the job search consume you and all your free time. Why not learn new skills or polish the ones you already have while waiting for job openings or news from recruiters? In-demand and advanced skills will look good on your resume. The best part is you don’t even have to leave your house or spend much money to gain these competencies. You can complete an online course, attend a webinar, or use an app to take your language knowledge to the next level. This way, you’ll be ready when that offer comes in.
Don’t Take Rejection Personally
When making decisions, recruiters or hiring managers think about organizational needs and aims. They look for a candidate whose background, skills, and values align with corporate ones and who can help meet those business needs. Not getting a job you were excited about or not getting a reply from the hiring manager can make you feel empty or even worthless. Although it’s a real kick in the guts, you have to remember not to take it personally. The recruiters often have their plates full, or the HR department might be understaffed. They might not have time to notify you promptly. Getting no acknowledgement from employers isn’t a personal defeat. And recruiters make mistakes! Do ask yourself questions like: did I prepare enough? Was I overconfident? Was I not confident enough? but then move on! It’s not personal. It’s business.
Build a Support Structure
If you’re dealing with rejection, make sure you have a few trusted people on tap to keep you on track and motivated. It can be a teacher, a friend, a parent or a coach. Someone who will say: ‘You’ve got this. Don’t give up now, you’re almost there”. This can be invaluable in supporting you through the process.
Happyology is a serious field of science now. We can train our brains to stay positive! Our perception is our way of colouring the world and if we have even a slight tendency towards glass half empty thinking, we actually train our brain to focus on the negative. Make a focused effort to turn off the drip, drip, drip effect of negative thinking. By selectively finding something positive in whatever life throws at you, you’ll become more resilient.
You can build and maintain resilience through the job search. All you have to do is remember not to give up. The most successful people cope best with discomfort. Sit with the discomfort, learn from it. Resilience is about coping with adversity – making the best of the hard lessons life sends your way. Only those who persevere in their endeavours despite all the challenges will find what they’re looking for.