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How to build resilience while searching for a job

Carolyn Heyward
Hand holding a phone above a desk with a newspaper, plant, coffee and laptop

Looking for a new job is an exciting time. You have an idea of what your perfect role looks like and you’re keen to start immediately. It’s important to remember, however, that finding the perfect role may take time and will require patience.

You may experience rejection along the way but rather than view this as a negative, use this as an opportunity to build your resilience.

How to handle rejection and build resilience

Here are six helpful tips on how to handle rejection and build your resilience while looking for your next role:

1. Don’t take it personally

Not getting the job you applied for can feel like a kick in the guts but it’s important to remember that this is not a personal failure. Try to be objective about it. Decisions being made by employers and hiring managers are usually more about what the business needs are rather than any deficiency in your skills and experience.

2. Ask for feedback

If you don’t get the job you applied for, make sure you ask why. This is an opportunity for you to solicit honest feedback and build your self-awareness. Asking the recruiter or hiring manager what didn’t work and how you might be able to improve next time will give you valuable insight that you can use at your next interview. When you ask for feedback you are also demonstrating your emotional intelligence. This can help you handle constructive criticism, use feedback to improve your performance and change the way prospective employers consider you for a future role.

3. Find a mentor

Looking for a new job is a great time to seek out a mentor. Having a trusted advisor will help you stay positive when you find the job search challenging. A mentor be a sounding board to help you establish solid career goals and keep you on track towards achieving those goals. They can help you with your resume, prepare you for interviews and debrief with you afterwards.

4. Get networking

Searching for a job can be isolating, so rather than getting stuck behind your computer, get out there and network. You might get in touch with past colleagues and friends to find out if they know about any opportunities that you might be able to apply for. Networking also puts you in control of your own career path, which in turn can help you maintain a positive state of mind.

5. Don’t give up

You’ve probably heard the story about Colonel Sanders failing to sell his chicken recipe more than 1,000 times before someone finally bought his recipe, which kickstarted the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. Make sure you don’t give up, even when you have faced many setbacks. Think about whether you can you learn from the situation and change tact. Is there another angle you can approach the situation from? Rather than dwelling on the rejection, spend the time laying the groundwork for your next opportunity.

6. Stay positive

Resilient people have a positive image of the future. They maintain an optimistic outlook and envisage brighter days ahead. Resilient people also never think of themselves as victims – they focus their time and energy on changing the things that they have control over.

And remember, it’s really important while you’re searching for a job to keep doing the things you enjoy in your spare time. Make sure you’re looking after yourself, by eating and sleeping well and exercising regularly. Being healthy and happy will help you stay strong and resilient while you’re searching for that perfect role.