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How to build your resilience in times of uncertainty

By Kristan De Sousa

Mug on a wooden table reading 'begin'

Looking for a new job is already a stressful endeavour, let alone during a major economic and social upheaval. The impact of COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our lives, with thousands of employees being made redundant, asked to take annual leave, reduced hours and pay, or being stood down indefinitely.  

While some companies close their doors or put hiring on hold, others are responding in new ways to the changing conditions, placing many roles and sectors in high demand.  

If you find yourself in a tough career situation, the most important thing is to stay calm and remain patient. The job market can be fickle and while your job search and hiring process might take longer than usual, things can change quickly.  

Rejection will likely be a commonplace scenario in the post-coronavirus world, so being prepared and building your coping skills and resilience could be the life raft that keeps your head above water. 

Steps to building resilience 

Here are some tips on how to handle rejection, build your resilience and get you back on track while looking for your next role: 

1. Take a breath 

Getting made redundant or losing your job will likely feel like a kick in the guts no matter what the circumstances. Being out of work is a highly stressful situation so it’s important not to take your job loss as a personal failure. Remaining objective will help your state of mind - employers and hiring managers are being forced to make many tough decisions that are likely more about business conditions and needs rather than any deficiency on your behalf.  

2. Consider your response 

Take the time away from your job to think about your next career move. Don’t panic and apply for every job on the market or jump into the first opportunity that comes your way. Use this time to weigh up your options, work out what you want and create a plan to get there. Resetting now will help ensure you can be at your best to respond to the right job opportunity when it comes along.  

3. Be flexible 

We’ve all heard the saying, “the only constant in life is change”. Yet it can be difficult to cope with change when your career is flung into turmoil. Being adaptable and open to new ideas can help steer your response in the right direction, and might even open doors to new career pathways you have previously never considered or explored

Think about the experience and skills you have that could be transferrable across industries or sectors to expand your playing field. Consider where companies, products and services are in high demand, and how you might be able to adapt. Talk to a specialist recruiter for your discipline or industry about your career prospects but make sure you come to the discussion prepared with options and questions. Here are some tips to help your recruiter nail your job search

4. Be ready  

Getting all your ducks in a row from a career perspective will improve your ability and agility to respond to new opportunities. Make sure your resume is updated (use our free resume template) and your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and optimisedSign up for job alerts to stay up to date with job opportunities.  

5. Network 

Being out of work can make you feel detached, particularly in a time of ‘social isolation’. So, now is the perfect time to reach out to your network. You can open the lines of communication both socially and around your work situation by checking in with the people you know - drop a text or make a call to your family, friends, and previous colleagues, as well as your professional network. You may be surprised by some of the connections that exist in your network. Networking helps you feel socially connected and more in control of your career path, which can improve your state of mind.  

6. Remain engaged 

While the desire to transition fully to life dressed in your pyjamas and watch Netflix from your couch doona fort may be enticing, it’s important to stay engaged. There are things you can do to improve your job prospects, whether it's joining a professional group or board, writing a blog, volunteering, signing up for a course, learning a new skill, or helping your friends or neighbours in a time of need, being engaged with life and learning will help you stay on positive and on track.

7. 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. Don’t give up, even when you face multiple setbacks. Think about what you can you learn from the situation and how you can change tact in future. 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. 

8. Try to stay optimistic

Resilient people have an optimistic image of the future. They maintain a positive outlook and envisage brighter days ahead. Resilient people also don’t think of themselves as victims – they focus their time and energy on changing the things they have control over.  

And remember, it’s important while you’re searching for a job to keep doing the things you enjoy in your spare time. Make sure you look 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 the role ahead. 

Want to know more about maintaining your resilience in the current climate? Reach out to a recruiter to find out more about the market and your opportunities.