You might have an idea of what resilience means, but here’s a definition just in case. According to Merriam-Webster, resilience is, “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”
However, this definition isn't the most all-encompassing since adjusting to misfortune or change isn't always easy—especially when it comes to your career. That being said, resilience is a skill and can be strengthened and honed.
Below are some tips to help you build your career resilience, which will prepare you for current job market fluctuations or if you are shifting into a new career.
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What is Career Resilience?
Career resilience is being able to adapt to the ever-changing job market demands. It means updating your resume by looking at examples or using the most up-to-date cover letter templates. You can strengthen your career resilience steadily over time or can do so quickly if you have experienced recent job loss.
Tips for Developing Career Resilience
Heading into 2021, millions of Americans are out of work due to the ongoing pandemic and economic downturn. However, you can be actively benefiting yourself during these difficult times by strengthening your career resilience. Below are some tips on how to develop career resilience.
1. Jot Down Your Abilities and Strengths
One way to further your career is to do some self-reflecting. It is key to know what you both enjoy and are good at professionally; the two usually go hand-in-hand.
Take some time to reflect on your current and previous roles, and record any acquired or inherent hard and soft skills.
2. Believe in Yourself and Your Capabilities
Now, you have an inventory of what you’re skilled at. Your list probably aligns with what you enjoy doing. If not, then add to the bottom of your list what you appreciate about your current position and previous occupations.
These enjoyments can be about relationships with customers or coworkers, tasks or projects you felt passionate about and are proud of or anything in the workplace that has brought you some satisfaction or joy. When recording these enjoyments, think location, office space or work-life balance.
3. Don’t Ask “Why Me?”
Resilient people rarely ask the question, “why me?” when misfortune strikes their lives. No, resilient people don’t welcome heart-ache or hardships with open arms. They do however understand that life happens and it isn’t always what was expected.
Acknowledge, accept, empathize and move forward.
Thus, if you’re out of work, stuck in a job you don’t enjoy or see the job market changing, review your skills and abilities list and know that you are capable and adaptable. Just don’t ask: why me?
4. Create a Community
A strong community is important for a fulfilled life. Not just family and friends, but a support system when it comes to your profession and career. There are thousands of Facebook Groups for workers and job seekers. Some are for remote-workers, others are location and field-specific. Another place to find already established, but welcoming, communities is Reddit, which has many subreddits for jobs or career guidance.
Join these groups to connect with others in the line of work you are already in or want to get into. It can be much easier to learn more about a specific career path from those who have already achieved it.
5. Be Your Own Boss
William Ernest Henley ends his well-known poem about resilience, “Invictus” with the lines, “I am the master of my fate,/ I am the captain of my soul.”
Apply Henley’s words to your life and think like an entrepreneur: you are in charge of your life. One way to hone your career and improve your career resilience is to acknowledge that you are in control of your life and the direction of your professional life.
Acknowledging this authority will empower you to confidently add to your soft and hard skills assessment, and it should inspire you to be the guide in your career rather than the participant.
6. Think Long Term and Big Picture
Consider what you want your life to look like three, five or 10 years from now. Start to make a general plan on what you want to achieve. These goals can be purchasing items such as a vehicle or house, or a career destination at a specific location, i.e. [position] at [company] in [specific city or state]. These objectives can also be relationships based. I want to be working for a company that does X, Y, Z, and my ideal role will be A, B, C.
7. Make Time
The saying, “time is money” is true to some extent. However, what is more relevant to career resilience is making time to achieve what you want. Meaning, if you are either unemployed and looking for work or just need a change, then you should set a time-frame per week dedicated to self-evaluation, job applications and practicing interviews.
Binge-watching a TV show can wait. Your life and aspirations should be the main priority. Make time to get yourself where you want to be. Your future self will thank you.
After you have made time, a good starting point is updating your LinkedIn profile to present yourself in a way that recruiters or hiring managers will want to learn more about you.
How to Develop Career Resilience Within Every Scenario
Career resilience should continue to evolve as you progress your career. However, there are times when you are in a crunch and need an immediate job or are transitioning into a different job field. Regardless of the situation, the below infographic can help you develop career resilience.
If you find yourself needing to develop your career resilience, then use some of the tips starting at the top of the infographic or page. Remember, what matters most is taking healthy-actions towards your future. Take the time to reflect on previous experiences and practice the necessary steps to ensure you are career planning for the future.
- Dr. Lucy Hone’s TED Talk, “The Three Secrets of Resilient People"
- Dr. Martin Seligman’s interview on Harvard Business Review’s podcast, Ideacast
- 10 Ways to Build Resilience from American Psychological Association