Let’s face it, the job search requires resiliency.  As a career advisor, one of the first things I ask my clients is how resilient they think they are.  This self-awareness is important to assess what resiliency reserves you have already and what you might need to build.

Having a resiliency reservoir for your job search allows you to bounce back in the face of setbacks, changes and challenges, to keep forging ahead and to succeed.  This bring to mind the quote by Charles Darwin: 

“It’s not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives; it’s the one that’s most adaptable to change.” 

There is an area in Ireland called the Burren, from the Irish word “Boíreann” meaning a rocky place. Although the area is exposed limestone with very little soil cover, it is known for its spectacular and abundant herb and floral species blown in by winds as far away as the Mediterranean and the Arctic.  The plants settle there in the Burren because beneath this seemingly rocky wasteland is a layer of nutrient rich soil.  The resilient plants dig their roots deep enough to reach this soil layer and no matter how strong the sun or fierce the winds, those plants remain strong and vibrant.  

The concept of having a resiliency reservoir is about digging your well before you're thirsty.  Don't wait until you need that resiliency, develop it now. 

So, what's the most important element in building resiliency?

 Having a strong support system  is the #1 component to building resiliency for your job search.  Strong supportive relationships instill a sense of belonging and well-being, confidence and self-worth as well as a coping method to deal with the challenges inherent in a thorough job search.  Going through a demanding job search without a support system is possible, but difficult, and can lead to feelings of isolation and other more serious issues like depression and anxiety. 

Psychology experts say there is a delicate balance between how much stress we are exposed to and the depth of our coping resources.  Resilient people have strong support networks and other resources and skills to cope with stress.  They are more flexible and able to adapt to new challenges, learn from experiences, remain positive and seek help when needed.

Hiring a career coach is one way resilient people seek help in their job search and build their support network.   Studies show that another important way to build resiliency is by keeping physically fit.  Physical fitness leads to improved mental health and increased resiliency. 

Here are some other ways to build resiliency during the job search:
  • Make friends and nurture existing friendships, join support groups, go to networking meetings, design a personal Board of Directors to advise you
  • Focus on positive outcomes, control negative thoughts and avoid negative people/situations
  • Focus on what is in your control 
  • Remember successes you have had in the past 
  • Set smaller goals that are easy to attain and will allow you to see success.  Progress has a way of building upon itself.
  • Be prepared for setbacks by having back up plans in place.  What will I do if this happens?
  • Be kind to yourself by giving yourself free time to relax and do the things that bring you joy
  • Stay organized and develop schedules and to do lists.  Celebrate when you accomplish something!

The job search is one of the biggest challenges in your life.  Fortify yourself for the search by increasing your resiliency reservoir.  As Charles Darwin noted, the key to survival is being adaptable to change and that can make all the difference in your job search.

The holidays were fun and you brought in the new year in style.  

A new year tends to make us think about change and improvement and possibilities.  January is the time when most of us make resolutions, resolve to do better.  Now that you have your 2015 calendar, you can start to fill it with ways to launch your career in a strong and positive direction.  Breaking old habits and starting new ones to improve your fitness, get that promotion or new job, acquire new skills, or increase your network takes focus and mindfulness that can steer your career in a strong and positive direction.  

But, how do you break old, non-optimal habits and create new and positive ones?  

Begin by being mindful of your current rituals and habits and how they impact your life.  Understanding how your current habits got formed and work is important to developing good, strong habits this new year.  Once you establish those rewarding habits, commit yourself to using them to further your career.

 I am reading a fascinating book about habits by Charles Duhigg called The Power of Habit.  Duhigg's premise is that the key to being what you want to be is understanding how habits work.  Why do you have a certain habit?  What are you hoping to achieve with this habit? What is its reward?  What is the trigger for your behavior?  By analyzing your current habits, you gain the knowledge and the power to change them so that they are more productive.   Duhigg says that habits aren't our destiny.  Once we understand them, we can control and change to benefit us.  That concept is very empowering!   I am applying the book's concepts on controlling habits to career management.  Many of us have habits that are not producing the career results we want.  

What career habits do you have?  Are they enabling you to be successful?  Are there any that you should change?