How to Build Your Career Resilience
Resilience is a key trait everyone should work on strengthening. If you made it through 2020 then you most likely built some resilience yourself. There are multiple areas in your life where you can build resilience. You can build resilience to those who are negative and by not letting other people’s emotions affect yours. Another way to build resilience is within your career.
Career resilience means continuously preparing for unexpected job loss or the next opportunity whenever it arises. Career resilience also entails having your resume and cover letter up to date for any future openings within your current company or at another business. Similar to many skills, career resilience must be strengthened and developed.
There are four main ways to strengthen your career resilience: knowing your abilities, turning negative emotions into an action plan, fostering a community, and making achievable goals. Below, you will find several ways to strengthen and hone your career resilience skills.
1. Know Yourself by Examining Your Skills
The first action item in building career resilience is getting to know yourself. If you know and understand your own skills and what you enjoy most at work, then you’ll be more prepared to know what future jobs or roles you might want.
So, consider what you enjoy most in your current role and what you appreciated most in your previous occupations. Then, jot down your top skills from each position. Make sure to write down both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills that you learned on the job; they can be knowledge of specific software or machinery. While soft skills are more like character traits that you are good at and have developed. Some soft skills include the ability to clearly communicate verbally and in writing, managing projects and people, or being extremely organized and detail-oriented.
After you write down your top skills, there should be some overlap across all of your previous jobs and experiences. If so, highlight those and make note of them. After you have assessed your skills, go and update your resume. You should also write a sample cover letter. Once an opportunity arises, apply with your recently updated resume and cover letter. Part of career resilience is being prepared more often than not. Instead of rushing the application process and submitting sloppy work.
2. Have Faith in Yourself
2020 has been a difficult year for the United States’ and numerous countries’ workforce. A lot of working professionals got laid off due to COVID-19 cuts. Entire businesses also went under. Maybe nothing drastic happened, but if you’re a work from home mother then each day you built resilience. If any of these career roadblocks or hardships occurred to you, it’s okay to feel upset, worried, and stressed. In fact, it’s justified to feel this way and you should accept those emotions and be in touch with them.
However, what separates resilient people from others is their ability to understand hardships and misfortune and to use it as motivation. Listen to Dr Lucy Hone, the director of New Zealand’s Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, discuss in her TED Talk how resilient people interact with the world. Dr Hone argues resilient people have a growth mindset. They don’t openly welcome hardships, but at the same time, they understand that catastrophes occur and it is part of life. They don’t ask, “why me.”
You should also push yourself to have a growth mindset like the people Dr Hone refers to. If you experienced hardship in 2020, specifically career setbacks or unexpected changes, then use that as motivation as you look to further your career.
3. Create a Community
When people think about resilience they often consider the euphemism, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” However, that thinking has one major flaw: resilience is an individual act. This individualism in regards to resilience isn’t beneficial. In fact, you should actually rely on others to help you build resilience. Work with your spouse, friends, or family to strengthen your career resilience.
Try to create a career community or join an already existing one in your desired field and occupation. There are hundreds of local social media groups where people post jobs or are looking to hire part-time, full-time, and contract workers. Furthermore, make sure to rely on your current network of friends and family to help you develop career resilience. They might also have tips on how to dress professionally to boost your confidence. Or, other nuggets of information from their own experiences. If they don’t, they are still a great support system.
Finding and having a career community benefits you in several ways:
1. A career community creates networking opportunities. By interacting with other professionals in your desired field you are making connections that could lead to a job or some freelance work.
2. Others have already achieved a similar career path. Look, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Other people have had similar experiences, careers, or transitions. Reach out to them and see what they did. Ask how they transferred their soft and hard skills to a new field or were able to achieve a promotion.
3. You have a support group, which is vital for success. Your group can be anyone in your career community — strangers on forums, close friends and family, or those on a social media group.
4. Make Achievable Goals
Part of building career resilience is making achievable goals for yourself over set timelines. Meaning, you should look at different timelines based on what is happening in your current life. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re currently unemployed and looking for work then you should treat job hunting like a full-time job. Putting in close to 40 hours per week. If you’re steadily employed and see no major changes coming soon then put in a couple of hours a month to track your career progress and update your resume and cover letter.
Looking at the new year, if you have an upcoming end-of-year review and want a raise or promotion then you should be reviewing your contributions to your team and the company. Also, discuss the ways you have grown. Your goal then should be to work on this for several hours all in one day or over a week period.
Also, you can make long-term career goals to help you build resilience. These can be one, five, or ten-year plans. Within these plans, you need to decide where you want to be within that time frame and create actionable steps to achieve these goals. Again, rely on your community. You should look to others who have been where you are now. Reach out to them and ask for tips and guidance.
Career resilience is a difficult skill to master and it takes time. Regardless of what your career looks like right now, just take the time to build and hone your career resilience skills. Your future self will thank you. For other tips on how to build career resilience, please check out JobHero’s this career resilience guide offered by JobHero.