10 ways to build resilience in your job search

With each corporate job offer attracting, on average, 250 applications, of which 4 to 6 will get called for an interview, and only one will get the job, it’s no wonder that you are facing rejection after rejection.

But how can you build your resilience to keep up the motivation to apply for jobs, show off your best self in your application, and be positive at interviews?

We’ve ten top tips just for you:

1. Apply for a Goldilocks number of jobs

Needing to be resilient in your job search, maybe in part down to your job hunt approach. Are you applying for the right number of jobs? Too few and you’ve placed all your eggs in one basket - pinning your hopes on just one or two jobs at a time can be devastating when you receive a rejection email in your inbox. Too many and you’ve not spent enough time tailoring your application to the position, or you’re applying for positions that you just aren’t qualified for, so no wonder you’re getting rejected. 

2. Take breaks and treat your job search like work

Everyone should be working a set number of hours during their job hunt, and having a work-life balance should be adhered to. Whether that’s having lunch with your friends, going to the cinema at the weekend, or off on walks every day, having time for yourself (and time to get those applications in) is equally important. 

It’s also good to follow a routine, so you know whether you are coming and going, and this routine is up to you. It may be that your brain feels like a cloud in the morning, so you need to spend it away from your screen, doing errands or housework before you can settle in and concentrate. Or it might be that you like being able to tick items off your list, so the satisfaction you feel when you sit down in front of the telly after dinner is immense.

3. Find ways to gain confidence

Whether it’s through being part of your children’s PTA, playing tennis at the club, or keeping up that practise for your band that’s never going to make it, do something outside the home that you enjoy and that helps you feel valued. 

You’ll be able to remind yourself that you do have skills and talents, and you are part of society.

And this way you can forget about your job hunting woes for just a short period of time, as well as build the confidence you need to face the constant rejection.

4. Talks to others

By speaking to others about your current employment position, you never know, you might find the next perfect opportunity. Failing that, it’s likely that there will also be someone in the same boat as you with whom you can share your frustrations and continue to motivate one another when the going gets tough. 

5. Practise positive thinking

Positive thinking can help our ability to think straight and clearly when we need to sit down and fill in applications and send off CVs, all of which can make us feel anything but positive. So we need that positivity even more than normal. A positive mindset will ensure that you are more likely to apply for that job, be positive and upbeat for an interview, and be more likely to reach your dream career goals. 

Here are a few ways you can continue to stay positive during your job hunt:

Use affirmations

Positive affirmations are short, positive statements that you can repeat regularly to yourself or leave notecards around where you will regularly see them. They should be positive, in the present tense, and state something that you want. For example, “Today is going to be a great day!”

Focus on the good things

Attach thought triggers to items you use every day to remind yourself of things that make you happy. For instance, you could change your phone wallpaper to trigger a memory of a certain place, wear a bracelet that was given to you by your best friend or even make the password you use every day something that reminds you of something you are grateful for. Little triggers like this can build up over the course of a day and make a difference.

Keep a gratitude journal 

Spend a few minutes each evening writing down three things that you are grateful for that day. It could have been the time you were able to spend with your partner at dinner or the fact you went for a walk and it was gloriously sunny.


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6. Celebrate the wins

However small they are, celebrate the wins. Celebrate that interview you’ve got in ten days’ time or the fact that you applied for all the jobs you intended to that week. Again, they can help you keep up the positivity and feel valued and that your life has meaning, which is exactly what you need. 

7. Recognise that it’s not always you

With a 43.8% decrease in vacancies in 2021 in large businesses (over 2,500 employees) and 32% of employers decreasing their recruitment activity and 57% pausing it completely, it might well be that your lack of a position might not be entirely your fault. 

Continue to remember that this is the case, and as much as you are trying there’s still competition out there. Instead, think about what you can do to improve your chances. One way is through developing an even greater ability in the skills needed for your role - is there a short course or online course that you could take? Could you widen your skill set by doing some voluntary work or finding out about alternative industries?

8. Find a mentor

Developing a relationship with a mentor can provide you with insights that you might not necessarily have been aware of. This may open you to a world of alternative opportunities -  whether that’s industries, career roles, or ways of doing things - to help you build your professional network, and in time, land your dream career. 

9. Reframe your failures 

As the saying goes, “If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried.” Reframe your failure as the most common outcome of you trying to find work. And what’s more, you can learn from your failure - if you’ve had an interview with a company and you don’t make the grade, ask them for feedback. There might just be one simple thing that you can change that will stand you in good stead for your next interview opportunity, and soon you’ll never have to face rejection again.

10. Ask yourself the right questions

When dealing with rejection, don’t blame yourself for it, but ask yourself logically why you were rejected for the role. It could be that you knew that you weren’t the perfect candidate for the role, and that in this day and age, companies can find that perfect fit. Or maybe you knew you were nervous at the interview, could have spent more time preparing your presentation, or didn’t spend enough time in the cover letter focusing on the qualities they were looking for. 

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