Resilience has become a career buzzword for good reason. The death of a job-for-life means more people will deal with workplace setbacks and challenges at some stage in their careers.

But resilience isn’t just about coping with redundancy – it’s a vital tool for many aspects of our working lives; from tackling a competitive job market, to overcoming workplace politics, or knowing how to respond when promotions pass us by.

Overwhelmed at work? Six tips on how to beat stress

While we know that career success can be largely defined by hard work and luck, the ability to work through adversity should never be underestimated. It’s easy to dismiss resilience as something you’re either born with or without. But it can be built with a few simple techniques. Here’s how:

Set yourself career goals

Setting personal goals can help create a sense of achievement when you meet them. These goals don’t need to be far out of reach, however; smaller and more achievable targets can help us experience success, which in turn creates a positive mindset that builds mental resilience. For example, if getting a new job is the ultimate goal then breaking that down into smaller targets, such as re-writing your CV, approaching new recruiters, or scheduling a chat with a mentor can help you feel you’re moving in the right direction. Get into the habit of reviewing each working week against your goals.

Understand what’s realistic

The everyone’s a winner culture taught in schools may help boost self-esteem in the short term, but it doesn’t prepare us for the often harsh realities of what lies ahead.  

When we are feeling run down, negativity is more likely to creep in

The competitive graduate job market, for example, can be a huge shock to high-flying students who have previously experienced few barriers to success. It’s often the first time they have to face rejection. Learning not to take rejection personally is paramount and finding a way to grow and develop from these experiences helps you strive onwards. Sharing your experiences with others who have been through – or are experiencing – something similar will help you gain realistic expectations.

Learn to give and receive support

When adversity strikes at work, the people around us are often best placed to help, through emotional support or practical advice. But colleagues will be more likely to do this when you have been supportive and cooperative with them. Having the confidence to ask colleagues for help is much easier when you have forged a close network and shown yourself to be a team player.

Look after your health

Coping with difficult times at work is much easier to do when both your body and mind are fit and healthy. When we feel run down, negativity is more likely to creep in, making it harder to overcome. Eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are essential first steps. Making sure you take regular breaks at work and create clear work-life boundaries also helps.

 

Hannah Morton-Hedges

Independent careers consultant

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