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Staying Resilient During a Prolonged Job Search

Posted on 31 January 2024

Staying Resilient During a Prolonged Job Search

​7-minute read

Resilience. The ability for an individual, system or community to adapt, bounce back or recover from difficult circumstances.

It is not about avoiding hardships but rather facing them from a position of strength.

With the support of two incredible guests: Laura Edwards, Head of Talent at Wakam and Irina Pelevina, VP of Talent and Culture at Lilium we will look to help guide those who might be sitting in what they feel is a prolonged job search and more specifically, look at practical methods to help you build, maintain and grow your resilience.

Resilience is a quality that can be examined throughout various stages of your career journey. It is a skill that requires time and effort to cultivate, but once you've honed it to a significant degree, you'll find that approaching challenges with a fresh perspective makes them more manageable, regardless of the eventual outcome.

 

What do we mean when we refer to resilience during a job search?

While we've previously defined resilience in broad terms, it's valuable to delve deeper into its significance in the context of a job search. Laura emphasised that a job search isn't merely about finding employment; it entails a substantial transformation in various aspects of your life, including your financial situation, leisure time, and more. Neglecting to address the issue of resilience may result in a swift onset of overwhelming emotions. As Irina pointed out, this can lead to increased stress, reduced motivation, feelings of depression, and a loss of self-confidence, all of which can further complicate the job search process.

 

What really is a prolonged job search?

However, within the scope of this article, we aim to address the specific question of how to maintain resilience during an extended job search. But what exactly does "prolonged" mean? Both Laura and Irina noted that the definition of "prolonged" varies depending on your circumstances, the type of position you're seeking, and the industry in which you are involved.

Before embarking on your job search journey, it's essential to identify your specific needs and goals and set expectations, accordingly, taking your unique circumstances into account like financial runway. Having a clear understanding of these factors from the outset will enable you to stay focused and adapt more swiftly if your job search extends beyond your initial expectations.

 

As previously mentioned, several factors can influence the duration of a typical job search, and being aware of these factors can help you manage your expectations more effectively, including:

 

  • The higher your position in the corporate hierarchy, the longer the job search typically takes.

  • Different industries may experience delays due to seasonal hiring patterns.

  • Each country and even different cities may have varying timeframes for the hiring process.

Irina shared the importance of staying informed about market dynamics to help set realistic expectations. If you're uncertain about what these dynamics entail, consider seeking guidance from a friend, mentor, career coach, or a trustworthy recruiter.

 

Key methods to support yourself during this phase.

During our conversations, Laura and Irina provided a mix of strategies, some of which they have personally tested, and others that they've acquired from their professional networks. This list is not meant to be comprehensive but rather serves as a starting point for you to begin implementing and subsequently refine based on your experiences.

 

Understand resources available to you

Considering your situation, it's highly probable that you have access to local resources for support. Laura pointed out that government assistance, charitable organisations, and educational communities are often just a few clicks away.

If you require assistance, don't hesitate to seek it out. Government aid, for instance, is precisely why you contribute to it through your taxes. It's crucial to be aware of what support is available to you, particularly when it can be of great help in times of need.

 

Self-confidence

Irina would question whether you're genuinely assessing your self-confidence level to meet the demands of your job search. Self-confidence possesses the potential to elevate you from the depths of uncertainty, but it can just as swiftly diminish your self-assurance.

This soft skill is closely intertwined with resilience and merits consistent cultivation. Are you truly mindful of your strengths, the value you bring to the job market, and are your aspirations grounded in reality? Are you effectively preparing for interviews, acquiring valuable information, showcasing your skills, and connecting the dots?

These inquiries necessitate introspection, serving as a foundation upon which you can construct self-awareness and confidence, attributes that will carry you forward in your interactions and interviews.

 

The Cooperative

A novel idea that resonated with us, thanks to Laura's introduction, is the concept of establishing a job search cooperative. This involves forming a close-knit group of job seekers who convene bi-weekly or more frequently as desired to exchange insights, victories, setbacks, and frustrations in their job search journey.

In this supportive environment, participants can openly express their feelings, reassuring each other that they are not alone in their challenges. It also provides a valuable platform for sharing tips, tricks, and even making new connections.

If you're interested in forming your own cooperative, it's essential to foster an atmosphere of complete honesty to ensure that discussions remain constructive rather than turning into self-promotion. If you'd like guidance on creating a co-operative, feel free to reach out to me at eden.whitcomb@perituspartners.co.uk, and I'll be more than willing to provide some initial steps to help you get started.

 

Keep to a routine

It's common to experience a sense of losing control over your job search, often because the structured routine that comes with employment is disrupted. When you have a job, you tend to wake up at a consistent time, engage in familiar tasks, interact with colleagues, and then transition into your evening routine. Once employment is no longer part of the equation, it can significantly disrupt the daily balance.

If this situation resonates with you, incorporating a well-defined routine into your job search can be beneficial. It not only helps you maintain focus during challenging periods but also provides opportunities for reflection on your achievements throughout the search.

 

Seek Feedback Everywhere

The call for feedback is a well-known request, but rather than just saying that you should ask for feedback, Laura and Irina have provided practical strategies you can implement starting today to increase your chances of receiving valuable insights based on their experience.

Laura proposes two approaches. First, you can reach out to the person who interviewed you through LinkedIn for more specific information. They might be more candid over instant messaging than via email. Second, you can engage in self-reflection about the interview and pinpoint areas where you believe you may have faltered. Use these insights as a basis for your feedback request. This approach either confirms your suspicions or gives the person you are asking the opportunity to pinpoint what went wrong.

Irina advises that you formulate a feedback question that is easy for the interviewer to respond to. For instance, asking, "Can you please share feedback on my profile?" may be less effective, as it requires the person to contemplate various areas of feedback to provide. Instead, consider a question like, "What one thing could I have done better for next time?" This narrows down the feedback process to a single, actionable item, making it easier for the interviewer to respond.

Bank your Questions

As your job search extends over time, it can become increasingly challenging to keep track of which interview questions you've handled effectively, and which ones require improvement.

Laura offers a valuable strategy that she personally employs when seeking new job opportunities. She suggests creating a question bank that encompasses both behavioural questions and role-specific queries (technical, product-related, design-related, etc.). This question bank is built on the questions you encounter during your interviews, enabling you to reflect on your responses and identify recurring patterns, as well as the feedback you receive.

An additional benefit of this approach is that it allows you to discern trends in specific roles and industries, giving you a competitive advantage in your subsequent interviews.

 

Create a Support Mechanism

While we briefly mentioned a support system in the context of the cooperative idea, it's worth highlighting this concept again, as Irina strongly advocates seeking support from a mentor, coach, or a reliable recruiter, especially if you find it necessary. These individuals can offer both assistance and the necessary pushes to help you grow.

At times, you might be making mistakes that are apparent to others but not to yourself. Seeking guidance from an expert in this regard is not a sign of weakness; instead, it showcases your strength and determination to regain control of your job search. It demonstrates your commitment to exploring all available avenues to achieve your desired outcome.

 

Returning to the core of this discussion, it's important to emphasise that what you define as a "prolonged" job search is highly contingent on your individual situation. While you should certainly incorporate the strategies offered by Laura and Irina in this article, I'd like to add a key point.

As both of our guests have highlighted, the job market is challenging. To reiterate their advice, it's crucial to maintain a sense of realism. This doesn't imply drastically lowering your salary expectations or accepting a position significantly below your previous role. Instead, it means recognising the current state of the job market, being realistic in all aspects of your job search, and remaining open to making necessary adjustments when needed.

 

Once again, thank you to Laura and Irina for sharing their advice and if you believe someone else needs to read this then we would be grateful if you could share it among your network so we can all collectively bring simplicity to the chaos of recruitment.

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