How To Build Career Resilience

Career resilience helps you stand out; it brings your team closer to you because they trust you.

When your team see how you behave, lead, and respond to change or adversity, it’s like they know who you are.

What is career resilience?

Career resilience is your ability to adjust to a career change as it happens.

I believe that having strong career resilience is not just about how you manage or respond to career changes. It’s also about who you are at work. And how you apply yourself in your work.

Sounds good, right?

Think about it, when people meet you at work, they get a sense of who they are. Your personality. What you are like? And, for some, they even get an insight into how you will behave in certain situations.

Strictly speaking, they mightn’t be able to fully judge how you will react to adversity or change. But they sure do extract an impression.

In many ways, they’re seeking to establish your career resilience.

Will you bounce back or crumble when faced with challenges?

Have you got what it takes?

Do you have skills or experiences that will enhance your chances of dealing with change?

Are you taking charge of your career?

How to find your career resilience.

Your resilience at work emerges from your own sense of personal resilience. 

But, what is that when it’s at home?

Let me explain.

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.”

As I have said many times that’s a bit of a mouthful in my humble opinion.

I much prefer the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary definition that states that “resilience is an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

Doesn’t that sound far more human?

Six ways to build career resilience.

Does building your career resilience sound difficult?

Trust me, it doesn’t have to be.

Once you understand the six factors that influence these skills you can extract steps to enhance your career resilience.

1. Remember to stay calm.

Stay calm – change takes time.

Your ability to stay calm while others around you are losing their heads is essential in demonstrating your career resilience.

Stop. Breathe. And, maintain a positive outlook.

2. Always find the opportunity.

Setbacks happen.

That is a fact.

You need to be constantly looking for opportunities.

And, are not blindsided by emotions and panic.

Focus on the opportunity straight away. And practice strong emotional regulation.

Getting stuck in negative emotional reactions is the biggest time drain that you can get lost within.

Remember, there is always at least one opportunity within every situation.

That makes sense, right?

3. Foster strong professional and personal relationships.

Of course, we’ve all been there.

A setback happens, especially when you thought everything was going so well.

I used to think about how I reacted to situations a lot. And, I dare say I spent too much doing that.

However, having a professional and personal network helps to keep me grounded.

You are not alone. And what you experience, others have experienced too.

Personal and professional relationships allow you to buffer adversity, gain support, and learn from others.

4. Focus on your career resilience.

Establish your sense of purpose.

And, show yourself and others that you are focused on your career. 

After all, you are best positioned to do this. Know where you are going. Plus, what skills do you need in the short, medium, and long term?

Embrace lifelong learning. And, recognize and acknowledge your strengths, hopes, and weaknesses.

Be clear. And actively take charge of your career direction.

5. Learn to be self-aware.

I used to think that I was on a particular path. I believed that I knew where I was going.

But then, I was faced with a massive setback.

And, I learned the power of self-awareness and career resilience.

You must also trust yourself.

Your self-assurance promotes self-confidence and guides how others see you.

Understand what weakens your strengths. And, what strengthens your weaknesses. 

Keeping a strong sense of perspective also allows you to key an eye on what is achievable.

6. Know the behaviors you use to deal with stress.

Understand what behaviors you use to deal with stress.

Always use healthy ways to reduce your stress. Eat correctly, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and engage in regular physical activity.

And, spend time with supportive friends


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Kay Fitzgerald M. A.

Kay Fitzgerald is a health promotion specialist, course developer and researcher studying personal resilience in the workplace and trauma. Catherine received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies and a Master’s in Health Promotion from University College Cork.

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