Build your career resilience

How would you deal with career disruption? How resilient would you be to a change of direction? The author of this article proposes six steps for building your career resilience. These steps will help you deal with any unplanned career changes, whether that’s being laid off or experiencing a major life event which affects your career choices.

Be adaptable

Being open to change is important for career success. Some behaviours that help develop an open mindset include proactively learning new skills, believing in your ability to succeed and taking risks.

Use and apply your skills

After attending training, do you typically forget the new skills when you return to the workplace, or do you try to put the new skills you’ve learnt into practice? It takes grit to continuously practice and hone new skills to achieve a goal. The author cites work by Angela Duckworth, a Harvard University researcher who has identified ‘grit’ as one of the key traits that predicts success in life.

Build a strong network

The author points out that starting to build relationships when you’re unemployed is too late. She references a 2001 report by Monica Higgins and Kathy Kram who found a strong network needs quality and diversity. Quality is not just about building relationships with influential people; it’s also how good these relationship are. Diversity means having a wide-ranging network of people at different organisation levels and from different sectors to provide alternative perspectives. The author makes the point that networking isn’t just about adding connections on LinkedIn, but it’s about meaningful relationships where you also contribute ideas and provide support.

Maintain your health and balance

Looking after your own well-being during any major life transition or event needs to be your priority. You need to take time to rebuild your strength and your buoyancy. Changes can be unexpected and may be a result of a family event affecting your professional life. Don’t underestimate the need to focus on your health and the importance of addressing any negative self-talk.

Follow your instincts

The resilience literature highlights the importance of self-efficacy and self-perception to a person’s career success and their willingness to try new things. What does your instinct tell you is the right avenue for you at the current time and where you want to be in the future?

Control yourself

Angela Duckworth identified self-control as another predictor of success in life, alongside grit. Being able to regulate your behavioural and emotional impulses is vital, but needs to be paired with a determination to succeed in what you do. Overall, to be career resilient, we need to have self-discipline, take opportunities to develop, be mindful of the need to be adaptable, build a strong network and believe in our ability to weather the times when we get blown off course.

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