Resilience in the Job Search


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Resilience in the Job Search

Paycheque anxiety aside, one of the most difficult aspects of a job search is facing rejection.

No matter how great your resume is, chances are good that you just aren’t going to get every job you apply for. Job searching is a process, and it takes persistence, determination – and resilience in the face of rejection.

You’re probably not going to sail through the process without hearing a few “no’s” along the way. So it’s important to build up your resilience toolbox to push through those tough patches as smoothly as possible.

Rejection has some very real psychological impacts, and the effect on your brain can be intense. In fact, some researchers have made the case that rejection and physical pain are pretty much the same, as far as your brain is concerned.

The two processes are by no means identical – but they’re pretty similar, writes Nicole Fisher in Forbes. Whether you’ve slammed a car door on your fingers or just been rejected for your dream job after the third interview, your brain will react very similarly to both events. In both cases, it will release natural chemicals – essentially opiods – to create a painkiller effect.

Safe to say, rejection stings. And it’s not just your ego – it’s your chemical, neurological processes at play.  

Resilience against rejection

If rejection is all but inevitable, especially in a job search scenario, then it’s important to develop resilience. Resilience is not fixed, psychologists say – rather, it is a learned skill that can be enhanced and cultivated over time.

So how does one learn resilience? Well, each expert has their own variation on the best way to do so. But Hire Authority rounded up some of the best tried-and-true tips to give you a crash course.

  1. Don’t resist your emotions. Resilience is about persevering through adversity – not pretending that adversity doesn’t exist. If you experience rejection or some other manner of painful setback, it’s ok to admit that it hurts. Fully feeling and processing your negative feelings is better than suppressing them or using maladaptive coping mechanisms.
  2. Focus on self-care. Building strong self-care habits is always important, but it becomes even more so when you are faced with rejection. If you have a strong toolkit of self-care to fall back on, such as good exercise and healthy eating habits, it will be much easier to bounce back.
  3. Lean on your community. Reaching out to loved ones can make all the difference when we’re facing the painful sting of rejection. As social animals, we are particularly susceptible to the negative psychological impacts of feeling rejected by a group. But some researchers suggest that focusing on a community where you feel acceptance and belonging can numb that pain.
  4. Take control. Instead of giving in to negative thoughts or hopelessness, reclaim control of your situation. What is one thing you can do right now to give yourself a boost? Whether it’s sending out a few more resumes, hitting the gym for some cardio, cooking a nice dinner or just going for a walk, staying active and initiating positive activities can be very helpful toward building resilience.
  5. Practice acceptance. Struggling against realities that you cannot change can be a significant waste of mental and emotional energy – and it’s not something that resilient people make a habit of. As challenging as it may be, the sooner you accept a difficult situation, the sooner you can move on from it.


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