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The Resilient Job Seeker

Tips and resources to be resilient in your job search.

October 28, 2020 — 

Searching for a job can be stressful – particularly during a pandemic. With this in mind, job search can also be an opportunity for growth through developing and practicing activities that increase attributes such as resilience, self-care, hope and optimism.

Treat Job Search like a job! – Don’t underestimate the focus and mental energy required to identify jobs, create targeted resumes, and connect with employers. Schedule several hours of the day to work on your job search as you would with a regular job and when the time is up, stop for the day. Searching for a job can easily become an all-consuming affair, but with a schedule, you can give yourself time to relax and recharge. Set goals for yourself each day, using the STAR method, to see your progress and know when to stop working for the day.

Cultivate Gratitude – Gratitude, the noticing of beneficial things you are receiving or negative things you are avoiding is a positive emotion that benefits mental health and well-being ideal for maintaining your job search. Increasing your ability to notice these moments is a skill that can be improved with practice and a simple way to start is at the end of each day, write down 3-5 things that you are grateful for. For an added challenge, reflect on negative situations and try to think of good things that could come from that experience/struggle. This does not diminish the past problems, but helps envision a hopeful future.

Maintain a social network – It is easy to feel unhappy and unmotivated when we feel isolated. Though COVID has made connecting more challenging, there are still many opportunities. Consider reaching out to professionals and alumni through UM Café and Career Mentor Program to learn more about a job and future opportunities in the field. Look at ways to Get Involved on Campus and visit Career Services for help with volunteer and employment opportunities.

Take advantage of mental health resources – Beyond providing individual and group counselling/workshops, the Student Counselling Centre offers many groups, workshops, self-help and community resources to help you manage your mental health. Attend a Career and Workforce Development Month workshop on Seeking Employment in Uncertain Times: Building Resilience on November 24th (register on Career Connect)

Quality over Quantity – Sending out dozens of generic applications usually means that you rarely make the top 3-5 chosen for an interview and is a fast-lane to discouragement. Instead, spend time making sure each application is targeted to the position. Polish your resume, cover letter writing and interview skills, register for a Career Services online workshop using Career Connect, and take advantage of our virtual resume learning centre and Career Month (November 2020) activities.

Resilience is not an isolated practice. No one is resilient alone, so be sure to reach out to staff in Career Services and other Student Support Offices to receive assistance and the resources to support you on your job search and career journey!

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