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Being resilient is a critical skill for a successful career and for life and is more important than ever in the current pandemic.

What is resilience?

“The ability to adapt to change, even when the circumstances are discouraging or disruptive” (London 1997)

If you notice, it’s not about pushing through difficulties and ignoring your mental health. It’s about adapting, which includes seeking assistance when you need it. Here are some links if you are concerned about your mental health.

Why is resilience essential for my career?

The world is constantly changing and we are all expected to adapt to change. Experiencing change can affect our health as well as our ability to perform well at work. 

Resilience is needed because of:  

  1. Challenges for those starting their careers:Transitioning from university to the world of work is dauting. Students are required to adapt to new and unfamiliar systems (application forms, interviews and tests). Resilience is required here because after performing all of the above, students report making multiple applications and getting nowhere,  networking and nothing coming of it; performing poorly at interview/assessment centre and getting discouraged; others seeming to prosper around them; fear of picking a career and not liking it; losing hope when rejected after making an application. 

  2. A Competitive market: Competition for roles is fierce and more so in a recession.

  3. Continuous change: changes to roles, organisational structures, and strategy on an ongoing basis. 

  4. Uncertain futures: Gone are the days of one career for life. People change jobs and careers for a number of reasons. 

  5. The economy: The need for a career resilient work-force is more important now owing to global economic recession (which comes in cycles) and we are living in a riskier society.

  6. Health: Employee health, which is directly linked to resilience, has become an economic issue with the replacement cost for staff sick leave in the UK alone costs £5 million per year (Bevan 2010).

How to develop your resilience

The good news is, resilience is a skill that can be developed over time. Once you’ve mastered what resilience looks like for you, you are more likely to be able to handle the changes that a career and circumstances in life can bring.

Here are some ways to develop your resilience: 

  • Embrace failure. Learn from your mistakes and adapt your approach until successful. Les Brown: Getting unstuck / Huffington Post – How to bounce back from setbacks.

  • Develop a positive perspective. Challenge unhelpful thoughts and turn challenges into opportunities to grow.

  • Aim for mastery by creating goals that will enhance your skills and performance: e.g. attending virtual or live networking event to improve your interpersonal skills or to build your network.

  • Commit to self-management. Take responsibility for your own actions and do things to the best of your ability. Build your self management skills by YouthEmploymentUK.

  • Support. Create/maintain a solid support network of family, friends and mentors. 

  • Utilise coping strategies that fit you

  • Having an image of your future self-motivates you. Some people create their own vision boards and look at it daily to keep them on track when things become challenging. 

  • Self-care, for example nutrition, sleep, exercise, relaxation.  

  • Goal setting (Brian Tracy – How to create an effective action planJim Rohn – The importance of setting goals

  • Planning and time management.         

  • Self-reflection.

  • Asking for help when you need it.


Podcast: Change and Transition Podcast: If you are about to start your career, or transitioning between careers, this podcast offers tips on how to make  the move. Interviews and advice covering different topics related to careers.

Design Your Life – Stanford course: Helping you to decide on your career from a holistic perspective – considering your whole life, not just your professional decisions. 

The Museum of Failure: A collection of failed inventions we can learn from.


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