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Looking for Work? 10 ways to build your resilience

Ten ways to help you with your Job Search

By Michael Ballard from Resiliency for Life

Keeping ourselves positively focused, and effective, can be a large challenge in achieving positive outcomes during a job search. This article provides 10 useful skills to help us deepen and widen our capacity to improve our performance.

Resiliency is all about helping people learn how to be more successful dealing with adversity. Here are ten skills that can help you build your resiliency during an active career search. Theses skills will help you to stay focused and lower your risk of getting stuck.

Breathe – Before any activity, take slow, deep breaths helps us relax and focus on the task at hand. During a task a slow deep breath can help us get focused and centered to ensure we perform to potential, or put a mistake behind us and refocus on the moment.

Relax – Progressive relaxation exercises can be used to ease tension and get our minds and bodies ready for performance. Progressive relaxation simply involves contracting and then relaxing
each muscle group from the toes, feet, ankles, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, stomach, lower back, upper back, chest, fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and neck and face. These exercises can be done before a telephone call, writing an email or letter, or before going into the company premises for an interview.

Visualize – Research has shown that we can all benefit from visualizing ourselves successfully completing things in advance. Often visualization is easier after we have done our breathing and
relaxation exercises. The mental pictures should be highly detailed, and always result in successful completion of the event. If we need help with this, consider a good friend or career coach who can act as a “visualization guide,” suggesting things to focus on. Writing it out, step-by-step in advance always helps.

Resiliency For Life website
Resiliency For Life website

Eliminate or lower Distractions – Some of us can be easily distracted by uncontrollable factors such as strange noises, unfamiliar locations, or other factors such as unique hairstyles or fashion. For these career searchers, it can be helpful to name those distractions in advance. Then, label them as distractions so we can recognize them lowering their ability to pull us off track, and then lower their ability to interfere with our performance.

Focus on the process – Some in career search mode can become anxious by thinking too much about the outcome of their performance. For example, instead of thinking about the
implications of being angry with a poorly prepared interviewer, a job seeker should think about keeping an eye on a positive outcome. The trick is to avoid seeing things in right and wrong. Consider the difference in thing of living a life of excellence vs. perfection. The seeker should focus on achieving an outcome that “feels right” rather than a sequence of perfect moments. In other words, focus on “being in the moment” rather than a perfect interview.

Physically, Emotionally and Mentally rehearse – For most of us in career search it is helpful to rehearse before going into performance mode. This can be done before the phone call, email or interview. High performance individuals do this quite often. This type of rehearsal reminds us to complete the skill properly. Plus, assures us that we are ready to perform. Then we can relax and “be in the groove.”

Practice Mindfulness – One of the most common mistakes made by many of us at all levels of performance from rookie to long timer is to focus on our past worst performances rather than our next play. We worry about and judge our past performances instead of making the next interaction, and this can lower our confidence. We can overcome this mistake by reminding ourselves to “stay in the moment.” The last event is gone; what now matters is the
next one. Remember Mindfulness is staying in the moment with out judgment.

Practice your Positive Self-talk – self-defeating self-talk has been the downfall of many a potential high performer. We can combat this tendency by actively replacing negative self-talk with positive self-talk. This means replacing “I can’t believe how badly I messed up on that last answer” with “I’ve practiced and answered hundred’s of questions like this before this, and I will nail the next one.”

Positive body language – In addition to managing our self-talk, doing something physical like clapping our hands rapidly, taking three deep breathes (i.e. breath in on four and out on 2 ~ Not while operating a vehicle) can help restore positive emotions. One of the most powerful forms of positive body language is to simply stand up as tall as possible with our shoulders back, chin up, and hands on our hips. Practice this pose if you find yourself struggling. Notice the positive difference it can make in our mind and body.

“Feel the force Luke1”– During our career search the key to developing positive outcomes is trusting in our own competence. If we do the homework, i.e. Developing a Master Resume that includes: personal and professional skills audit, listing our accomplishments both with features and benefits, education, training, volunteering accomplishments, know your target company & key decision makers and key influencers and have practiced, then our positive mind body skills go into autopilot and play on instinct. We should simply get involved in the flow of the process. Let our mind and body do the rest without over practicing. This is how the best deliver day after day. We can assist ourselves to “Feel the force” and let it happen.

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