Developing career resilience as a graduate – how can you develop this increasingly important attribute?

Resilience is becoming an increasingly crucial attribute in the job market. Whether you’ve just started your career or are navigating the job application process, building career resilience is an essential skill that can set you apart from the competition and contribute to your long-term success.

In this blog post, we will explore the meaning and importance of career resilience, and most importantly, how you can develop and strengthen this valuable trait, both as you apply for jobs, and navigate workplace challenges.

Understanding career resilience:

Career resilience is the ability to adapt, bounce back, and grow from setbacks and challenges in your professional life.

As a recent graduate, you may face rejection, uncertainty, demotivation, an extremely steep learning curve, or career anxiety.

Building resilience doesn’t mean avoiding these hurdles, but it will help develop the skills and mindset necessary to overcome them.

A person looking over notes on a piece of paper while sat at a computer.

Actionable advice to develop career resilience when applying for jobs:

Learn from rejections

  • Although it’s disheartening, try to view rejections as opportunities for growth and improvement.
  • Analyse feedback, identify areas for improvement and use your experience and advice to refine your approach.
  • If you’re not provided with feedback, try to analyse which stage seems to be your downfall and consult some of the career service’s resources to improve your approach.

Develop a strategic job search plan

  • Research potential employers, and tailor your application for each opportunity.
  • Leverage your network for insights and recommendations.
  • Prioritise applications by deadline and your interest in the position.

Be adaptable

  • Be open to exploring opportunities that may not align perfectly with your initial career vision.
  • Stay flexible and view detours as opportunities to acquire new skills and experiences that will enhance your overall employability – read more about this in our squiggly careers blog post.
  • Develop a versatile skillset that would be valuable in different job roles.

Continuous learning

  • Stay updated on industry trends.
  • Invest time in developing your skillset, and enrol in relevant courses on platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Forage or Coursera to enhance your skill set.
  • This will showcase your commitment to personal development, but it will also set you apart as a proactive and motivated candidate.

Actionable advice to develop career resilience when starting your career:

Cultivate a growth mindset:

  • Embrace the initial learning curve as you enter the workforce.
  • View failures and challenges as opportunities for growth; analyse what went wrong, identify areas for improvement and use this information to help you get it right next time.
  • Seek feedback and use it constructively.

Build a strong professional network and support system:

  • Seek out mentors within your organisation and connect with colleagues.
  • Consider joining professional associations related to your field.
  • Leverage online platforms for networking and learning, including LinkedIn and Bristol Connects.
  • Attend industry events to build your professional network.
  • Use this network to gain guidance, insights, and a sense of community as you begin life in a professional landscape.

Set realistic goals:

  • Break down your career aspirations into achievable, realistic goals.
  • Use tools like Notion or Asana to help organise your professional tasks and track your progress.
  • Celebrate all your victories, especially the small ones.

Continuous learning:

  • Invest time in developing your skillset to support a move within your organisation or elsewhere.
  • Pursue certifications if they are relevant to your industry and career.
A group of people walking up a spiral staircase

Whether you’ve just stepped into the workplace or are sending out job applications, developing career resilience could be the key to your success. Although resilience isn’t a skill; it’s a mindset that could shape the trajectory of your professional journey.

By embracing challenges, cultivating a growth mindset, and staying adaptable, you can set yourself up for success in an ever-changing world. Your ability to bounce back could be just as important as your technical skills.

So, embrace the learning curve, set realistic goals, and have the confidence to embark on a career filled with growth, change and success.