Resilience in Your Job Search

I talk to a lot of job seekers – passive and active. The active seekers I know in this market are a combination of anxious, tired, frustrated, hopeful, and resilient. Obviously, everyone experiences these emotions at various levels on different days. Sometimes, they come all at once too. Read on to uncover some ideas to help you stay focused and hopeful for a positive outcome.  

 Today, one of my favorite podcasts (Terrible Thanks for Asking) featured an episode on why Resilience isn’t always the answer and often can make us feel like Sisyphus pushing an enormous rock up the endless mountain! Listen in here: The Resilience Myth on TTFA featuring Soraya Chemaly. If you’re not familiar with the myth of Sisyphus (where were you in freshman year English?), it’s from the story of Homer’s Iliad and tells the tale of a cunning man who tried to cheat death and was destined to a life of punishment pushing a rock up a hill for eternity… in a nutshell. Learn more here: Enough with the links and the Greek mythology lesson… let’s get to it!  

Resilience is one of those words that can be a double-edged sword. Of course, we want to persevere and push through the tough times, but we also need to be realistic about reviewing whether we’re on the right path. Being resilient in your job search doesn’t mean sending 100s of applications each week and hoping for the best. Being resilient in your job search doesn’t mean waiting patiently (or indefinitely) for the perfect opportunity to come along.  

Resiliency in your job search, from my Recruiter’s view, is staying focused on what you ultimately want while keeping an open mind to finding the right opportunity for right now. Doing the activity to open doors and work toward your goals without losing your momentum by pushing mindless activity.  

Today’s job market (I’m writing this in June 2024) is tough despite what the morning news may be reporting. Reviewing the Department of Labor stats published monthly shows the truth – there are fewer new jobs being posted than YoY reports show, quits are down meaning that more people are staying put for longer and not opening the ‘trading seats’ jobs we often see in a good economy. With fewer new budget and replacement roles, there are simply fewer jobs available. And, if you’re holding out for a fully remote job? Bad news, only 13% of jobs and 16% of companies, according to a recent Deloitte study, are being offered fully remote. Meanwhile over 70% of workers say they want a fully remote opportunity.   

So, what should active job seekers (especially those unemployed) be doing in this job market? Below are my Top 3 – add yours to the comments!  

1.Open Your Options.  

You may have a perfect role in mind with specific benefits and compensation. Absolutely, spend a portion of your job search time seeking that role. Also, find your bottom line. What is the minimum compensation you can accept and make ends meet? What skills can you share that perhaps are not your favorite work but get you back to work? I realize this is an unpopular opinion. I’ve simply talked to too many job seekers who are holding out for their dream job while struggling to make a mortgage payment or put food on the table. In those cases, take A job not THE job. If that’s not you and you have the savings to support your search time or are still working in a less-than-ideal role, consider how you can keep your skills sharp for the roles you ultimately want to land. Putting some training time or consulting/volunteer time on your resume will stand out to employers more than a sabbatical.  

2.Network like your career depends on it. (It does!) 

You find an exciting opportunity and apply online. You are NOT done. Now, go to LinkedIn and search for ANYONE you know who is connected to that organization. Reach out and ask for informational interviews, a warm introduction to the hiring manager, or a formal referral to the opportunity. It’s ok to ask your Kevin Bacon level connections to make these introductions through their networks. People love to help; they just need to know how. In addition to this direct, job-specific networking, go to events. Show up at industry events, webinars, happy hours, and job search groups. Let people know what you are looking for and serve as a resource for others. The connections made at these events are part of an overall networking plan. Sign up for at least one event each week if you’re actively searching.  

 3.Use LinkedIn.  

LinkedIn is an active source for professionals to use in their job search and to expand their networks for tons of business needs. Beef up your profile – be sure it has the appropriate keywords and matches your resume with dates and places of employment. It’s not a legal document though so use descriptive job titles if your real job title was a bit ambiguous. Connect to people you know across every area of your life – work, church, volunteer, neighbors, family… everyone! Join Groups for things that interest you and join a handful of large groups (over 100K members) even if they don’t interest you. Group membership gives you access to more people within the network beyond your 3rd level connections allowing you to message any member of a shared group directly and providing more opportunity for you to show up in someone’s search.  

Stay focused. Be resilient. Be like Sisyphus. Apply more. Be patient. Hang in there.  

I hear you. None of these phrases make you feel better if you’re in a long, active search.  

If you find yourself tired, anxious, and ready to throw in the towel, take a break and review your strategy. What can you change to potentially find alternate results?  

If I can remind you of one more platitude… it was Einstein who said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ So, don’t be like Sisyphus, be like Einstein and try something new.  

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