Reflection and resilience – why they’re so important for your career

Reading a recent article in the Guardian titled ‘What doesn’t kill you … why failure is the secret to success’ started me thinking about the roles of resilience and reflection when it comes to your career path.

I also remembered the ‘CV of failures’ written by a Princetown professor, outlining all the failed applications for jobs, grants, funding etc which don’t appear on his professional CV (and realised I too could write something similar about the jobs I didn’t get, interviews that didn’t go well etc).

So as you start on your job-hunting, internship and work experience applications this semester etc, it’s useful to bear in mind that the path to success may not be as smooth as you’d like. The important thing (once you’ve had a good moan about the injustice of the world when you got the rejection email (or even worse, heard nothing at all…..) is to do some objective reflection on your situation.

  • did I really prepare thoroughly for this interview / put enough effort into making the best application I could?
  • am I really suited to such a role – do I really know what’s involved, have I done my research?
  • do I have the necessary experience – or am I prepared to get it?
  • did I get feedback/support from the Careers Service, friends, family, on my application/interview
  • what can I do differently next time – what have I learned from this setback?

All this takes resilience – and you’ll find some tips on dealing with such situations both from recent PPLS graduates Lee and Rosie…..

  • Embrace the mistakes – even the career moves that haven’t worked out for me are ones that I’ve learned a lot from and I’ve met some amazing people. If you find yourself in a job you don’t like, take time to reflect on this and move on, but don’t view it as a failure, view it as an opportunity to learn and improve. Lee Madden, (Philosophy), now management consultant with EY
  • I persevered with job applications even when all I was receiving in turn were rejections, as the application and interview processes I went through have now all given me confidence and skills in the application and interview processes I undergo and perform now.’ Rosie Middlehurst, (Linguistics) – now VSO team leader

….and from the graduate career site Targetjobs .

Pick yourself up, turn that rejection into a learning opportunity, get more support from your network (friends family etc) and the Careers Service, and move on.

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