Resilience – how to increase your resilience during your degree
Employers are increasingly saying that resilience is a key skill they are looking for in an applicant. We are living in a world that changes, sometimes dramatically, the Covid-19 pandemic is a real example of this. Because of automation and AI, we know that the labour market and job roles will change in the future. We all need to be able to deal with these changes as positively as we can, be adaptable and overcome challenges without feeling that these challenges are insurmountable, and have strategies in place for doing so. These skills are vital for an employer to seek out in candidates as they are looking for people who can face setbacks head on, without letting it affect their own lives. However, resilience is a learned skill and can be improved in many ways during your degree.
Our colleagues and students have written some great blogs with regards to resilience, writing applications and job hunting, and in addition to the below points, I urge you to read these.
How can you develop your resilience during your degree?
- First of all, reflect on how you overcame challenges in the past, perhaps at school. What did you do when you didn’t get the grade you wanted or maybe didn’t get the spot on the sports team? Are there other personal challenges you had to overcome? Have a think about the strategies that worked then, write them down and try and utilize those skills again as you are certain to meet more challenges at university or in the future workplace.
- Create a community around you. Resilience isn’t just something you need to deal with on your own. Having a supportive network around you will mean that you have someone to talk to when things are tough. Being honest, reflecting on how you are feeling and welcoming support from others will help. If you are a new student, are there societies you can join, or people in your course you can meet up with outside of study? Do you have a specific interest e.g. sport, comedy, film, gaming and can seek out communities both on campus, locally or virtually? Are you regularly talking to friends and family at home? Being resilient is also about seeking support when needed and the skill of seeking support from others will be valuable where ever you end up in the future.
- Take a chance on something that you may feel not good at. University is a good place to try new things. Try a new sport or activity, volunteer for a society role, take on a part-time or volunteering job that maybe seem challenging to you. Just taking this step will increase your resilience and you may learn something positive from these experiences even if you don’t continue doing them.
- Feel useful and give to others by volunteering or mentoring. Not only will this give you more skills, these experiences may increase your feeling of confidence which will help you throughout your degree and in the future. Employers value volunteering and the skills it gives.
- Attend workshops by Student Services on resilience or other useful themes and tools, have a look at this page listing different tools and strategies that can help you see job rejection in a new light, for example. In addition, see if the Careers Service deliver any sessions on how to deal with job rejection or other careers workshops. You may learn some new strategies and be able try out some of them in an informal workshop setting.
- Or my personal tip. Before you go to bed, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself 5 things you did that day that you are proud of. They could be the smallest activity, just going outside for a walk, or texting a friend to tell them you love them or working on one paragraph of a cover letter. The feeling of being proud of these accomplishments, however small or big they are, will strengthen your resilience for the next day.
If you are unsure how to articulate resilience in applications and interviews, book an appointment with one of our advisers. TargetJobs also has a great resource on resilience tips for students and graduates.