The power of perseverance & resilience

Jawan Hussein

Fellow and Features Writer



Resilience is defined as ‘the ability to adapt successfully in the face of stress and adversity’, while perseverance is ‘persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success’. Developing these closely linked essential skills will enhance your self-confidence and create opportunities for you as you become more self-assured in taking risks.

In terms of your job search, perseverance means not giving up on finding the right position for you during difficult periods. Resilience means that, in the face of rejection, you can bounce back and see the prospect for personal development. This article will show you why they are the most valuable skills to have while looking for work and outline steps you can take to develop these characteristics as key factors to your success.

How to apply perseverance and resilience to your job search

1: S.M.A.R.T Goals

When devising a plan, establish Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T) targets! That way you know what you’re working towards is within your abilities and has personal value, so you’re more likely to adhere to the plan. In this case, it’s finding a job that’s right for you!

Be prepared to come across long and daunting applications that could demotivate you and think about how to overcome them, like splitting them into achievable fragments. Spreading out the work allows you to give each section the energy it deserves. As a result, when you submit that application, you will feel much more confident about the work you have put in!

It’s essential to acknowledge that patience is a major component of perseverance and the road to success is riddled with obstacles. Whilst completing lots of applications can help to maximise your reach, focusing on quality over quantity is the real key to improving your chances of landing your dream job.

2: Take Care of Yourself

Perseverance requires energy and effort, so taking care of yourself is essential to being able to persist effectively.

It’s essential to maintain a healthy work/life balance in your weekly plan and, even if you aren’t in employment, follow the working day schedule. Not only will it help you adjust when you do start working, it will also mean you are ‘online’ at the same time as the employers you’re aiming for. Ensure you’re taking adequate breaks between tasks/applications and getting the recommended 7-8 hours sleep to avoid burnout. A balanced diet and regular exercise is proven to be beneficial to both your health and mood. It will help you keep a fresh and focused dynamic to approach your tasks with.

3: Utilising Positivity

Positivity is a helpful companion to both your perseverance and resilience. After all, it’s much easier to sell yourself with an optimistic frame of mind than a negative one. If you’re finding it challenging to get into a confident mind-set, it can help to focus on your accomplishments. Did you recently deliver a speech you were proud of? Did you achieve all your goals for the week? Celebrate those wins, big or small, and with practice you can tap into this skill when you need it most – such as when you’re conducting a phone interview or writing a cover letter.

4: Failure is a totally natural outcome of trying

So, you’ve woken up to a rejection email for a position you really wanted and it diminishes your enthusiasm. Naturally, this can set you back and lessen your excitement in following through with your plan. How do you combat this?

It’s important to accept failure is normal and that resilience here means not giving up on your goals ‘in the face of stress and adversity’. Embracing failure will allow you to take up more opportunities as you start to fear rejection much less and as a result, ‘’no’’ doesn’t have to be the end of your journey.

5: Dealing with rejection – asking yourself the right questions

Rejection can leave us questioning our abilities. It might not be clear at the time, but rejection presents an opportunity to grow. Asking for feedback is one way to see exactly what you need to improve on, but since feedback isn’t always available, what could you do to combat those negative thoughts and extract a useful outcome for your development? Try analysing the outcome with a different point of view. Ask yourself these questions after a set-back to improve your resilience.

Is there something I noticed in my performance that I am not satisfied with?
How could I do it better next time?
What steps can I take to avoid repeating the same mistakes?
What attributes do I need to improve to be successful in my position?
Is there someone I can reach out to for advice or support?

The answers will help you uncover useful information and allow you to deal with rejection from a different perspective.

Inspiration: perseverance and resilience done right

The main component of successful peoples’ inspirational stories is often perseverance and resilience. Pioneering animator Walt Disney had big dreams, but his route to success had many obstacles. After being fired from his dream job as an illustrator, he raised enough money to start a cartoon production company. He signed a contract with a distributer who ended up stealing his work and running away with his business. Despite this, he went on to sign another contract for a cartoon he created with a large broadcasting company. While most people would probably pack up their bags and leave – as the company had secretly patented his work and gave him only 20% of the income it generated – Disney persisted, going on to create ‘Mickey Mouse’ which, despite initial criticism, became the iconic face of Disney today!

If Walt Disney had given up at any of the challenging points he faced prior to Mickey Mouse, there would be no Disney today. The true power of perseverance and resilience grows from your ability to take control during the challenging moments you face, reinforcing your self-belief regardless of the hurdles you face and believing in the potential for growth even when it appears to be the end of the journey. Developing these skills will carry through into your career , help you progress far and seize greater and bigger opportunities!

Some resources if you want to get down to the grit of it.

1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573269/ (Understanding Resilience)
2) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/education-secretary-character-and-resilience-are-key-to-social-mobility (Resilience in social mobility)
3) https://www.storypick.com/inspirational-real-life-stories/
(Celebrities that didn’t take no for an answer)
4) https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?referrer=playlist-the_funniest_ted_talks&language=en#t-488569 (Ted talk – The happy secret to better work)

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