resilient job search

How your strength(s) of character can help you in job search

Keeping yourself going in job search is a challenge at the best of times but especially in the current climate when unemployment levels have sky-rocketed.

In the same way that businesses and organisations are having to find ways to be resilient in the face of constant and rapid change, you too have to be resilient in order to sustain your own ‘business operations’. You can do this by being responsive to what employers need, adaptable, and willing to learn.

Each of these attitudes can be strengthened by certain capacities that you have deep within you: your character strengths. In previous periods of adversity, you’ve always pulled through one way or another and it will have been your strengths of character that enabled this. Have you ever considered what these are?

Introducing your strengths of character

The VIA Institute on Character is at the forefront of research into human flourishing. Its inventory of strengths is a classification of 24 positive characteristics that enable us to function at our best.

Each ‘strength’ is a capacity that we can tap into when we need to, and we all have several that really define us as individuals.

The more we can express these qualities in our lives and work, the more we can flourish as human beings. Their expression results in positive emotions, boosts engagement in day-to-day life and work, strengthens relationships, contributes to a sense of meaning, and enables us to achieve what feels important in our lives.

The following list provides a flavour of how your strengths of character can help you now as you search for work:

Hope: looking to the future, knowing things will work out, and keeping the end result in mind.

Perseverance: pushing ahead when obstacles arise; not giving up.

Creativity: coming up with new ideas & trying new approaches.

Perspective: looking at things from different angles; seeing the bigger picture.

Judgement: gathering information and weighing it up to plan your next steps.

Curiosity: asking ‘What if…?’ How about…? Maybe I could consider…?’ ‘Who might know about…?’

Bravery: having the courage to reach out to strangers even when that feels hard.

Humility: adopting a beginner’s mind when you arrange an informational interview with someone so that you can learn as much as possible from their experience.

Honesty: being true to yourself and authentic in all your communications with others.

Forgiveness: letting go, learning & moving on when rejection comes.

Self-regulation: being consistent in your job-searching activity.

Appreciation of beauty & excellence: identifying, acknowledging & valuing your strengths & uniqueness as an individual; ensuring you put together top notch applications for jobs.

Fairness: setting reasonable expectations for what you can achieve & by when.

Gratitude: recognising how much help is out there and thanking all those who help you on your journey.

Humour: remembering life’s not worth living if you can’t relax and have some fun.

Kindness: being kind & compassionate to yourself when it doesn’t all go to plan.

Leadership: taking ownership of your job search project; recognising you’re the boss and if you don’t do it, no-one else will.

Love: acknowledging that many others are in the same boat; expressing warmth & offering encouragement to fellow travellers.

Spirituality: digging deep to understand who you are, what you have to offer, what you want to offer, and why; clarifying your sense of purpose.

Love of learning: recognising that every experience you’re having is an opportunity for growth that can only benefit you in the longer term.

Prudence: when it comes to planning & making decisions about next steps, asking yourself: “Will this help me get to get to where I want to be?”

Social intelligence: tuning in to people on an an interview panel so that you can learn as much as possible about their motivations and needs.

Teamwork: researching thoroughly the work of an organisation and considering how you can best contribute given what you know about and can do.

Zest: embracing the journey with enthusiasm and tapping into your energy reserves when you need an extra boost.

If you’d like to find out what your top strengths of character are, you can take the VIA Character Strengths survey for free here:

And if you’d like to find out more about adopting a strengths-based approach to your career, please feel free to send me a message. We can have an initial chat to discuss where you are now and where you’d like to be.

Alternatively, you can download my free brochure on ‘How to Choose a Career Coach’.

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