Be­ing pos­i­tive pays off

Men­tal and phys­i­cal well­be­ing is vi­tal when search­ing for work

The West Australian - - EMPLOYMENT - Mau­reen Ep­pen

Re­silience is an im­por­tant qual­ity for any job­seeker — par­tic­u­larly dur­ing times when there’s strong com­pe­ti­tion for a lim­ited num­ber of job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The abil­ity to bounce back af­ter re­jec­tion and re­main pos­i­tive when fac­ing re­peated re­jec­tion is vi­tal to the health and well­be­ing of peo­ple seek­ing work.

Ca­reer Wis­dom direc­tor Lois Keay-Smith said job­seek­ers had no con­trol over dif­fi­cult job mar­ket con­di­tions but they did have con­trol over their own at­ti­tude and ac­tions.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant to look af­ter your whole well­be­ing, as it’s easy to get lax and out of rou­tine when not work­ing, which can af­fect sleep, diet, ex­er­cise and so­cial time,” Ms Keay-Smith said.

She helps clients to de­velop strate­gies that help them re­main op­ti­mistic even when times are tough.

“I work with com­pany-sponsored peo­ple via ca­reer tran­si­tion or out­place­ment ser­vices, as well as di­rectly with those seek­ing a new role,” she said.

“The tricky part is that peo­ple seek­ing work are price sen­si­tive and may feel they can’t af­ford pri­vate ca­reer coach­ing — but those who do in­vest in coach­ing find it is very worth­while.”

Ms Keay-Smith also of­fers group work­shops, which cost less than one-on-one coach­ing and she is de­vel­op­ing on­line mod­ules for peo­ple to ac­cess up-to-date and lo­calised in­for­ma­tion at low cost.

She said em­ploy­ers ad­ver­tis­ing po­si­tions could also help to re­duce stress on job­seek­ers, even if only by let­ting ap­pli­cants know whether they had been suc­cess­ful.

“The key is for em­ploy­ers to recog­nise and have em­pa­thy for the plight of those search­ing for work,” she said.

“Job­seek­ers can be vul­ner­a­ble, and em­ploy­ers can show re­spect for the time, ef­fort and cost that peo­ple put into ap­pli­ca­tions and in­ter­views. To me, this is sim­ple busi­ness eti­quette and to do oth­er­wise can dam­age the em­ployer brand of the com­pany.”

Com­pa­nies con­cerned about the cost of re­spond­ing to 100 ap­pli­cants could em­ploy an HR in­tern for a day or use free au­tore­spon­der soft­ware, she said.

Life­style, food and well­ness coach Lauren Howe, founder of The Lit­tle Well­ness Co, works with busy or burnt-out women to help them man­age stress, im­prove mind­set, en­hance self-worth or boost en­ergy lev­els.

“When fac­ing chal­lenges, we can of­ten feel over­whelmed and ex­hausted,” Ms Howe said. “Re­silience is all about adapt­ing well to ad­ver­sity and bounc­ing back from tough sit­u­a­tions. Thank­fully it’s not a trait that you have or don’t have, but a learnt be­hav­iour, thought or ac­tion.”

Af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing a client’s cir­cum­stances and what they hope to achieve, Ms Howe helps them to re­con­nect with their core val­ues, iden­tify their spe­cial strengths, over­come chal­lenges within their sphere of con­trol and re­lease self­lim­it­ing be­liefs or fears.

Ways to build re­silience in­cluded hav­ing a good sup­port net­work and spend­ing time with pos­i­tive peo­ple, set­ting small and re­al­is­tic goals, and nur­tur­ing body and mind through ex­er­cise, healthy eat­ing, sleep­ing well and un­der­tak­ing tasks of self-care, such as mas­sage or spend­ing time in na­ture. Chal­leng­ing neg­a­tive self-talk was also im­por­tant, she said.

“Try to re­place neg­a­tive thought with pos­i­tive and ra­tio­nal thought, such as ‘I can cope with this’, or ‘I am re­silient’,” she said.

Lifestyle, food and well­ness coach Lau­ren Howe helps clients to de­velop re­silience. Pic­ture: Fe­lix Peter

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