The uncertain state of the economy and questions about the future have made today’s job market difficult to navigate. But with the right mindset and tools, it is possible to navigate the uncertainty. One good starting point is the PERMA resilience framework, a strategy developed by positive psychologist Martin Seligman.

PERMA is an acronym for five essential elements of well-being and resilience: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. By understanding each component, you can enhance your job search experience and foster continued progress.

  • Positive Emotions (P): During a demanding job search, it’s essential to maintain a positive outlook. Focus on your accomplishments, capitalize on your strengths, and practice gratitude. A positive mindset will empower you to face your job search with confidence.
  • Engagement (E): It is crucial to fully commit to tasks that demand your focus during your job search. Embrace activities such as refining your resume, optimizing your LinkedIn presence or acquiring new skills relevant to your industry. The resulting sense of control and purpose will enhance your resilience.
  • Relationships (R): Your career success relies on your ability to forge strong relationships with colleagues, peers and industry leaders. Leverage your network during your job search and rely on their encouragement and resources. A robust support system is invaluable in maintaining resilience amidst the inevitable challenges that come when seeking a new job.
  • Meaning (M): It is also important to align your work with your core values and purpose. Seek opportunities that resonate with your personal convictions, whether through volunteering, joining professional organizations or attending networking events. A sense of meaning will motivate you and fortify your resilience.
  • Accomplishment (A): Set realistic yet ambitious goals for your job search and acknowledge your progress and milestones. Recognizing these accomplishments bolsters your self-confidence and reinforces your resilience. Break down your objectives into manageable tasks and keep track of your progress to maintain motivation.

To apply the PERMA resilience framework:

  • Assess your current well-being in each of the five PERMA elements and identify areas that need improvement.
  • Devise a plan to incorporate activities that foster positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment into your job search routine.
  • Periodically evaluate your progress, adjusting as necessary to maintain a balanced focus on all five elements of the PERMA framework.
  • Seek resources and support that can augment your well-being and resilience throughout your job search journey.

In addition to the PERMA framework, there are several practical resources that can also help you navigate the job market during these challenging times.

First, it’s important to master the emotions that can arise during a job search. In her book Take Control of Your Job Search!: 10 Emotions You Must Master to Land the Job, Lauren Herring identifies ten key emotions that can impact our job search success, including fear, anxiety, and frustration. By mastering these emotions and learning to manage them effectively, we can approach the job search process with a clear and focused mindset.

Other books, such as Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers – and Seize Success by Dawn Graham and Getting Back to Work: Everything You Need to Bounce Back and Get a Job After a Layoff by Linda K. Rolie, can also provide valuable insights and strategies for job seekers. The Switchers”focuses on career changers and provides a step-by-step guide for those looking to transition to a new field. Getting Back to Work provides a comprehensive guide for those who have experienced job loss, including advice on resume writing, interviewing and networking.

When you’re ready to reach out for assistance, Alumni Career Services is a great place to start; access to career coaches like myself and others can help you create clarity around your career objective, develop a networking-based strategy connecting you to the companies you’re most interested in, work on your marketing assets (resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile), and provide interview prep when you reach that stage.

Navigating the job market during challenging times can be difficult, but by building resilience and using the right resources, Darden alumni can find success in any job market.