Dealing with setbacks while job hunting

How do you deal with setbacks and uncertainty? Maybe you’ve had job applications rejected or your career isn’t progressing as planned. If you are employed, you may be dealing with difficult circumstances, colleagues or managers, your job may not be meeting your expectations, or you may have missed out on a well-deserved promotion or recognition.

Resilient people respond to these circumstances by using their adaptability, creativity and problem-solving skills. They see life’s challenges as interesting problems that they need to solve, dealing with uncertainty as something to be faced and to learn from. They can do this because they are prepared to learn, take calculated risks, believe in themselves, and follow their hearts.

Plan your career

Career planning can help you deal with setbacks by keeping you focused on your career goals while you’re working towards them. If you’re not sure of your goals, think about the things that give you meaning, enjoyment and fulfilment. What skills would you like to use? Where would you like to work? The next step is to create an action plan to help you develop your career in manageable steps.

Career Connect conducts regular workshops and information sessions designed to help you with crafting a career plan, enhancing your employability skills and fostering resilience when encountering obstacles. All services are free and can be arranged through Career Gateway.

Reserve your place now

Keep learning

It’s important to continue developing your existing skills but also to identify new skills you could learn. You could participate in professional association conferences and other development events or you could do a short course, a free online course (e.g. to learn about new software or technology), or discuss your options with colleagues.

Online resources

Use your support network

Make use of your support network and offer to do something for someone else. This will:

  • show your commitment to your area of work
  • demonstrate your availability and encourage people to speak well of you
  • help you develop a sense of achievement
  • put you in touch with potential mentors.

Expand your network and learn more about how to get involved with Monash Alumni.

You can take part in your professional association’s development and networking events – this will give you an opportunity to meet and network with people who are interested in the same industry as you.

Seek feedback early and often

Seeking feedback is a good way to learn and it can help you improve the quality of your application documents, career goals and associated strategies.

Maintain good habits

Maintain good habits by spending time with family and friends and doing other activities that you enjoy. Remember to keep setbacks in perspective and evaluate your effectiveness. Decide what you are doing well and what you might do differently next time. And always be kind to yourself by ensuring you control what you can and accept the things you can’t. Practising resilience can help you create your own luck.