Dealing with Rejection

Ok, so you’ve been hit with a string of job rejections, but now’s not the time to blast out ‘Creep’ by Radiohead, bellowing out the words “I wish I was special” as you wallow in a nest of tear-soaked tissues.  Instead, you should be putting on a bit of the old Chumbawumba: “I get knocked down/But I get up again/You’re never going to keep me down.” Yeah?!

Job rejections can be incredibly dispiriting, but unfortunately they’re very much a part of the job hunting process.

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

The first thing you should remember is not to take it personally. Often when companies interview candidates, they are looking for a specific fit or type of person for the role. You might be an excellent applicant, but you might not have the attributes or experience to fit into the company culture. If you aren’t the right fit, then being rejected for a job might be good thing: you could have been unhappy in the role.

Think of it this way: supposing you were casting for gritty film about 80s gang culture, you wouldn’t hire Zac Efron to play the gang leader, but if it was an all-singing, all-dancing production, which needs a snappy, young male lead then you’d hire him in a shot.

Were you honestly right for the job?

Be realistic too. Were you honestly applying for a role that would’ve suited you? Did it really match your level of experience? New graduates and young people often make the mistake of applying for roles that are either too senior or jobs that they’re overqualified for. The latter is particularly dispiriting as it fosters a mentality of: “If I can’t even get a job doing this, then how am I ever going to get a job?” But, in reality, they probably think you’re TOO good for the role and that you’ll shortly leave them for better things.

If you think you would have been perfect for the job and fitted the company like a glove, then it’s their loss. No matter how ‘clinical’ some companies try and make the employment process, interview processes can be flawed. For example, the interviewer might let personal foibles get in the way of selecting the best candidate. They’ve missed out and they should be the ones moping about on the sofa with an extra-large tub of ice-cream.

Job rejection doldrums…

The key thing is to avoid that post-rejection slump. Allow yourself a day to wallow and lament, then get straight back to business. Use the job rejection as a springboard for future job applications. For instance, you should try and get some feedback from the company.

If you weren’t interviewed, then you might need to get someone to look over your CV and job application, or look at it yourself objectively. Channel your ‘inner teacher’ and go over your job application with a red pen, marking out any weaknesses and giving yourself a big fat red tick for anything you think worked.

With a fresh outlook, you can tackle the next bout of job applications head-on. The more job rejections you receive, the more time and effort you should be putting into your job applications. Sending off half-arsed job applications will only stack up the rejections, and increase your malaise.

If things aren’t working and you’ve just received yet another rejection, you might want to think about widening your job search. Perhaps you are being too narrow? Yes, a certain role might be your dream job, but if it’s a really desirable career and you’re having to fight off really stiff competition, you might want to think about widening your search.

Getting a less popular job in a similar area, or a job that calls upon the same skills you’ll need for your dream role, might be the answer. It might equip you with the experience and the skills you’ll need to fire off a world-beating application for your dream job a year down the line.

It’s a lonely process…

Job hunting can be a lonely experience, but it needn’t be. Joining an online community of job seekers, asking your friends, family or acquaintances to help you, or using the expertise of a qualified careers advisor are all ways of making the experience less of a lonely trek. With the proper support around you, you’ll find it easier to bounce back from job rejections.

Another technique of dealing with job rejections is to do something else alongside job hunting that’ll give you a sense of positive achievement. Getting tangible results from something else, whether it’s learning a new language, setting up your own blog, doing an extra hard workout at the gym, will help counter the dissatisfaction of job hunting.

C’est la vie…

Ultimately, rejections are part of life and very much a part of job hunting. Yes, it gets frustrating when companies don’t even have the courtesy to inform you that your application was unsuccessful, but you can’t let it eat away at you. And remember, they’ll be hundreds of other applicants in a similar situation.

That thick skin you develop through job rejections will serve you well when you do eventually get a job. Everyone, and we mean everyone, deals with some form of rejection during their life. If job hunting is really taking its toll, then seek help: whether that’s from a family member, a careers advisors or a counsellor.  Remember, you are not alone. Don’t give up and you’ll get a job eventually.

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