Rejection is inevitable in the job search process. Yet when it happens, we often hold ourselves back from continuing our efforts. It’s easy to go into the victim mode and feel like sorry for ourselves, defeated, and hopeless. Today I’m going to talk through a few practical tips for handling rejection in your job search so that you’re able to rebound from rejection when it happens. Feel free to watch the video below or continue reading along!
Practical Tips for Handling Rejection in Your Job Search
Expect Rejection During Your Job Search
Let’s start by talking about rejection and why everyone will experience it. I want to share some stats really quickly because I think this might help you put things into perspective.
According to Glassdoor, one out of 250 applicants will get a job. That means for every job that is posted, 249 people minimum are going to be rejected. If you go into your job search thinking that it’s always going to be 100% yes, 100% offers and 100% response rates, you are setting yourself up for a lot of heartache. So just take that into consideration and know that at the end of the day, the job search is a bit like a numbers game. But at the same time, you can greatly improve your numbers by implementing smart strategies. (P.S.- I have a free resource library full of strategies for you! Click here to get access for free.) But ultimately, no matter how great you are, you will likely be facing some rejections at some point during your job search. So let’s just set the expectation to receive rejections from the get-go so that you aren’t blindsided when it does happen.
Don’t Take Rejections Personally
Now that we’ve normalized rejection, let’s make sure we’re not taking rejections too personally. At the end of the day, rejection itself isn’t bad. But what hurts us is the meaning that we assign to the rejection. Rejection is an outcome, right? And the feeling associated with rejection is typically discouragement or frustration or inadequacy. Those feelings are determined by the thought we assign to that outcome, right? A lot of job seekers I speak with, for instance, take rejection to mean they’re not good enough, they’re not a top candidate, or somebody else out there is better than them. It’s really the thoughts rather than the actual rejection that are creating painful feelings of inadequacy.
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As a former recruiter, I have interviewed literally thousands of people and hired thousands of people. That means I have rejected tens of thousands of people for every thousand that I have hired. I want you to know from a recruiter’s perspective that there are so many factors that go into the job search that are out of the candidate’s control. We’ve all heard of nepotism, we’ve all heard of internal candidates getting the job. We’ve all heard of people who have been referred in who snagged the job offers, which by the way is in your control and you can definitely do that. But ultimately at the end of the day, the hiring decision is made for a number of reasons, many of which don’t actually have to do with the candidate directly. It’s your job to make sure you don’t take that personally to mean there’s something innately wrong with you.
However, if you went to the interview and fell short on something that was in your control, it’s a bit different. Let’s say you showed up to the interview five minutes late, you sent a resume with a typo, or you were flustered with the interviewer and that came out. Those are things that you can take as learning opportunities and move forward with your job search so that you can become better. It can be very helpful to identify the aspects you do have control over, like your attire, your interview preparation, or your time management on the day of the interview, for example, and work on doing the best you can with those things. But ultimately I want to make sure that you don’t take rejection to be personal and that you are setting the expectations to receive rejections because that’s just what’s going to happen during the cycle.
Reframe Rejection Positively
My third tip is to ensure that you’re taking what is happening and reframing it in a way that still leaves you with power. So for instance, if you are getting rejected and you’re saying it means that you’re not good enough, how can you reframe that? You can always reframe what is happening and step into taking ownership of what’s in your control. Because the truth of the matter is that we always have a choice in how we want to proceed. When we sit there wallowing in a victim mentality, we’re always going to find evidence to support whatever negative belief we’re adopting. Having a victim mentality means you see everything that happens as evidence that the world is against you and that you are always suffering at the hands of bad luck. Do any of the statements below resonate with you?
“I knew it. This always happens. I don’t know why I can’t just catch a break.”
“This is never going to work. I might as well just give up now.”
“Why me? This is not fair.”
This type of thinking is easy to fall into, and trust me when I say it will suck you into a cloud of constant negativity. It’s much easier to believe these negative things are true than to push past your fear and dare to hope that something better is out there. If you’re stuck in a pattern of bitterness and negativity, the first thing to do is repair is your thought process. I encourage you to challenge those negative thoughts and bring them out into the light. There’s a reason the first thing I work on with every single one of my clients is their mindset and confidence. Your mind is incredibly powerful, so be sure that power is directed towards positive, confident and hopeful beliefs. If you need some ideas, you can start by downloading my list of job search affirmations and mantras in my free resource library to jumpstart your positive thinking.
Understand That Everything is Happening For You, Not Against You
The job search process can start to feel really defeating, especially if you’ve been getting rejection after rejection after rejection or stepping out of your comfort zone and not hearing anything positive back. That can be really stifling and discouraging. But I wanna just give you this perspective that everything is working for you, not against you. Let me give you an example of what I mean. I had a client who had been job searching for an entire year before she reached out to start working with me. At that point, she was convinced that she was unemployable. Every time she went into an interview, she would get to the final round stages only to find they went with another candidate.
Prior to being laid off, she had been working with one company for the past 11 years and as a result, she was not comfortable with networking. She was not comfortable with interviewing, didn’t have an elevator pitch, and didn’t even have a polished resume in place. So as she was going through her job search cycle with me, she started to recognize everything as a learning opportunity. While going into interviews she didn’t care about as much, she practiced answering important interview questions. By the time she actually went in to interview for her dream job, she had tons of experience conducting interviews and that ultimately made a huge impact on her confidence and presence. She ended up landing her dream job and said something very interesting to me. She told me that if she had gone into her dream job interview right after being laid off, she would have completely bombed it. She actually attributed landing her dream job to the experience she gained during the entire job search process, which involved many rejections!
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I have so many clients who think that they’re interviewing for their dream job and get rejected only to get redirected to a job that ends up being their ultimate dream job. This happens all the time! So take that all into consideration as you look at your rejections and evaluate what negative thoughts you’re assigning to the rejection. How true are your thoughts after a rejection? And if they’re not true, how can you reframe them with the belief that rejection can propel you in the right direction for the ultimate job offer that really counts?
As you continue to progress in your job search, remember that rejection is not permanent. Remember that what counts infinitely more than rejection is what you do after experiencing it. I hope this article helped prepare you for handling rejection in your job search, as this is an inevitable part of the process. Be sure to check out my free resource library for access to some really helpful job search tools. And if you feel that more high-touch support would be beneficial to you at this point in your job search, feel free to apply to work with me.