“Thank you for your interest in our company. Unfortunately, you’re not good enough. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. Goodbye, and don’t come back.”
Okay, actual rejection letters are more tactful than all that. Something like “Thanks for your interest but we’ve decided to pursue other candidates.” But it can still feel terrible. You’ve been rejected! Maybe rejected again! You’re bummed out, frustrated, maybe a little hopeless. Will I ever get a job? What if nobody will hire me? How will I pay off this mountain of student debt? What can I do?
Frankly, there’s a lot you can do. Start by taking a deep breath, and then…
1. Get Used To It
For starters, convince yourself that rejection is a normal part of every job search. Because it is! Each company is looking for a different mix of skills, talents and personality, so you won’t be a match for every job you apply for. In fact, you might not be a fit for most of the jobs you apply for. But that’s normal! So don’t let it get you down.
For many people on the job hunt, it can take 3 to 6 months to get hired. At least. But the faster you get used to hearing “Thanks but no thanks,” the faster you can turn your attention to other (better!) opportunities.
2. Learn From It
Even when you’re turned down, you can spin the experience into a learning opportunity. What did you learn about the company? About the industry? What new networking connections did you make? What have you discovered about your skills, compared to what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for?
Don’t think of it as “rejection.” Think of it as “practice.” Leverage every bit of information to hone your resume and interviewing skills, get insight into what employers want, and meet new people in the industry. People that can help you. But only if you pay attention, be honest with yourself and actively learn from the experience.
3. Keep Moving
It’s easy to fall headlong into a negative frame of mind, and stall out on your job search. So learn from it, but don’t dwell on it. Leave those rejection letters in your rear-view mirror. They’re just little speed bumps on the road to the ultimate goal. Remember to focus all of your energy on the one thing you can affect: Your future.
Find new companies to get excited about. Have coffee or lunch with new people to generate new connections and new job leads. Work on a personal project if it makes you happy and will look good on your resume. Do whatever it takes to keep your spirits high and your job search moving forward!
4. Don’t Give Up
A job search is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about endurance and perseverance and succeeding in the long run. Work on your hunt methodically and relentlessly, and you’ll have the best chance of snagging a great opportunity right when it becomes available.
I promise you, there’s an awesome job out there that’s a perfect fit for your skills, talents, and personality. A job that you’ll love. Now quit moping around – get out there and find it!
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