A job search is like a rollercoaster. One day you’re down, the next day you’re up. The idea of an optimal job search is to be up more than down, however, you’re not going to win the race in every interview. You will be number two, number three, or number four, and that is not a good feeling.
Job search rejection can bring on a negative mindset, but think of it this way: the more rejections you get, the closer you are to a win.
It’s like a hockey draft. Some hockey players come out of the AHL and are determined to play for the Maple Leafs, but they don’t always get chosen by the Leafs. Do they feel dejected? Of course they do, as does everyone when they’re not selected by their number one choice. But they play their best for whatever team they end up with.
If you’re struggling to cope with job search rejection, here are five tips that can help:
- Use the rejection to get better. Potential employers are sometimes willing to discuss why you weren’t chosen for the job, which can help you understand the situation better. Often these decisions are nothing against you; you just weren’t the right fit at that time. At least you got an interview, which is far more than some other people who weren’t even called. That says something very positive about you.
- Move on. It can be disheartening to be rejected, and can send you wondering, “Why me?” especially if you’ve recently been terminated and you’re still dealing with that. The only way to get through this is to face the music and move on.
- Find champions to support you. Rally your friends and family and consider hiring a career coach to help steer you in a more positive direction, where you will win. All of these people can provide solace and comfort, and offer insights about why the opportunity wasn’t for you.
- Keep trying. No one wants to be rejected again and again, but you just have to conquer that fear and keep putting yourself out there by applying to jobs and tapping into your network.
- Never burn your bridges. Maintain a dialogue with the potential employer because you never know when a job that matches your skills will come up. I had one client who was re-hired by the same employer six times after being terminated. Always be professional and never bad-mouth an employer. Stay professional and don’t leave a trail of digital dirt.
When you’re in career transition, rejection is part of the process. You have to embrace and accept the fact that people aren’t going to select you as their number one pick every time. You are still the number one person in charge of your career.