There’s one aspect to job hunting that is just as important as your personal brand, good networking skills and having a good resume. But it’s not nearly as exciting as those. It’s learning how to deal with rejection. Or more importantly, how to turn the disappointment of not getting a job into a positive thing that ultimately helps you earn one down the road. After all, as author Bo Bennett says, “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” So here are four ways you can prove Mr. Bennett correct.
It’s Not Necessarily a Choice Against You
Let’s just get this out of the way first. Getting turned down for a job sucks. There’s no way to sugarcoat it and there’s no reason to. However, it might be helpful to remember that a choice FOR someone else does not mean it’s a choice AGAINST you. For example, a senior executive at a television network in Los Angeles said that ” Someone may be a perfect fit for the job but someone else gets it because I just felt more comfortable with them.” You hear this all the time with hiring managers. It’s akin to saying “I don’t know what it is, but I’ll know it when I see it.” In other words the entire hiring process is completely unscientific. Managers are human just like you. And they have their quirks. So, don’t take it personally and when you get turned down. Keep your emotions in check. Just like in dating: personality and chemistry all matter. And just like in dating, sometimes it not working out is a blessing in disguise.
Was it Something I Said?
Robert Hellmann, a career coach at the Five O’Clock Club, a career counseling firm, who also teaches career development at New York University, advises that you should write not a thank you note but an “influence letter.” In it address any challenges that the company is facing that you talked about during the interview. Then describe similar challenges you’ve tackled at a previous job and how you dealt with them. If you’ve been told there’s a specific issue with your candidacy, address it head-on. Ask for feedback. While an employer may not always respond, it never hurts to ask. They might offer you valuable insights into what you can do to improve your chances in the future. Turn a perceived weakness into a strength.
Just because the hiring manager didn’t hire you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still keep in touch with them. Remember the saying, (ABN) Always Be Networking. This especially includes situations like this. Connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn, send them an email regarding pertinent information, and even apply to another position when one becomes available. Of course, a lot of this depends on how well the interview went in the first place. But the point is to never let a good connection go to waste.
Don’t Ever Give Up
The most important thing you can do is not quit. Rejection can be discouraging, and it can push many people away and cause them to lose focus on what they want to accomplish. Mishandling rejection during your job search may lead you to a feeling of “It’s not worth it,” which can lead to dropping your hunt. And you most certainly wouldn’t be alone in that feeling. According to the Department of Labor, 63% of Americans remain out of the workforce. This high rate could mean that a lot of people have simply given up looking for work. But even briefly quitting your job search might force you to miss out on a variety of opportunities. Think of it this way: a shark has to keep moving to stay alive. If the shark stops swimming, the shark stops breathing. As difficult as it may be sometimes, you also must keep moving. Keep applying for positions, tweaking your resume, and working your network. Your biggest threat in this whole process is stagnation. Not moving only allows the doubt to fester which only begets more negativity in turn. Planning today helps build for tomorrow. (ABS) Always Be Swimming.
Entering the real world is scary. As a recent grad looking for work, it’s important to remember that having a certain amount of fear is healthy. It keeps you on your toes and keeps you moving. But it’s also important to remember that rejection has just as much to do with success than anything else. Learning to harness it and grow from it is what makes you more well rounded. It’s the experience that will ultimately help you get to where you want to go. Your career path is about the journey, not the destination. And seeing rejection as a stepping stone on your journey only helps to reinforce that.