Starting a new job search takes a lot of careful preparation. From cleaning up your documents, contacting references, and researching the ideal target companies, the search is an involved process. One additional preparation job seekers need to make is to learn how to deal with the inevitable rejection that will occur.
With the sheer amount of open positions available and the ease of applying for jobs online, rejection isn’t just a possibility—it’s an inevitability. You will face some rejection in your search, and that’s alright. We’ve previously covered how to handle compounding rejection. We’ll take things a step further and analyze how you can mentally prepare for rejection down the road so you can tackle your job search with a clear heart.
Understand outside factors
The first key to facing later rejection is understanding that there are plenty of outside factors that will lead to rejection that have nothing to do with your qualifications. Realizing that your rejection isn’t personal will go a long way toward a healthy mindset.
Team Interview Kickstart mentions that internal candidates may already be the favorite for a position or that another candidate may have already impressed the team. Someone may have a connection in the building you don’t.
“Try not to take it personally! I know that’s easier said than done, but it may have nothing to do with you. Lots of companies have internal candidates these days and are simply required by law (I think) to post publicly.” –Jocelyn Lyons
The only thing you can do is be as prepared as possible and hope you’re getting a fair chance. Update your resume, talk to your network, and find answers to any interview questions you think might come up.
Job seekers will often attempt a volume-based approach and heavily rely on Easy Apply methods to try to get their foot in the door. This can actually be counter-intuitive and set you up for needless rejection down the road.
Career coach Emily Liou refers to this technique as “throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks” and says that it can eventually lead to discouragement down the road. More applications mean more chances, but it also means much more rejection.
It’s better to take a targeted approach in your method. Liou says to ask yourself deep questions about yourself and what you’re looking for in your next job and to narrow down your focus to jobs that mutually fit both parties. This allows you to take a more meaningful approach and target your resume to those jobs.
Accept the challenge
We all handle adversity in different ways. Some people can thrive in the face of rejection and overcome obstacles while others struggle. Thankfully, it’s possible to change your mindset and approach the challenge.
Forbes’ Jack Kelly says to learn how to let rejection stoke your passion for your work. A rejection could challenge you to try harder next time or to find new ways to showcase your passion. It can challenge you to be better in your next interview so that when you find the right job, you’ll be the best version of yourself. Learn how to go the extra mile, and it will benefit you in the long run.
“A Jedi-type mind trick is to feel that if you can rebound from a setback, still feel fine and have the people you love still care for you.” –Jack Kelly
Life is going to throw plenty of curveballs your way, and not just at work. The past few years have been particularly challenging as we’ve dealt with the pandemic and the follow-up. Resilience is one of the most sought-after skills by hiring managers, and it’s a key component of learning how to overcome rejection.
Jess Amy Dixon says that the best way to build resilience is to learn how to build yourself up. Even if you’re naturally a pessimist, there are simple activities you can partake in to remind yourself of your accomplishments and build confidence.
As a starting point, Emily Loiu recommends creating a “brag list” of all of your accomplishments so that you can look back on it when things are feeling rough. Having tangible reminders of what you bring to the table will help you internalize those accomplishments and feel stronger.
Rejection may be inevitable, but it certainly stinks! But understanding that you will face rejection and learning how to face it head-on is crucial to finding success down the road. These mental strategies will help you overcome rejection, but, ultimately, you have to do the work and find what works for you.