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Tips and Advice for Dealing With Rejection When You're Job Hunting
byBonnie Swain SchindlyMay 01, 2014
Job hunting can be frustrating and sometimes demoralizing when you feel you’ve taken all the right steps but still haven’t received an offer. Human resources professionals agree that your best strategy is to march forward and recognize that rejection is a normal part of any job search. Instead of over-analyzing why a company may not have been interested in hiring you, shift your energies toward staying upbeat during your search.
A job candidate needs to let go of blame and guilt when she’s not hired for a job. “You can’t take it personally. It’s business,” says Teri Wheeler, senior manager of talent acquisition for World Fuel Services in Miami. Many hiring decisions are based on finding the applicant with the right chemistry who will be a good fit for the position as well as the organizational culture. When a hiring manager decides he connects with someone other than you, that decision cannot be taken as a judgment against your self-worth, says Wheeler. She compares a job hunt with going to a cocktail party and hoping you are going to fit in with other guests. “You can’t ever really anticipate who you’re going to click with, but you can’t take it personally,” she says.
People often attach their personal worth to their professional roles, which makes a rejection letter during a job hunt tough to swallow. “We live in a world where everyone wants to know what you do for a living,” says Wheeler. “We equate a lot of our identity with what we do, even though it’s not necessarily the right thing.” Instead of feeling dejected, take inventory of your strengths and remind yourself of all that you’ve accomplished during your career. Working moms, especially women who are re-entering the workplace after raising kids, need to remember that motherhood is one of the toughest jobs because they’ve got to be nurturers, teachers, caregivers and a lot more for their families, Wheeler says. Looking at a broader picture of your personal achievements can be reassuring when you’re feeling dismissed as a job seeker.
Put your best pitch in your resume. A recruiter typically has about 30 seconds to glance over your document. Common mistakes like a mishmash of font sizes or poorly constructed sentences sabotage your chances of being contacted for an interview, says Wheeler. Take time to analyze and rewrite your resume so it stands out from other applicants. In addition, Susan Adams, writing in Forbes.com, suggests turning the traditional thank-you letter after your interview into an influence letter by reiterating all the reasons why you’re the best candidate for the job. Use that correspondence to sell yourself again, even though you’ve already met with the hiring managers. If your writing skills are weak, find a family member or friend with excellent wordsmith talents to assist you.
Surrounding yourself with other people is sometimes good therapy when you receive a rejection notice. Confide in family members and friends who’ve also pounded the pavement only to come away empty-handed. Join a local job search or networking group. These interactions demonstrate that rejection is a natural part of the process of finding employment. Recruiters themselves have the same personal challenges when looking for work, says Wheeler. Even though her typical workday is consumed with finding candidates to fill her company’s open positions, she says she’s had to learn throughout her career to take it in stride when her own employment interviews did not lead to an immediate job offer.