It might feel as if you’ve sent out a thousand resumes and applications, made it to the first stage of a hundred interviews. If you still don’t have a job despite all of the efforts you’ve put in, it’s only natural to be upset. The key is turning that frustration into something more productive and never giving up. After all, J.K. Rowling was turned down by 12 different publishers in presenting the first Harry Potter book, and Walt Disney was supposedly denied funding from around 300 different banks when he first tried to finance Mickey Mouse. Can you imagine what the world would look like today if these two greats hadn’t persevered after a few rejections? You, too, can power through - it just takes the right mindset.
Below, we’ve accumulated tips on how to put yourself in the right frame of mind to overcome job rejection.
One of the most important mental aspects behind job hunting is not pinning all of your hopes on one job. It’s easy to think “this job is absolutely perfect for me,” but if rejected, this type of thought can lead to depression. Instead of applying for the “perfect job,” try your best not to rank your applications until an answer is confirmed.
Hearing ‘no’ is always difficult. A simple way to make a ‘no’ more livable is by mentally turning it into something more positive. Rather than viewing a ‘no’ as a rejection, reframe it as putting you one step closer to a ‘yes.’ Keeping this Pollyanna mindset is sure to be challenging, but it certainly makes it easier to continue pushing forward on the job search.
Finally, in order to maintain a positive attitude, it’s critical to avoid blaming yourself for every ‘no.’ Just because you weren’t accepted for a job doesn’t make it your own fault; perhaps someone else was a better personality fit, the job was filled internally, or maybe the company cut back and ended up not filling the position at all. Because you are unlikely to discover the circumstances behind who (if anyone) received the position for which you applied, don’t berate yourself for things that are out of your control.
Although it’s important to not be upset with circumstances out of your control, it’s also important to recognize exactly what is within your control. If you receive a rejection after an interview that went well or an application that you felt was a particularly good fit, don’t be afraid to email the job coordinator asking for feedback. It’s perfectly acceptable to want to know what you can do better in future interviews - even if those interviews take place with an entirely separate company.
Steve, a Hiring Expert from Caterpillar, Inc. perfectly explains the best way to follow up with a contact: “I would first follow-up with an e-mail. This note should thank them for meeting with you and express that you found their guidance very helpful and are ready to progress forward with your job search. If after a couple of weeks they still do not respond, then follow up with a phone call. Again, the tone of the call should be grateful for any guidance or direction that they can provide.”1 Your interviewer might be busy enough that he or she doesn’t have time to respond to your email, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
One thing you can control: how prepared you are for an interview. While you’ll feel silly, practicing answering potential interview questions on camera or in front of a mirror can be a great benefit to your job search. By doing so, you’ll not only gain practice developing a strong answer for routine questions, but you’ll also be able to view your posture and how your body moves as you speak. This will clue you in on anything that you might need to change.
If the job search begins to seem overwhelming, it might be time to take a breather. Stepping away from a problem almost always helps put it in perspective and makes it easier to find a solution. One note of caution: it’s crucial to not postpone the search for more than a few days - otherwise it’s all too easy to lose momentum.
Remember: when a door closes, somewhere else a window opens. Maintain a positive attitude and keep searching for your window. You will #getthatjob, it’s just a matter of time. And when you do, it’ll feel that much sweeter.