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5 Tips to Help You Cope with Job Search Rejection

bratty_girl_blog.jpgNo matter what walk of life, college application, the graduate fellowship, the first job, or letter to the editor, we have all experienced rejection. Given all the hard work and effort it’s hard not to take it personally.

Searching for a job can easily look like a scene from the movie. “He’s Just Not That Into You”.  Spoiler alert: in this star-studded movie cast, the main characters follow their respective love interest around like lost puppies. In the end, some of them catch the bait, while others painstakingly realize it was never worth the hunt to start with. 

Isn't that the beauty and mystery of job searching? You play by all of the rules in an effort to find, attract and secure that dream boat job. You meticulously write, proof, and re-write the perfect resume. Both your cover letter and LinkedIn profile are up-to-date and looking their Sunday best. You spend hours tediously prepping for the interview. And then, like an anvil falling from a roadrunner cartoon, boom, the rejection letter strikes. Ouch!


Don't Hate the Players, Hate the Game 

With all of that time, effort and energy invested in this job prospect, it's hard to not take it personally. Especially when your rejection letter is cold, vague and in your opinion, unwarranted. You recount every detail in the interview. Did I talk to much? Too little? How wasn't I the right fit; that job description was made for me! 

Before you drive yourself one-way into crazytown, take a moment and breath. Like nearly every life event, like finding a home or starting a family, your job search is going to take longer than you think.

Now, depending on your demographic, this may or may not come as a shock to you, but a lot has changed about finding a job. Here are some of the most common overlooked areas during a typical job search. 


  • The days of wrapping up the hiring process in a few weeks are long gone 
  • You need to show more than your qualifications 
  • The process is gone digital 
  • Hiring managers are looking for experts; making it hard to change careers
  • Be prepared to put your skills to use during the interview 



I know what you're thinking, "But, I've got all of that and then some. They should want me!"  Maybe, but consider only 2% of applicants actually get asked to interview. Like dating, your job search may be more of a numbers game then it is a congeniality contest. So hang in there, and remember these 5 tips to help you move past your rejection, and on to the next one. 


Don’t Take it Personally

It sounds trite but it’s true. HR managers sift through dozens of applications weekly if not daily. Not only do they have stacks of paper to organize and prioritize, they also have the mission of finding the candidate that best fit their needs. On top of the other duties required in their day. From that angle, it’s not personal its daunting.


Build Perspective

This is not only to empathize with your potential employers it is also to give you peace of mind. Rarely do job offers come over night. They take time. Step back and give yourself space. Don’t be frazzled by an immeasurable sense of urgency. It's only going to upset you. View it as a potential opportunity. Apply. Do your best. Create distance. In other words, focus on process and not results. It sounds a bit awkward but it is helpful. If you focus on process, you cast a wider net and set more realistic expectations. It makes the rejection hurts less because you are actively applying for multiple opportunities.


Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

It will happen. People will reject you. They will reject you for many different reasons; some you may be able to deduce others you will not. That is completely out of your control. What you do know is how valuable you are. You know what you bring to the table your personality, work ethic, and expertise. Don’t be distracted by the things you can’t control, and instead be proud of things you can control.


Create Dialogue

Everyone thinks about the follow up to secure the job. There is also a need for follow up after a rejection. It is feedback. For many people that’s salt in the wound. It was for me. The rejection was already a kick to the pride, but feedback? The last thing anyone wants to hear is a long list of their inadequacies. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way but you need the feedback. These are flags to help you adapt and improve. It ties back into building a good perspective.


One Company’s Rejection is another Company’s Offer

Rejections are similar to bad ideas. We hope, they fail, and we take what we can from it and move on. No matter how many rejections you receive one offer blows all of that out of the water. The one thing we’re willing to bet on falls through and makes room for something better.        


Kabria Rogers is a writer, reader, and daydreamer. She is a former desk jockey who writes full time. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter.

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