Rejection is one of the hardest things that we encounter in life. It cuts at the very core of our confidence about who we are. During a job hunt, we encounter a lot of rejection. How we choose to manage it and leverage it can be critical to ultimately finding a great new role and feeling chosen and accepted. Below are some tips and TED talks to leverage your fears and help you find joy in your search.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; the job search can be brutal, especially if you are wired for consistency, don’t like to sell yourself, and aren’t a fan of networking. People gravitate to positive people and want to work with confident, optimistic co-workers. Even if your spirit animal is Eeyore, there are some ways to project positivity. Especially before an interview, I recommend Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.”
Recruiters receive hundreds of résumés, and your rejection is generally more about seeing something in the other candidates that stands out versus feeling that you can’t do the job. We pick the candidates whose résumés have the qualifications and/or seem intriguing for the position and make us want to learn more. If you aren’t getting phone interviews, reevaluate your résumé and cover letter and consider hiring a professional résumé writer or career coach.
It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of negativity. “No one wants me. I’ll never get a good job. I’ll never make as much money. They aren’t even reading my résumé.” Resist this urge to undermine your value. No need to demonize the recruiter. They don’t know you and there are many applicants out there. It’s a numbers game and more people will apply than will get the job. Turn this into fuel and power through the search. Learn more in Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk, “Make Stress Your Friend.”
People will ask how it’s going. Remain upbeat and take it as an opportunity to network. Ask them if they know of any companies or contacts you should explore.
Consider writing a thank you note for a rejection. YES! I’ve seen this several times and each and every time, I have pulled the résumé and reviewed it again. I’ve even contacted people for other positions based on their positive and professional notes. Here’s an example of one I received:
“Wow… that was the kindest rejection letter I ever received.
Although I was not chosen to move forward, I must share with you my excitement when I came across your posting; it seemed so fitting for me. And whomever is the lucky candidate…I wish them nothing but the best!
Thank you for keeping my spirits high! I whole-heartedly appreciate your optimistic correspondence and transparency.”
Who wouldn’t want her on their team? This is a great strategy to show your professionalism, thank the recruiter for their time, and express your desire for consideration for other jobs. There are some great tips about verbal communication in Julian Treasure’s TED Talk, “How to Speak So Others Will Listen.”
Get rest, exercise, eat well, and employ the usual self-care techniques. Maybe it’s a candle, some dark chocolate, and a favorite show on Netflix. Meditation, mindfulness practices, positive self-talk, and prayer can do wonders for your attitude, confidence, and even interview preparation. If you want to feel more positive, check out Neil Pasricha’s TED Talk, “The 3 A’s of Awesome.”, and learn more about the growing movement of mindfulness in the workplace in episode 51 of The JoyPowered Workspace Podcast.
There is a job that is right for you. It’s just a matter of finding it and using the above strategies to power through the process. If you feel stuck, consider working with a professional who can help you identify the right strategies, keep you accountable to the process, and position you for success.