How to handle job search rejection

Job seekers often have to deal with a lot of job search rejection that can wear at you and cause a lot of pain and anguish, which in turn can affect your job search, because it’s harder to feel confident when you’re feeling rejected and sad.

Here are a few ways to handle job search rejection without letting it destroy you.

Acknowledge it and accept the rejection.

Sometimes rejection is clear cut. Other times – maybe even most times in the job search – it comes in the form of ghosting. In other words, even if you don’t get a clear and formal rejection or hear from someone within a reasonable amount of time, you should consider yourself rejected. You might as well acknowledge it, as this is the first step to moving past it.

Sit with it.

Take a moment to sit with the rejection and feel whatever you need to feel. Let yourself feel the disappointment, frustration, anger and sadness that comes with being rejected. Observe these feelings and allow yourself to have them. If you don’t, they can surface later and attack you. They still might do that, but it might not be as bad. Feeling your negative feelings will help you get over them. But then, you’ll have to put those feelings aside and get back up again.

Talk to someone.

Talk to a friend or family member if this is available to you. Complain bitterly about your situation. Rant and rave against the unfairness. Ask for insight on how you might improve things and avoid further rejection.

Remind yourself that it’s part of the process.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of people apply for each job. And the company only needs one person. Literally, almost everyone get rejected. It’s hard but it’s to be expected.

Remind yourself that it only takes one “yes.”

We might get rejected by hundreds of people but it only takes one person to say “yes” instead of “no,” and you should not let go of the belief that that person is out there.

Don’t take it personally.

Take nothing in life personally. This is one of the hardest things you have to accept, but it’s not really about you. Everyone is the protagonist in their own story. The hiring manager who turned you down is the protagonist in theirs, and they didn’t hire you for their own reasons, which are about them, not you.

Learn from it.

What can you learn from this rejection? Can you improve your use of keywords, strengthen your resume, do better research on the company you’re applying to? Maybe the lesson is to shift your focus, look for a different type of job, or improve your skillset. I don’t know. But you should be able to figure it out if you think about it.

Always be learning and improving.

You should always be learning, reading, and adding to your knowledge base and skillset. This will make you more hireable and also keep you busy,  so you can avoid focusing on how unfair the world is and how everyone in it is terrible.

Stay busy.

When you keep improving your knowledge and skillset you’ll feel better, and also be keeping busy so you can avoid focusing on how unfair the world is and how everyone in it is terrible. Also keep busy with friends and family, and consider volunteering for a cause you support. This has the added benefit of expanding your network and looking good on a resume.

At the end of the day, you can’t avoid rejection but you can soften its blow by taking the above steps, and hopefully be ready to face whatever comes next.

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