How to move past job rejectionSep 01, 2022
Real talk: rejection SUCKS. Especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a job application only to receive a “no” (or even worse, to get ghosted 👻).
Rejection is one of the most confronting, gruelling, and exhausting parts of the job hunt process, you can be the most talented person in the world, the hungriest, the most passionate, and if you're doing everything right, you will still face rejection.
And I get that - I've been there and I have clients who've been there and I understand how heavy it can feel. However, there are ways that you can prepare for a rejection so that it doesn't compromise the rest of your job search! It's about not letting that overpower you or slow you down.
Before I jump into my tips on how to best deal with rejection, I’d like to disclaim that rejection is simply part of the job search process. It doesn’t mean you're not incredible, amazing, or talented. If you're not being rejected, I would challenge you that you're not getting out of your comfort zone enough because yeah, it's super easy to play a really small ride and just go for roles that you're 100% certain that you could do…BUT that isn’t what’s going to help you grow 🌱. Real growth is going to happen outside of your comfort zone. I want you to go for roles that feel big, that feel like you can grow into them. So, if rejection isn't inevitable for you and isn't part of the process, you may want to check yourself and just make sure you're going for roles that are stretching you!
Without further ado, here are a few tips on how to handle our good friend rejection.
Tips on dealing with job rejection
High intention, low attachment
My first tip is that it's all about high intention, and low attachment. What this means for me, is that we put our heart and soul into an application (a.k.a high attention) - meaning you do your best and you go hard in the process but have a low attachment to the outcome.
It can be incredibly helpful to switch out this mindset of having to land a role and think about it as having the opportunity to practice your elevator pitch. It's about having the opportunity to brand yourself in a new way and try out new things with your cover letter and resume and see how that lands. It's about meeting interesting people and cool companies. It's about so much more than the outcome. So, your intention and your goals should surround the job search process, and not necessarily the outcome.
I know it's easy to say, but every process is full of learning and growth. It's an exciting opportunity in so many different ways and if you can enjoy the process, or at least learn to see the benefit of the process, then you'll be far less devastated should things not go your way this time around.
Don’t make a job rejection mean something personal
My next tip is around not making a job rejection mean something it doesn’t mean. I have been in the decision-making room, I have been the recruiter who decides who gets the role and who doesn't... And let me tell you, there are 1,000 different reasons you may not have gotten that role!
Firstly, there are personal referrals, where a current employee has recommended someone that they know for the role. There's also nepotism, where perhaps the director's nephew applied or their godson which can cause a biased hiring result, much to the stain of most recruiters. Sometimes we can be at the very end of a stage of the recruitment process and there's a company-wide headcount freeze that's been announced or sometimes the budget for the role gets canned. Essentially, there are a plethora of reasons for rejection, and a lot of them aren’t even remotely related to your application!
Rather than making a rejection about you, it’s helpful to think about what you can learn from the process.
Believe job opportunities are abundant
Tip number three is to believe that there is an abundance of job opportunities out there for you. This, of course, comes down to a bit of psychology 101. Have you ever noticed that when you focus on something, you’ll notice a lot of it? For example, when you buy your first car (say, it’s red), did you suddenly see red cars everywhere? My point is that this is how the brain works.
That's called the brain's reticular activating system. What it means is that when you have a thought, belief, story or concept floating around in your brain, the reticular activating system is scanning for evidence and information that aligns with it. It's completely automatic and happening subconsciously. It works based on your beliefs and your thoughts - It will tune into specific information more than others. Essentially, if you fundamentally believe that there's a lack of jobs out there and that the job market is tight, then your brain is going to pick up on all this information. Likewise, if you fundamentally believe that job opportunity is abundant out there, there's loads of activity happening and maybe on the hidden job market, jobs are being opened and filled all the time around you in your target profession, then guess what will happen? It’s pretty magic 🔮
Ask for job application feedback
Now talking about upgrading your mindset - this is going to be useful when you ask for feedback. As scary as it may seem, you have to ask for feedback as to why you didn't progress. One of my clients received an auto-response rejection from a company that she wanted to go to land at. She then emailed thanking them for the response to her application and asking for feedback as to how she could have improved it.
In doing so she gleaned some incredibly helpful tips for improving her application and the company informed her of another upcoming position she could apply for! Moral of the story: it’s ALWAYS a good idea to ask for feedback after a job rejection as it will help to improve your applications going forward and might even help you get into the original company you applied for!
Allow yourself to heal from the job rejection
My last tip is that you must allow yourself to heal during the rejection process. Getting rejected hurts, and that’s totally normal! Allow yourself to feel those feelings so you can move TF on. I recommend giving yourself a deadline for how long you're going to allow it to get you down. At first, this may be as long as a day where you just need to take the rest of the day off so you can process everything. However, so long as you keep going, this healing period is going to get shorter and shorter. Eventually, you'll be able to cut this time down and simply set a timer to have a break before you bounce back and get into applying for something else.
All-in-all, it’s vital to believe that your next role is coming to you and that it's going to be awesome. Know that you're going to grow and learn a lot through this entire process and that you're going to have a killer story to tell in the end. Rejection may never get easier objectively, but you do get better at dealing with it.
So, for all of you job seekers out there right now - who can feel me on this one?! I'm sending you all of the positive vibes - just keep going! Your role is coming and I can't wait to hear about the next job that you land!
Looking for some more next-level job search tips?! I’ve gotchu covered with my entire job search Youtube playlist packed to the brim with killer job hunting and interviewing hacks.