It happens to the best of us.
Sometimes what we thought was a surefire job opportunity just doesn’t work out.
In a down economy, chances are you’ve been turned down from a couple of jobs. While it’s easy to get wrapped up in emotions caused by rejection, it’s very important to dust yourself off and keep at it.
Below, you’ll find some tips I give my own coaching clients when they’re having a tough time on the job hunt.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO MOURN
The last thing you should do is be hard on yourself for being bummed out. You’re disappointed, and it’s completely normal and OK. In fact, you’re better off giving yourself a little time to mourn rather than pummeling into applications and job interviews.
Why? Because recruiters and hiring managers can tell when you’re bummed—and they may just mistake it for your character. You also don’t want recruiters to know that you’ve been turned down for a job; after a while, they start to wonder why and may even become hesitant about hiring you.
Just make sure not to go on a sabbatical. It’s hard to explain to a hiring manager that the gap in your employment history is because you were crying over a job you didn’t get. Give yourself a couple of days and move on.
FIND OUT WHY YOU DIDN’T GET THE JOB
This isn’t to pour salt on the wound; this is to better prepare you for next time. If you can, ask why you didn’t get the job. Great opportunities for this would be if the recruiter calls you personally (some are cool like that) or if they send you a direct email.
On the other hand, if you get some automated rejection email, you’ll have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than getting a hold of HR. You can also forget about trying to find this information out from an agency—they interview so many people they can barely keep everyone straight.
If you find yourself in these scenarios, then simply replay the interview in your head and see if you spot anything that could have been better. You may also want to role-play with a close friend to see if they spot anything.
It’s very important that you do this step without judging yourself, or else you’ll get stuck in a negative thought spiral that may keep you from moving forward. Simply witness, correct wherever necessary, and move on.
Attend networking events, review your contacts, send applications, tweak your résumé, keep up with industry news, and get your name out there. Don’t run yourself into the ground, but do actively look for work. (Applymate is a great free resource to help you keep track of all of this stuff.)
If you’re looking for some juicy job hunting tips, Kate White, the former EIC of Cosmopolitan, offers some spectacular advice on how to do this in her latest career book I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know. Don’t let the name fool you—there’s a ton of great stuff guys should know too.
OK, perhaps this seems unconventional in an article about job hunting, but regular exercise is really the only thing that has helped me deal with any rejection life throws at me—career or otherwise. Simply put, exercise is one of the best ways to manage the stress that comes from job hunting.
If aerial skills aren’t for you, find another productive way to blow off some steam. Sitting on the couch and gorging yourself may seem like the answer, but they aren’t.
While job hunting can lead to some painful rejection, it’s up to you to make the best of it. Use it as a learning experience, trust that you’re on to something better, and continue searching with a good attitude and a smile on your face.
How did you bounce back after losing out on a job (and respect your journey to employment)? Let us know in the comments.
(Photo: Freddy The Boy)