Job rejection can send you into a panic, especially if you pour all of your mental energy into one ideal job believing that the employer will easily see that you are the perfect match. You may have even gotten as far as the second interview, and yet, in spite of your enthusiasm and efforts, you receive a rejection letter rather than an offer, or worse, you never hear back from a prospective employer at all.
You’ve heard this before, perhaps: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Yet, you know why you’re not getting a response from most applications; they’re not quite the right job. But then you find one perfect posting and you meet every qualification. They lights shine down from heaven and you hear a choir singing Hallelujah. Of course you’ll get a response. Of course they’ll have to agree that you are just right for this.
There are a few misconceptions at play here
- There is only one or few ideal jobs available.
Truth: Most people use job postings to direct their job search activities, which is deceiving and does not represent the hidden job market.
- You are the only qualified candidate.
Truth: Companies usually narrow their candidate choices between 2-4 equally qualified candidates and choose to give an offer to the candidate that best fits their culture.
- Someone will see your application.
Truth: Keyword optimized or not, unless your résumé is physically placed in front of the hiring manager, the chances that your application will get seen is 25%.
Misconceptions in job transitioning are abundant and dangerous, because you can easily make the rejection mean that YOU are not hirable or desirable, when, in fact, it is just a matter of using a better system based on how hiring is actually done. It can be difficult to arrive at your next job interview when you’re in a negative mental state. Not obtaining the job you want can become an incredible opportunity.
Before you let rejection swallow you into an abyss of hopelessness, evaluate if you are operating under one of the misconceptions above and give yourself time to do what you enjoy the most. It may sound counterintuitive, but taking your mind off of job rejection can allow you focus on what you really want. Try these five ways to deal with job rejections so you can focus your positive energy and bounce back refreshed and ready to advance your career. Do not overlook the competitive advantage of showing up at your next job interview with mental clarity and a sense of calm confidence.
1. Volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to get in touch with your altruistic side. Not only will you help others in need, but you’ll also help yourself. The very act of devoting time to being valuable to others can take your mind off the negativity of job rejection. Brightening someone’s day can be extremely rewarding. Furthermore, it is a great way to network with others, hone the skills you already possess, and even learn new skills. Furthermore, that next successful job could come from a contact you made through volunteer work.
2. Meditation. Meditation is an excellent way to self-sooth. Contemplating and reflecting on your actions can help you focus. Being rejected isn’t always about you and it is important to not let negativity control your thoughts. Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke explains some of the great benefits of meditation in his article “The Most Important Reasons to Meditate.” Stress reduction, emotional stability, and positive thinking can help you recover from a job rejection and prepare for the next career opportunity.
3. Get Away. A change of venue can put your thoughts into perspective. If you can’t go very far, look no further than a local park. Going hiking will help you connect with the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as visiting a forest in the mountains, walking beside a beautiful flowing river, or even passing through a majestic desert landscape. Spending time with nature provides you with a break from the mundane and also gives you a sense of how large the world is. Not getting the job suddenly feels insignificant when you are surrounded by the grandeur of the natural.
4. Video games. Video games can be a great way to relieve stress. I recently listened to NPR’s Planet Money podcast titled “Doing Business Like A Refugee.” A refugee named Mohammed Osman Ali credits his PlayStation 1 for his mental well-being. I couldn’t help but be awed at how a refugee in Uganda effectively used video games to cope with his stress. He even built an arcade to help refugees escape from their worries for a short time. Not getting the job isn’t as dramatic as being forced to flee your home, but positively coping with stress is still vital. Consider taking your mind off of rejection by tackling a difficult dungeon in World of Warcraft, getting to a new level in Candy Crush Saga, or decimating the competition in Forza Motorsport. We are currently developing a mobile app that turns job seeking into a game, so in the future, searching for your next job will be as enjoyable as playing a video game.
5. Exercise. Hitting the gym or your own workout area at home is a fun and natural way to deal with the stress of job rejection. Not only does working out build confidence and muscle, but it also releases serotonin and dopamine into the brain. These neurotransmitters decrease stress and boost feelings of well-being. A half an hour on the treadmill or lifting weights can go a long way in refocusing your job search efforts by helping to clear your mind.
These five positive items are not only important for feeding your soul, but are also crucial to maintaining your mental clarity and competitive advantage. Once you’ve managed to sooth your stress and tried a few new things, you will be ready to come back with a vengeance. You may even try repeating a mantra to help you focus on those new positive vibes. Rid yourself of negativity. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, network for new leads, and even have your résumé reviewed. It is crucial to be proactive in your job search rather than reactive. Ultimately, job rejection is just a temporary road block to overcome as you boldly focus on your strengths and target the next opportunity.
We recognize that enjoying these five items may produce feelings of guilt about being unproductive in your job search. Your friends and family may even scold you for not constantly being in a job seeking state of mind. Know this: much of the activities that job seekers partake in produce few good results. You will be more successful in your job search if you do fewer higher-impact activities than if you do many low-impact activities, such as trolling job boards and sending online applications.
If this knowledge does not sooth the pressure, turn the five positive ways to deal with job rejection into a reward.
Coaches challenge: Write down three things this week related to your job search that are out of your comfort zone, but that you know or have been told work. Here are some suggestions from us:
- Attend an industry networking event and meet 5 new people.
- Identify three hiring managers in companies you find desirable and call them directly through the company switchboard.
- Turn a social interaction into a conversation about what you ultimately want to offer as a professional and for whom and ASK for leads.
- Dressed professionally, walk to the closest business, résumé in hand, and ask to speak to human resources.