Over the past few months, I applied for a lot of jobs.
Like, A LOT a lot of jobs. As in, so many I created a new folder on my computer where I kept each and every cover letter so I could keep track. It has more documents than I’d care to admit in there and here I am: still (technically) jobless.
Thank you for your interest in Company X. We received many applications from a variety of candidates. While we appreciate your time, you have not been selected for an interview.
Thanks for your time last week. It was wonderful meeting you and hearing about your experiences to-date. Unfortunately, at this time, we’ve decided to go in another direction. Good luck!
By the time I’d gotten my tenth or eleventh “thanks but no thanks” email, I felt like I had completely run out of steam. I started calling them the “Sorry – you’re not employable” emails and I eventually recognized that my joke wasn’t just making me feel worse – I was labeling myself. And the label doesn’t fit.
I reached out to friends who’d gone through periods of unemployment and everyone had a similar story. Rejection sucks, even when the job you applied for could hardly be described as your “dream job”. Scouring job boards is exhausting. Seeing zero opportunities in your field, at your level of experience, is disheartening.
Job searching is demoralizing at best and soul-crushing at worst.
So, how do you handle job application rejection?
Remember it’s not personal. (Or at least, it’s highly bloody unlikely it is.) Getting an interview is hard – companies can receive dozens or even hundreds of applications for roles and sometimes it’s as much a matter of timing and luck as it is being qualified for the role.
Let it be a fire in your belly. It’s hard to convince yourself to put yourself out there again and again but it will pay off. For me, feeling badly about not being invited for interviews at jobs I wasn’t terribly passionate about anyway made me realize that I was channeling my energy in all the wrong directions and helped me begin to carve out a new path – one that fits me, perfectly.
Ask for feedback. But be prepared to hear things you might not like. After almost every interview I’ve ever gone on where I didn’t receive an offer, I’ve diligently sent my thank you note and included an ask for feedback. Sometimes I get it – sometimes I don’t. In some cases, the feedback was useless: the winning candidate simply had previous experience with the company. But in other cases? Invaluable – like the time a company pointed out that I hadn’t recently taken any training, so I embarked on several self-led training programs, got some certificates of completion, and added them to my LinkedIn profile.
Use your network. I promise: you know someone who knows someone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or an introduction. A quick coffee can (and does) turn into job opportunities and for the most part, I’ve generally always found people are happy to help when and if they can.
Keep your chin up. It’s always easier said than done, but try not to let job rejection cripple your confidence. If you’re not getting interviews – ask someone to look at your cover letters or resumes to see if you can make some improvements. If you’re interviewing but not getting offers, again, ask for feedback but also evaluate your prep methods. If you’re looking for resources to help you nail your next interview, I highly recommend the book 60 Seconds and You’re Hired!*
What’s your best job search tip?