How to Bounce Back When You’re Job Searching
Rejection is Never Fun -- Here’s How to Get Through.
My friend recently got an interview for a life-changing job. She was so excited. She let herself imagine what it would be like to make a truly amazing career leap – one with a new city, new tax bracket, and endless professional development opportunities. But after 5 interviews and weeks of preparation, the final call from her recruiter wasn’t what she had hoped. It was a polite “Thanks…but no thanks”.
What has impressed me the most isn’t that she landed this coveted interview. It’s how she has bounced back since getting rejected. She recommitted to her current role, and to searching for professional opportunities on her own. She focused on the positives – getting to continue working flexibly, and not having to uproot her whole life.
I spoke with her about how she managed her emotions through the seriously stressful process. Her takeaways are super helpful for anybody who’s dealing with rejection (that’s all of us, at some time or another).
Here are some of the mindsets she has adopted that have helped her power through:
I want to be wanted.
Just like in the world of online dating, I want to work at an organization where people are totally into me. If it’s a “no”, then it simply wasn’t the right thing to begin with.
I apply this perspective to almost everything in life. The right people, the people I want to spend my time with, are totally pumped to work with me (or to be my friends, whatever it is).
I find it easier to let go of rejections from people I don’t know very well. I know my capabilities, they don’t. A rejection from somebody I interviewed with for an hour isn’t an accurate or complete reflection of my value. Not by a long shot.
I hate that saying “When God (or whoever) closes a door, he opens a window” but it’s true. While I’m not working with this particular organization, I’m going to meet a lot of other cool people who do want me. Staying open to other possibilities is a perk, in a way.
Rejections are opportunities to improve.
While a recruiter never has the full picture, I always ask for feedback when I hear a “no”. This gives me important information about how I’m coming across. Then I can take that feedback in, decide what I think is valuable, and apply it.
This interview process helped me identify exactly the areas of expertise I need to develop. The next time I get an opportunity like this I’ll be much better prepared, because I’ve been pointed in the right direction.
All this said, it takes a healthy dose of confidence to be able to synthesize negative feedback without getting too down on yourself. For example, in this interview I was told that I came across as a little harsh at times. They couldn’t tell me how, why, or when, and the recruiter insisted it wasn’t the dealbreaker.
I’m simply going to chalk that one up to gender bias and not worry about it. Yes, I’m assertive. I know, and I know it freaks some people out. But I also know that I’m fun and funny and kind, and get along great with coworkers. Some feedback you have to let go, or you’ll drive yourself crazy.
I shared my experience with my friends & family.
Though this may not be everyone’s style, I told my friends and even some colleagues about my interview process. It was so all-consuming, it was hard to keep it a secret.
I loved being able to share my excitement and nerves. My friends were so supportive, and proud of me just for landing the interview. It was great to be reminded that the people who know me best really believe in me. I wasn’t feeling confident about it at all, it seemed like a terrifying, dizzying reach. Talking with friends about it was grounding and empowering.
It ultimately wasn’t embarrassing to have to tell everybody I didn’t get it – they were totally kind, and helped me put things in perspective.
Remember, you can find support and advice like this on BrightCrowd.com.