Out of work? Out of luck! That is probably how you feel as you sit in front of your computer, hour after hour, day after day, submitting one application after another. Maybe you even look forward to getting job rejection emails because it is some response at least.
Even if you are looking for a job while employed, you may feel a strong sense of rejection when not selected for an interview or offered a job after an interview—especially if it has been a few months or you have had a few interviews without an offer. It is also likely you feel isolated (even invisible), especially if you aren’t working. At work, even if you weren't buddy-buddy with your co-workers, you were likely acknowledged in the halls or other common areas with a smile, nod, or at least a non-verbal acknowledgement that you exist. At home, alone in front of the computer, it is easy to become demoralized.
Work also provides us with a large part of our sense of selves, which is something you may be missing if you are in the middle of a job search. How do you think of yourself? When asked to introduce yourself, don’t you most often say, “Hi, my name is _______. I’m a ________”? Sitting at home alone for a few months may underscore the fact that apparently you aren’t a (fill in the blank).
As adults, our work serves to structure the rest of our lives as well. When we sleep, eat, play—everything revolves around our work schedule. If you aren’t working, you may fall into bad habits that are not helping you feel any less rejected or any better about yourself or your situation. If you are working, you may not being doing your best on the job. If you aren’t, maybe you have started sleeping in, not getting dressed, skipping meals, and/or not going outside. Did you brush your teeth today? How about your hair? If you aren’t working, are underemployed, or struggling in a position you hate, you may not feel as confident as you once did. This lack of self-confidence often feeds into the sense of rejection and demoralization—sending you into a negative spiral that can be a challenge to climb out of.
Think about how you feel about your current situation as objectively as possible to better plan for your future. Having a plan and some next steps outlined can go a long way toward helping you out of this negative spiral.
So, what else can you do? Here are a few tips for dealing with job rejection:
1. Set Realistic Short- And Long-Term Goals
Long-term goals give you something to focus on and look forward to. Short-term goals ensure you are moving in the right direction and moving toward your long-term goals. Daily goals will get you out of bed in the morning.
2. Do Your Best
Do you approach your job search by sitting in front of your laptop, hour after hour, searching for openings and submitting countless applications? Maybe you have completely given up and are just going through the motions, not even convinced you are a good candidate. Take the time to customize your resume and write disruptive cover letters to stand out to employers. That way, you will be one of the few selected for an interview (and hired!). The extra time and effort has value, and it can help you will feel like you are really doing something meaningful.
3. Change Things Up
Don’t do the same thing every day. Search for jobs one day, follow up with hiring managers on another, and dedicate one day to networking. Don’t forget to eat, sleep, get dressed, exercise, and go outside every day. Make your own schedule and stick to it!
4. Make Sure You Have The Skills You Need
How hard can a job search be? Believe me—you don’t know it all; no one does. Read blogs, articles, and/or books about career planning and job searching. Explore your field or potential occupations to determine if you need more skills to be competitive. Read articles or watch videos related to your desired job or about job searching and interviewing every day.
5. Garner Support
You may already feel bad if you are not contributing financially to your household. This makes it hard to ask for help. But you can't do it alone. Ask for help outside of the family if need be. Reach out to friends, old co-workers, and church or community members. You need someone who will listen to your ideas and give you feedback.
Chances are you probably know how to network, but maybe you are too dispirited or you don't see the value in it. Nonetheless, it is a necessity and can result in your next job if you make the time and effort to contact and maintain connection with others. Join a LinkedIn Group or volunteer. It is most important to start and continue to get out there and meet people. Maintain your connections!
7. Get Creative
If you are just going through the motions or are focused on replacing the job you lost, you might be missing opportunities. If you feel that you must have a specific position or salary before considering a job you may be missing out on some great prospects! Look at every relevant job posting and make an interview bucket list. If you do this intermittently, you will have a better indication of what jobs are offered and you may discover a new direction that is perfect for you!
8. Be Realistic
You may own a home. You may be comfortable in your current location and may have loved ones nearby. But if there are fewer opportunities, you may also want to think about moving to where there are jobs, or consider applying for remote positions. In order to minimize job rejection, you need to make sure your expectations are realistic given your current circumstances. If not, it's time to think outside the box.
By employing these tips, you will reinforce the fact that you are doing everything you can to improve your circumstances, boost your self-confidence, and put you in a position to get noticed by more employers for more positions. Give it a try—it can only help. Good luck!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.