Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rejection - Handle It With Style

No matter who you are or how long you've been in the world of work, sooner or later, you've been rejected for a job. It's not the end of the world. I mean, think about it: we watch people in politics every year vying for their jobs (at the voters' mercy, of course) and ultimately one or more people walk away without the blue ribbon. But do these people shut down, give up, and blend into obscurity? Generally, no; they dust off, get back to campaigning, and are back in the game pronto - sometimes they change direction a bit, but they get right back to it in some form or another. Job seekers need to take on the same kind of tactics - sure, it stinks to not get a job you were really hoping to get, but get back up and try again.

Here are a few thoughts to getting through rejection:
  • Take a minute to let it go. It's ok to feel bad about losing out, but don't let it get to you. Take page out of the book of Sal Tessio (from the movie 'The Godfather'): "Tell Mike, it was just business." It is "just business." The rejection isn't personal, and although it's easy to take it that way, don't. For whatever reason, you weren't right for the job. Better yet, take the attitude that the job (or company) wasn't right for you. Move on.
  • Think about using the experience to get more information and possibly network. Try contacting the person in charge of the search committee (or HR manager or supervisor - whomever seems likely) and ask if they would be willing to talk with you about how you could improve. Ask if they have recommendations on your resume or constructive interviewing tips. It's a great way to learn. Be prepared to hear some truths, but also be prepared to hear some smoke and mirrors; not everyone will tell you what you need to hear for fear of lawsuits, so don't push the issue if they won't talk.
  • Reevaluate your goals. Are you going in the right direction? Are you applying for positions that are within your grasp? Tip two can help you to ascertain this. Maybe you need to gain some more experience in a particular area or pick up some skills that you might not have gotten in your academic pursuits or past positions - find ways to improve, either through workshops, additional classes, volunteer work or other positions or temp work.
  • Take the attitude that every rejection is just one step closer to the job offer. Sooner or later, the right job is going to come along. Sometimes, and this is a happy problem, a person has two or more offers to consider at the same time. But the thing is, you have to keep putting yourself out there to get those opportunities - don't give up.
  • Keep yourself fresh and have a good support system. Keep in touch with your mentors, past supervisors, and friends and family who are really there for you. The mentors and supervisors can be a gold mine of help if you ask them for their advice about your strengths and weaknesses as well as potential opportunities. And your friends and family - they are there to hold you up and inspire you, the same way you should be doing for them in the same situation.
So job seeker, get up off that floor, dust off and start campaigning again!

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