During your job search, you might start to feel fatigue setting in after some time. You’re waiting for second calls that never come and offer letters that never show up in the mail. At times, you might even face rejection outright after countless interviews.
Regardless of who you are, rejection stings for everyone all the same. But it’s important that you don’t give up throughout this stretch. Managing rejection and remaining mentally and emotionally strong aren’t difficult, if you know exactly what to do.
Here are seven feasible strategies for you to try on the road to employment.
#1: Survive the Matrix AKA reality testing
We’re human – rejection weighs heavily on all of us. Our brains are naturally wired to fixate on negativity more than positivity, which might explain why we feel so down in the dumps every time we encounter a rejection or refusal. It could be a date off Tinder that went south, or it could be a job interview that left you feeling low.
We’re not to be blamed for this, of course. But there is a way to counter this response to disheartening events – and that’s through something called reality testing (the University of Waterloo provides a great guide to this). Ask yourself: did Company A really reject you because you tanked your interview, or was it because of something else like an internal hire? And never tell yourself you’re useless, or that the interview was proof of that.
Staying positive and accepting that every failure is a chance to do something better will keep your spirits high as you keep searching for a job. If you feel like you’ve sunken one ship, promise yourself not to sink the next one that comes along.
This was already highlighted in a previous article, but it’s worth mentioning once more here. Keeping a journal helps to regulate your thoughts and allow ample time for meaningful reflection, either before or after an interview. What’s more, you’re able to figure out exactly what you want in your career by writing it all down. Staying organised will do wonders for your mind, and it’s important to remain mentally strong and clearheaded during this transitory period. Some tools you can consider using include Google Docs/Sheets, Evernote, or the good old Bullet Journal.
#3: Ask for constructive feedback
One of the ways you can stop yourself from overanalysing the outcome and letting your imagination run wild is to approach the interviewer or hiring manager directly.
Nobody said you couldn’t ask for constructive feedback, especially from the person who turned you away. This is especially important, since you’ll be able to take this information and turn it into positive action. Have a bad fidgeting problem? Keep that under control the next round! Or maybe you stuttered a little too much, in your nervousness. It’s certainly worth keeping an eye out for, don’t you think?
#4: Strengthen your self-esteem (and be practical too!)
Confidence is your shield against low self-esteem. Apart from giving yourself daily pep talks and affirmations before you start the day, other ways to counter low self-esteem include writing down what you like best about yourself. This could mean listing down your greatest strengths or most notable achievements over the course of your career or school life.
“My greatest strength lies in my ability to empathise.”
“The best thing about me is my never say die attitude.”
You’re not writing these without a purpose, of course. Once you’ve got some stuff written down, you’ll realise that this information can be used in your next interview! Employers tend to ask questions that demand some understanding of yourself and having these answers at the ready will show them your confidence and self-assured nature. It’ll make the interview much smoother and prevent long moments of silence as you think.
#5: Accept the process for what it is
The entire process of job searching inevitably holds the chance of rejection – whether outright or gradually. It’s a hard pill to swallow, because we want to prove to ourselves that we’re capable of #adulting, but even older professionals acknowledge that success is not a guarantee every time.
Accepting things for what they are will relax you as a person. Your mind will stop fixating on that one opportunity and open itself up. You might find something better along the way, too. The important thing is to remain resilient and as optimistic as possible: you never know when the next job offer might come knocking. Save yourself from the traps of tunnel vision and accept that you will face rejection – no matter where you are in life.
#6: Refrain from overanalysing
Keeping up with good mental habits, it’s important to also stop yourself from overanalysing a failed interview. Anxiety is a real thing and can drain precious time you otherwise would have used for chasing down other leads and employers.
If you’ve been rejected from Company A, don’t dwell too much on it. After all, what’s done is done, and the best thing you can do for yourself at this point is to learn from your mistakes and refine your approach or strategy. Moping around and living in the past is detrimental to your progress, so don’t let yourself drown in it!
#7: Leave room for plan B
Last, but certainly not least, you need to keep your mind open to other possibilities during your job search. Leave room for plan B, C, D, and even E! Putting all your eggs in one basket is a sure-fire way to being vulnerable to heart wrenching rejections. Stay optimistic but also practical and do your utmost best to ensure that at any one time, you’re not pinning all your hopes on that one position. Tunnel vision can and will ruin you if you’re not careful.
Interview rejections can be tough and might come as blows to your self-esteem and eagerness in the job search. That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally. These seven strategies will go a long way in protecting you from the inevitable downs of the job search. Keep your head up and press on, because you’re almost there.
See you on the flipside!