Photo Credit: Meredith Farmer via Compfight

Today a client heard that he was not selected for a position. The second rejection this week.

It doesn’t feel good to be rejected. Ever.

Since job search is full of “no” and rejection, how does one cope with it?

First, be nice to yourself. You just experienced something painful. So understand that you did your best. Tell yourself it probably wasn’t the right job for you anyway. (BTW, I believe that if you don’t get a job offer, it isn’t the right fit for you. If it was, you would have gotten the offer. ) Take a day off from job hunting if you need to. Vent to someone sympathetic. Do whatever you need to do to stop feeling like a failure or that there is something wrong with you. Remember you did everything right to get the interview. You got really far along in the process which is more than many people did. So obviously you are presenting yourself well in your resume and cover letters, and doing well enough on first, second, and subsequent interviews to get to the final stages.  Congratulations! You did GREAT!!

Do you feel any better? I hope so!

Second, learn from the experience. After you feel sort of OK, pay attention to what comes up as the thing you “did wrong” in the interview, and whatever doubts you had about the job.  You know what you have to work on. You know what didn’t quite fit for you.

  • My client had applied to a job where he would have had to work 50 to 60 hours a week. Yet on his Must Have List, he wanted a job where he’d have time to build a family.  While the job itself was exciting and seductive because of the company, it wasn’t a right fit in terms of his personal goals.  So I think he was saved a lot of agony by being turned down.
  • Another client thinks she is messing up on the final in-person interview, that she isn’t able to “close the deal.” So we’re doing a mock interview via Skype where I’ll put on my CEO hat (I ran 2 companies) and see how she does. That way, I can see what other people see and hear what other people hear, to give her feedback and suggestions for improving her “closing” skills.  Clearly she does very well on interviews already (we’ve done many practice sessions). So maybe the real deal is she doesn’t really want these jobs for some reason.  We’ll find out by covering all the bases.

What can you learn from this experience that will help you as you continue your search?

Third, remember that job search is a long process. Long is relative, of course, because when you’re in it, even 3 months feels long. That is a short period of time, in my experience. The higher level you are or the more of a niche you occupy, the longer the search simply because there are fewer positions available.

A sales trainer I heard emphasized that every “no” is the next step toward the “yes” – which I believe so strongly. This is the pruning phase of job search – getting rid of those things that aren’t right so you can get closer to what IS right. There IS a “right fit job” out there for you. It is preparing for you as you prepare for it. Imagine the job description being written right now that is a perfect fit for your experience, expertise, talents, attitude, values. Do whatever it takes for you and it to find each other.

I said to my client, “Small consolation now, I know, yet that’s been the experience of most of my clients – and definitely my experience. Hindsight is 20/20 and that’s what it tells me – and someday you will be able to see how it worked for you.”