It's not nice. Rejection really does suck.
It's that time of year when I start to see final year chemists and engineers who have had their confidence knocked a bit by one or more job rejections. Everybody copes with rejection differently - last week, I saw one chemical engineer who had applied cheerfully for 28 jobs before he got one and another who was completely devastated when he was rejected from the only job he had applied for.
If you have applied for numerous jobs without success, there is every chance you might start to lose focus and feel out of control with your situation. And whilst there is value in widening your job search and thinking creatively about where you may find success, it’s important to also stay focused.
One way to maintain focus is to know your strengths, skills and motivations and to develop a job search strategy aligned to these areas. This will help you to write a great CV, stand out in the short listing, perform well at interview and network effectively.
Develop a strategy to shape what happens. For example, you can control the type and number of jobs you apply for, you can make the time to write a tailored CV and you can invest in preparation for an interview. In the face of rejection letters or lack of success at interview, focus on what you can learn from the situation, build on the positives and plan the next steps.
- What can you do differently to increase your chances of being shortlisted for interview?
- What improvements can you make to your CV?
- How can you prepare more effectively for an interview?
Confidence and self-belief
Even the most resilient of us are likely to experience a knock to confidence levels in the face of a protracted job search. So focus on your strengths, reminding yourself at regular intervals of your achievements and what you do well.
If you are not in current employment, take on a part-time, temporary post or do some voluntary work so that you can build your confidence and your skills, alongside your job search for a permanent job.
- What are my key achievements?
- What are my key strengths and skills?
- What do I enjoy doing?
- How can I maintain confidence and self-belief in the face of setbacks?
Summary of tips
- Retain a positive attitude and self-belief (watch out for negative self talk)
- Spend time getting to know yourself – your strengths, skills and motivations
- In face of setbacks, remind yourself of your achievements and strengths
- Shift your thinking from the negatives of the challenge to the opportunities it presents
- Handle rejection in a positive way and learn from the experience
- Build a support network around you
- Support yourself in a challenging situation and give yourself permission for feelings such as disappointment
- Take time out to recharge and achieve a balanced perspective
- Think creatively about opportunities and alternative job search strategies
- Be proactive, take action
Adapted from an article in www.jobs.ac.uk.