Ask any woman what she hates most about job searching, and you'll likely hear laments about rejection. From radio silence after submitting a resume for a position that seemed like such an excellent match to receiving the news after what felt like a strong interview that a company decided to go with another candidate, getting turned down feels downright awful.
Unfortunately, rejection is par for the course when job hunting. Glassdoor estimates that each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. Of those applicants, companies interview an average of four to six people, and one candidate ultimately gets hired. Not the most encouraging odds, huh?
For those who keep at it, though, success does come. In the meantime, here are five ways to get over a job rejection a little faster:
Don't take rejection personally
Rejection looms large in your mind because it happened to you, and it hurts. But think about things from the company's perspective. To the organization, you were simply part of the process of finding and hiring the right employee. Rejection is not a personal affront against you or any of the other candidates who did not receive an offer. Nobody is insinuating that you lack worth; the business is just saying it believes somebody else better meets its current needs.
Before beating yourself up over a rejection, it pays to remember that many factors go into hiring decisions. Often, candidates don't know what's going on behind the scenes that impact choices.
Emily Kikue Frank, the owner of Career Catalyst, offers the example of a teacher she knew who did not get an offer after interviewing for a job that felt like a great fit. Frustrated, he asked the principal about it and was told he was "too much of a fit." The teaching team already had sufficient high-energy, fun teachers, so the school sought "a pragmatic, detail-driven workhorse of a teacher" who was different from the others. He simply was not what that school needed at the time, and he eventually found work elsewhere.
Improve your resiliency
Learn how to bounce back from disappointment. Knowing how to move on from rejection without becoming damaged or discouraged serves a job searcher well.
Behavioral psychologist and business consultant Denise Dudley suggests this strategy:
"First, make a list of five or six of your very best qualities. Examples: you're a really good event planner; you're very prompt; you're a great listener; you know how to smooth the feathers of unhappy customers. Next, look over your list and enjoy the feeling you get from being competent and valuable. Internalize that feeling and use it to combat how you feel when rejection comes your way."
Further, boost your spirits by spending time with supportive friends and colleagues. Being around people who love and appreciate you can't help but improve your mood. Sometimes, even just talking about your feelings with someone who is understanding and empathetic soothes pain.
Don't, however, prolong the agony by making this your only topic of conversation for weeks on end. Discuss the rejection once or maybe twice, then get on with life.
While wallowing in front of the TV might sound appealing, reject the urge. You'll feel better — and get closer to your ultimate goal of landing a job — if you turn rejection into motivation.
"Make some changes," Dudley says. "People characteristically start to feel better when they're seizing control of their lives and moving forward, so use the rejection to analyze what you might need to do differently next time. Put together a list of action steps you can take, and then take action. The 'act of acting,' so to speak, will place you in 'moving forward' mode rather than 'looking back' mode, which almost invariably creates a more optimistic perspective."
Expand your skills through a seminar or online class. Seek a certificate valued in your industry. Give your resume a cosmetic makeover. Practice your interviewing skills with a trusted member of your network. Consult your alma mater's career office for leads. Join a club for job seekers to improve your support system and accountability. The options are endless.
Get back in the saddle right away
Take a bit of time to reflect on what happened and what you can do better — but don't keep postponing your job hunt in the name of self-evaluation. Return to search mode as soon as possible.
"When we fail at something, we're likely to want to avoid it (whatever 'it' is — skiing, cooking, dating, or job interviewing). What we avoid, we start to fear. And what we fear can become more and more dreadful until we can even develop a phobia around it. The sooner you can go on the next interview, the better — you won't have time to develop feelings of avoidance and dread."
Remember, the quicker you see yourself as someone who experienced a bump in the road but is still worthy of employment, the faster prospective employers will too!