Making the Most of Job Search Rejection

Job Placement

There’s nothing worse than that sinking feeling you get when receiving a rejection letter. Whether applying for your dream job, attempting to grow in your industry, or just starting out as a new graduate, job search rejection can be one of the hardest realities to face in the career industry. With a little shift in perspective, however, you can turn job search rejection into a powerful feedback mechanism and self-improvement tool. Join Zoetic Resume and Writing Services as we unwrap creative ways to shift job search rejection into clear, profound motivation.

Refine Your Expectations

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to apply for a job and receive a definitive answer within minutes? The unfortunate reality is up to 75% of applicants never hear back from potential employers when applying for jobs. The first step in reframing job search rejection is realizing most applications are unlikely to return immediate results. Even the best, most well-written resumes and cover letters are overlooked by employers for a multitude of reasons.

One of the most common reasons why candidates do not hear back after applying for a job is because candidates often aren’t as qualified as they believe themselves to be. Up to 50% of candidates don’t meet the minimum requirements needed for the roles they’re applying to. This leads to immeasurable hours of wasted time and frustration for all involved.  

Take time to properly read job descriptions and be fully aware of your professional alignment with minimum skill requirements. If you experience job search rejection and consistently find you’re not meeting a role’s minimum criteria, consider applying to lower-level positions better suited for your skill level. Similarly, if you experience job search rejection but find you’re meeting all required criteria, don’t let the unresponsive nature of today’s career market push you off course. Continue networking, applying, and staying positive. It only takes one job offer to change your life. 

Identify Growth Potential

Found yourself rejected for lack of experience or specific skills? Assess whether or not additional education and professional development might save you from further job search rejection. Consider your career goals, including timelines (additional education may cause delays), finances (career development often costs money), and areas you’d personally like to improve. 

Try participating in mentorships, internships, or job shadowing opportunities. Think about hiring a professional resume writer to dig deep into your personal and professional experiences to unlock marketable skills you didn’t even realize you had. Sometimes you may already have the skills required for the role, but need professional help to clearly portray and articulate them. Job search rejection offers a unique opportunity to stand back and evaluate where you are in your professional skills. These moments of reflection often reveal areas of potential growth and success – use them to your advantage!

Request Feedback

One of the best ways to handle job search rejection is by eliciting constructive criticism. Request feedback from hiring managers, interviewers, and in-house recruiters to help identify specific items you need to work on. Insight directly from employers can be invaluable, especially if it gives you a chance to further hone your marketable skills. 

Keep in mind employers aren’t required to provide feedback and asking them to do so requires time they’d likely rather spend elsewhere. Remember to never request feedback at the interview; doing so puts pressure on the employers and may end the interview on a negative note! Instead, try to follow up via email within 24 hours following your interview. Exemplify awareness, gratuity, and respect for their time by keeping your follow-up communication succinct and to the point. Don’t let job search rejection derail your professionalism; communicate in a positive, professional way that leaves room for further opportunities.

Expand Network and Search Range

Not getting the responses you want? Expand your efforts to new, uncharted territory. Job search rejection can sometimes be an indication it’s time to think outside of the box.

  • Zoom In: Instead of applying for a third role at a nationally-recognized company that’s already rejected you twice, consider applying to a similar role in a smaller, more grassroots organization.
  • Zoom Out: With work-from-home options more popular now than ever before, you can quite literally take your resume on a trip around the world. Check national job boards and don’t be afraid to reach outside your comfort zone.
  • Change Sectors: Nonprofit and government job boards offer in-house opportunities with nearly unlimited growth potential.
  • Shake New Hands: Professional networking events and coworking spaces are great ways to meet new people (and potential employers!) in casual, low-pressure environments.

Build Marketable Personality Skills

Perhaps the most important way to spin job search rejection on its head is by using setbacks to improve your personal resilience and mental fortitude. Both resilience and fortitude attract employers in need of stable, reliable employees and leaders. By channeling rejection into strength-building lessons, you’re improving your flexibility and strength in the face of adversity. These are immensely valuable career (and life) skills that can make the difference between entry-level job offers and executive-level job offers. Gain confidence, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and better career opportunities by flexing your fortitude whenever faced with job search rejection. Your employers and mental health will thank you!   

Ready to shift your perspective, land interviews, and earn job offers? Zoetic Resume and Writing Services offers customizable resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn services to industry professionals worldwide. I take pride in working with my clients to learn both short and long-term career goals while redirecting job search rejection toward opportunities with the greatest chances of success. Interested in learning more? Connect with me here and together let’s build a resume and cover letter that showcases your unique experience, education, and job market value. 

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