How to deal with rejection from job applications
Ines Gonzalez, Career Coach

Q:  I have been rejected in a few recruitment processes of late and I’m starting to believe that there is something wrong with me. I have a lot of good experience but it doesn’t seem to help. It’s getting harder to keep applying. What can I do to deal with rejection from job applications? (BC, email).

A: Rejection creates strong feels. Our brain is hardwired to pay more attention to negative events than positive ones. And it runs wild when we do not have control of a situation, writes Ines Gonzalez, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

It’s time to set about reprogramming our default setting. Let’s use our practical brain to deal with those situations. It is a process with four stages: get the news, deal with the news, start your recovery and carry on.

Stage 1: Get the news

At the start you may not be able to avoid thoughts like “it’s my fault, I was not suited for that role and my experience is not enough. I should not have applied”. Going over what happened or what you could have done differently will drive you crazy.

This, to some extent, is going to happen and you should allow it as part of the process. But you shouldn’t dwell too long on it.

Stage 2: Deal with the news

Here is where you start to put your precious energy to better use.

Slowly you should build a better and more positive internal dialogue. Something like “well, that is rubbish; it’s a ‘no’ again. There will be a few of those before I get an interview. I am going to see if I can get some information or feedback on what happened.  I understand there are a lot of elements out of my control.”

Stage 3: Start with your recovery

It is imperative that you take the time to look after yourself to be able to carry on.

To aid your recovery have a break from job searching, even if it’s a short one. Do something that makes you happy, like enjoying a nice cup of coffee or chatting to a friend. Those things have a greater impact on your general wellbeing than most people realise and will trigger a change in your mood.

The reality is that everybody experiences rejection in one way or another – accepting this as part of the game will save you lots of energy.

Stage 4: Carry on

What you can control is your attitude and mental strength. This is a marathon, long and tough. And we know those are won on mental rather than physical strength. A reality check is a good way to start.

Things to ask yourself include:

Am I relying very heavily on online applications? Do I need to refresh my networking? Have I got any feedback? Did I really take that on board? 

I asked a client to share his thoughts on dealing with rejection after a few months of job searching. This is what he had to say.

“A ‘no’ gets you down; there is no doubt about that. It is hard not to take it personally. The hardest thing to deal with is when you think the job is a good fit and you don’t even hear back. You need a positive mind-set and to be strong in yourself to keep going”.

Ines Gonzalez is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers.

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