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Applying to jobs but keep getting rejected? Here's how to develop your rejection resilience.

Job searching is a stressful, demanding and oftentimes, frustrating process. In most cases, you only need one yes but in order to get there, you have to navigate a treacherous sea of no's.

Jobs require skills which you build up over time and with significant amounts of effort. But acquiring them means that you sharpen your expertise and you're able to achieve a higher quality output in a more efficient manner.

I've said this many times before and it's still absolutely true: job searching is a job in itself. It requires the same amount of ownership, dedication, structure and performance-based mindset. So, it's no wonder that it also requires acquiring and sharpening specific skills in order to do it well.

If you've ever experienced the Herculean task of searching for your next job, it won't come as a surprise to you that the most important skill you need to develop is handling rejection.

Dealing with rejection is a skill that falls under the category of adaptive skills. It involves emotional resilience, perseverance, and the ability to learn and improve from setbacks. Like any other skill, the capacity to handle rejection can be honed through practice and self-reflection.

This is a skill you need to develop regardless of the reasons behind the rejections you have been receiving. If anything, it is the key skill that will help you "grow through what you go through".

There are several ways to develop your "rejection resilience" skill and it starts with not only understanding the WHY behind rejection but also, accepting what is and isn't under your control.

Here's a list of typical reasons for having your application rejected:

Reasons beyond your control

Reasons under your control

Hiring an internal candidate

Badly constructed CV and/or cover letter

Change in hiring plans

Not preparing well for the interview

Restructuring/ Reorganization

Interview skills need improvement

Budget constraints

Applying to jobs you are not qualified for

Regulatory compliance

Having unclear or unreasonable expectations

The column on the right is the part of the "job description" for your current role as a job searcher. This is what you need to complete, accomplish and perform on in order to be successful in this job.

However, working on improving your application methods is not the same as working to develop your skill of dealing with rejection. Both are equally important but one is operational (your day-to-day tasks around applying to jobs) and the other one is strategic (learning the tools that will help you adapt and strengthen your mindset).

How can you develop your rejection resilience skill?

  • AAF: Always. Ask. for Feedback. Sometimes you will receive an honest and helpful response from a caring employer that actually values your effort in applying and most times, you will receive a generic rejection email that will offer no insight. No matter the end result, it's still important to ask - not just because getting feedback helps you improve but the action of asking will close the mental cycle of the process and your mind will no longer perceive it as an open, pending task. This will allow you to move on to the next application more easily.

  • Celebrate your strengths, don't obsess over your weaknesses: It's very tempting to get stuck on the uphill road of self-improvement thinking that this is the only way to do better. But growth also comes from embracing your whole self and playing from your strengths. So, improve where you can, accept what you cannot do, promote what you do well.

  • Be like Elsa and let it go: Job searching is a no-regrets game. You take a leap, you fail, you learn, you move on. Time spent regretting your actions is time wasted. Take the learnings that you find valuable and make sure you improve next time. There will always be a next job right around the corner waiting for your application.

  • Be action-driven, not results-oriented: This may sound controversial but there is immense value in the journey of applying to jobs which we often overlook. Job searching gives you the opportunity to develop skills, benchmark your market value, build your professional network and gain insight into your industry. As long as you focus on making the most out of the experience, the result will come.

In conclusion, by approaching rejection as a chance for growth and improvement, you can develop resilience and increase your chances of securing your next role. Dealing with rejection becomes not only a coping mechanism but also a skill that contributes to long-term career success.


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