How to stop rejecting yourself during a job hunt

4 minute read

We’ve all been there.

After writing hundreds of applications and attending dozens of interviews only to be told that you haven’t gotten the job. Unfortunately, rejection is a part of job hunting and (although no one likes to say this) you have to hear ‘no’ a few times before getting that magical ‘yes’.

When it does get to this stage, it’s perfectly normal to feel deflated. And while you should give yourself some time to feel disappointed before jumping back into your job search, it’s important to try and get back to the positive attitude that you had at the beginning of your job search.

One of the best ways to tackle ‘job rejection’ is to take on the mindset of someone who works in sales. They understand that not hearing back from a client doesn’t automatically equal rejection. They know how to bounce back quickly and, most importantly, how to keep in touch even when there’s no immediate interest.

So, instead of considering job rejection as the end of a road, start looking at the opportunities that can arise from it. Here are a few ways to productively tackle being turned down during any stage of your job search…

You’re turned down after submitting an application

You’ve read the job description and it sounds like the perfect fit for you. So you furiously get started with a cover letter and CV to be proud of but you get an email or letter explaining that your application has been unsuccessful.

It can be difficult to present everything that you have to offer on paper and occasionally organisations do miss out on great candidates because they overlook a CV. If you feel quite passionately about a role, try and get in touch with the HR Manager and ask for feedback. You’ll have an opportunity to learn from any mistakes you may have made, or even better, be reconsidered.

You’re turned down after an interview

It can be more difficult to hear that an organisation has chosen another candidate when they’ve met you in person. Besides the time and effort that you had channeled into preparing for the interview and tweaking your CV, it’s normal to feel a little disheartened. But you have to remember that this is one role – not every role you’ve applied for.

Turn this into an opportunity to meet new people and start developing a network. See if one interview can lead you to another area of an organisation by asking around to see if there’s another team hiring that could benefit from your skills, knowledge and experience. After all, you’ve made it this far!

If you do get in touch with an employer after an unsuccessful interview remember:

  • Ask for feedback – the more you know the better and it will help you with future interviews.
  • Be gracious – you won’t be recommended to another team if they feel like you’re carrying a chip on your shoulder.
  • Show your value – now that they have a better understanding of what you have to offer, ask if you can be of service to any other departments.

Despite what people think, recruiters don’t find persistency annoying (when done in the right way). Following up shows that you care and genuinely want to work for the organisation that you’ve applied for – which is incredibly meaningful in the charity sector.

How to stop rejecting yourself during a job hunt

Your interview was 2-3 weeks ago and you haven’t heard anything

Being left waiting for a reply is enough to drive you crazy. But whatever you do, don’t let your job search come to a complete halt. The reality is there are plenty of things that could be causing a delay: is your interviewer on holiday, do they need the approval of other senior staff, do they have to re-asses their budget and internal capacity. The list could go on.

As easy as it is to just assume the worst – now isn’t the time to talk yourself down. If it’s been more than 10-14 days since your interview, take a moment to send a friendly email to the person you’ve been in contact with.

Make sure that your message makes it explicitly clear:

  • That you’re still very interested in the role
  • You’re continuing your search and are waiting to hear back from other organisations
  • You’re more than happy to provide any additional information that might help their decision.

This isn’t the time to make demands by asking for a timeline and a status. It’s a chance for you to stand out from the other candidates by showing a genuine optimism for the role, the organisation and communicate that (as you’re still searching) you may receive another offer.

You’ve emailed them and had no response

OK, so you’ve sent the perfect thank you note after the interview and haven’t heard back from them yet. Again, don’t assume the organsiation or charity aren’t interested in you. Create a plan and handle this proactively.

Wait for a few days and message them again – make sure that you include your original email in the thread to refresh their memory and ask if there’s time to quickly chat about this.

Still not getting a reply? Now’s the time to give them a call. Remember that your interviewer is human too and it could just boil down to them being incredibly busy. TIP: Call first thing in the morning – you have a much better chance of catching them at their desk.

Always remember…

Regardless of the outcome, you have what it takes to find the role that you’re looking for. You also deserve to have an incredibly fulfilling career! So don’t let negative self-talk bring you down during the tougher stages of your job search.

‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘never’. So keep going. While it is tough, it will be worthwhile when you do land your dream job.

Do you have any tips for handling job rejection? Share them with us by commenting below!

Jade Phillips

Marketing Manager at CharityJob. A true bookworm and social media geek, you'll find me living in pockets of online communities. Unattended snacks might go missing if left around me...

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