Handling rejection

It took JK Rowling a whole year to find a publisher willing to print her first Harry Potter book. Some of the rejection letters barely bothered to address her personally. It was, she admits, a very difficult time.

Rejection is hard even for up and coming international best-selling authors, let alone graduates eager for a first break. Just the sound of the word itself is harsh. Its implications are harsher still.

When you are feeling down, the last thing you want to hear are all those clichés people seem to spout at you. What’s the use of “keeping a positive mental attitude” when all you want to do is drown your sorrows.

The best way to deal with the resulting hangover is to take stock of the situation. Something is obviously not working.

Find out first if that something is beyond your control. Ask yourself:
· Were you applying for a job that might have a gender stereotype, or racial prejudice?
· Was there an in-house candidate?
· Was there any incompetence on behalf of the interviewer?
· Did anything happen before, during or after the interview that might explain your rejection?

Now consider if it is your fault or theirs. Crucially, get feedback. Find out why. But don’t just listen to what they tell you – apply it.

Start by looking at your CV. Ensure it is a great brochure for your skills and accomplishments. Make any changes necessary and then believe in them. It is not just a piece of paper; it is you.

Now replay the interview. Was there anything else you could have done to sell yourself ? Were you really present? That is, were you listening, actively, to the questions and answering them in the best possible way.

Review your presentation, too. What employers want these days are job-hunters who look like they’ll fit in. Did your dress sense and personal grooming on the day match the work culture you were seeking to join?

Once you have considered all this, assess the sort of jobs you are going for. Are they the right position for you, in the right area at the right level?

At this point it is worth visiting, or perhaps revisiting, a careers service to find out where your talents lie and where you should be directing them.

None of this changes the cruel reality of rejection. Disappointment, disillusionment and disgust really can undermine you. But whatever has gone wrong so far, it must not affect the way you continue your job search.

Every new interview must be treated with the same attention to detail as the first. Only this way will you eventually find success.

Three final suggestions:
1. Consider temping until something does come up. The position could expand your skills set and lead to other opportunities. At the very least it will top up your bank account.
2. If you are looking for a job full-time, be professional about it. Structure your day.
3. Regardless of your approach remember that you are talented, you are qualified and you are still just at the very start of finding what is right for you.

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