“I’ve been applying for jobs for several months now with no luck. All of these ‘no’s and lack of responses are making me feel pretty hopeless. What am I supposed to do?” – Mallorie from Bakersfield, CA
I know it can be tough when you’re putting yourself out there and applying for jobs, and hearing little back in return.
I recently read an article in Fast Company called “Reject Rejection” about how entrepreneurs should manage rejection, and I think the advice also applies to job seekers like you who are not getting a lot of bites in your job search.
Elaine Dundon, co-founder of the OPA! Center for Meeting, recommends adopting three ‘R’s when faced with rejection:
You want to start by thinking about the various explanations for the rejection.
Begin by thinking about the aspects that are in your control. Have you polished up your cover letter and résumé? Does your work experience and education match the skill sets the employer put forth in their ad? If you interviewed, did you make a strong impression or did nerves get the best of you? You may need to enlist the support of a job coach or other unbiased third party to give you honest feedback about the impression you make on paper and in person.
Thinking about the elements outside of your control is equally important. Although the economy is slowly recovering, there are still more applicants than there are jobs in many industries. Depending on your career area, you could be competing with more than 100 applicants in the initial round of considerations. While the situation is no less frustrating, it helps to understand that it’s not all about you.
Now that you’ve identified the possible reasons you might have been rejected, come up with a plan to work through them. If you need to work on your job application materials or your in-person presentation skills, make an appointment to speak with a Goodwill career counselor or a similar professional in your area. If you’ve identified an external hurdle, formulate a strategy for working through it. For example, if you know you’re competing against a large number of people for one position, concentrate on how to make yourself stand out — in a good way — from the application pool.
If you’ve applied for multiple jobs over time at the same company with no results, you might want to consider rejecting them by setting your employment sights elsewhere. While it’s true that persistence does pay off for some, for others, receiving continuous rejections is bad for the morale and puts you no closer to landing a job. Take the time to reflect and reboot, and if there’s no new steps or approaches you can take in the immediate future to improve your prospects at a specific company, consider taking a few steps back and examining other job opportunities.