In my 20 years of working with job seekers, I’ve heard these common frustrations:
“Andrew, I applied for the perfect job and I didn’t hear back!”
“Andrew, I was a finalist but didn’t get the job and they won’t tell me why!”
“Andrew, I’ve sent 20 resumes to different companies and only heard back from 3 of the companies.”
“Andrew, what am I doing wrong? Am I over-qualified? Too young? Too old? Is my resume no good? Am I saying the wrong thing in an interview? Help!!!”
If you are a job seeker that has felt these (or other) frustrations in your job search, let me calm you by reassuring you that it is NOT you. Looking for a job can be tough and rejection is a common and an inherent part of job seeking. I know that it is difficult not to take rejection personally even though often you don’t know WHY you were rejected.
All too often job seekers try to rationalize rejection, which is a very slippery slope, because if you aren’t sure of the WHY, then you can end up creating a false caricature of yourself, which can ultimately lead to a negative brand image you have of yourself which will effect your job search. Don’t be rattled by the rejection but dust yourself off and move forward. Always move forward.
One of the most critical traits of successful job seekers is that they think in ‘the big picture”. Yes, they pay attention to details, but they also realize that in their quest for success, it is very rare that job seeking success is immediate and ultimately, the big picture is the long-term goal that will align with what they are looking for in terms of a job and their next career step.
In job seeking, the foundation of the “big picture” is built with authentic, rock solid confidence and displays the specific attributes that define your value to an employer: past accomplishments and successes, education, current skills, career trajectory and experiences tied to the job you are applying. These “big picture” traits define the authentic, non-negotiable, red-hot, confident job seeker you are putting on display in all the critical job-seeking touch points: your resume, your cover letters, your interviews, your networking conversations, your cold calls.
When you look in the mirror each day before you start your job search, that person you see looking back at you is “the big picture.” Yes, not everyone will see “the big picture” or understand how your background fits into their universe; and sometimes, you simply aren’t a good fit. Other times, their hiring process is such that they (or their computers ranking you) simply overlook the value you really bring. You have to get used to that as well.
But no matter the rejection, don’t waver from your own “big picture”. You still wake up every morning and look at the person in the mirror who offers value, who has defined successes, skills and talents, has a storng work ethic and a great personality. Yes, tweak some details here and there, but don’t ever try and be someone you are not. Ultimately, the confident, authentic you will resonate with the right person and will result in that perfect job you’ve been seeking.