Sharmishtha Gupta, M.A. is a warm, validating counselor, life coach and career coach who can help you uncover your strengths, get clear about who you are, heal your spirit, and attain the highest and best in yourself, your career, and your relationships.
Job Search Rejection? Here's How to Cope.
Hello! I'm now a part of the Growing Self team, but I wasn't always. Even though I'm a career coach, I know first hand what it feels like to keep your head up as you job search for the right position. My experiences in job exploration have taught me how to stay positive and focus on my goals in the face of endless cover letters, difficult interviews, and of course, countless rejections.
Before finding my path as a mental health counselor, life coach and career coach, I dabbled in a lot of different fields. I’ve worked in marketing, at a tech startup, as a pet sitter and dog walker, as a social media manager, as an administrative assistant, and as a tutor. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way….
“I’m sending out tons of applications and not hearing back…”
Remind yourself, finding a new job is a numbers game. Even in a “people” field like counseling, a lot of organizations use recruiters or algorithms to narrow down the pool of applicants. Many fields are highly competitive, with the sheer volume of applications drowning out any chance that yours will get noticed.
Although a cover letter is an opportunity to present yourself to the potential employer, it is still a limited window into who you are as a person. You are a complex, multi-talented and interesting person! I know how demoralizing it can be to put in a lot of effort into trying to convey that through a job application and getting no response. Remember that you are more than your job application, and that the whole process of job hunting makes it easy to feel like you’re being constantly rejected for putting yourself out there.
Depending on the field in which you’re trying to get a job, there can be many alternate approaches to try to improve your chances of landing an interview. Reaching out via LinkedIn or other appropriate social media, marketing yourself in creative ways, or even making a phone call (*gasp* I know!) can be strategies that might be helpful if appropriate for the field. Get guidance from a career coach to explore alternate ways of approaching the job search so you’re not just churning out hundreds of applications and feeling disheartened at not hearing back.
“But I had a great interview and didn’t hear back….”
First of all, do not take it personally! I completely understand the tendency to feel like a failure or to feel like the rejection is a personal blow. Feeling like the interview went well, and even getting validation during the interview and then getting a rejection can be a real blow to your self-esteem.
I once had an interviewer tell me “We have three rounds of interviews, and you’ll be getting a second interview.” This was a position I really wanted, and I spent the week excitedly awaiting the next interview invitation. When I didn’t hear from them and reached out, I got an email saying, “We decided not to move forward with your application at this point.” I was devastated, and also very confused as to what could have changed their minds.
But the reality is, most of the time, it’s not about you. Sometimes someone else is a better fit, even if you have all the qualifications and skills required for the position. Sometimes the person interviewing you vouches for you but someone else overrules them for whatever reason. Either way, it’s out of your control. You can only present yourself in the best light and follow up appropriately, nd remind yourself that a rejection from a job application is not a rejection of you as a person.
“I’m feeling burned out and I can’t apply any more…”
Take a step back and reframe the job search. Take some time to reflect on what your goals are and what you’re trying to accomplish. This might be a great time to meet with a career coach, to help you refocus and to come up with strategies of how to accomplish these goals without tearing down at your energy and your self-esteem.
Make sure you’re reaching out to the people around you and letting them know what’s going on with you. Reach out to family, friends, current coworkers, and past coworkers. Let them know you’re job searching and ask for both moral support as well as networking opportunities. Some people have a negative view of networking – you might feel like you’re being a burden or an annoyance to people for asking for help. Trust me, you are not. People like to feel helpful, and also they know that they may be coming to you for the same help at another time!
You’ve got this!
Remember, whether you’re a fresh graduate, a career changer, or someone with decades of experience, the process of job hunting can be stressful and demoralizing. It may feel like you are struggling alone, but challenge those feelings by reaching out to others and sharing what’s going on.
A career coach or counselor may be a great resource at this time to help you come up with ways to keep yourself afloat emotionally, as well as to come up with tools and resources to approach the job search with a personalized game plan. I’ve been there, and I’m going to continue to be there throughout my own career. I’m here for you, but you have to believe in yourself too: you’ve got this!
Sharmishtha Gupta, M.A.
Life and Career Coach