Are you not having any luck in the job search? Most of us have been there
at one point or another.
Getting rejected from employers is never fun, especially if you felt fully prepared and gave it your all in the interview. If you’ve been searching for work for an extended period of time, this can feel particularly defeating. Not only is it stressful due to the lack of employment, but it can take its toll on your self-worth. Research shows that unemployment drastically affects your overall mental health and well-being over time. If you’ve been seeking work for a while and aren’t having any luck, it’s important to address the problem right away.
Unfortunately the solution is not just sending out more resumes. You may need to take a look at some of the things you need to improve on. If you’re wondering where exactly you’re going wrong, then we are here to help. The good news is that you can always bounce back from this rejection. In fact, you can come back even stronger from it.
List of Things to Do and Not Do
Even the strongest of candidates have things they can improve on. By compiling a list of things to do and not do in the hiring process , you can better assess what should be worked on. By creating a list similar to this, you will be able to stand out from a lot of the other applicants. Some of these may seem obvious, but many people do not keep them in mind when seeking work.
- DO research as much about the company as you can beforehand
- DON’T show up late or too early – Arrive 15 minutes early to collect your thoughts and go over your resume
- DO ask appropriate questions related to the position
- DON’T arrive ill-prepared – Remember important items, like extra copies of your resume, pen, notepad or your ID
- DO send a thank you note to follow up after the interview
Keep It Cool
Don’t let the fear of rejection prevent you from seeking other job opportunities. Getting overwhelmed with the process will only do you a disservice when it comes to interviewing next time. When your nerves are at an all-time high, it will prevent you from showcasing your best self.
Remember that, with so many job boards, most companies receive hundreds of job applications for each position. Which is why it’s important to remember to stay strong when you aren’t selected for a job. Sometimes interviewing is just a numbers game – you have to keep at it until you find the right one. Try to remain calm and continue to do your best with each company you meet with.
Go Back Through Your Notes
We always recommend taking notes immediately after each interview. Doing so can be extremely beneficial in showing you what your strengths and weaknesses are. Refer back to these notes every so often and keep in mind what needs work. Focus on improving all of those areas that you don’t feel as strong in.
Is it your answers to the interview questions that needs work or are you falling short in another area? We would recommend researching the possible interview questions for your specific industry. You can create mock interviews to help you practice your answers. This is quite often where people fall short. Researching the company more beforehand can help you feel more prepared with your responses. It should also alleviate some nerves.
Better Your Skills or Learn Something New
Now is a good opportunity to continue brushing up on your skills related to the industry you’re applying to. Is there a chance that you may have been bypassed for the job because you’re missing certain technical skills? Go back and have a look at what you may need to improve on.
You may want to ask yourself if you’re applying to the right type of positions. Consider the fact that you could learn something in a completely new industry as well. Is there something you can study to increase your odds of getting hired elsewhere? Are there workshops or classes you can take in your area that will help you find other work? Or maybe there is somewhere you could volunteer to improve the look of your resume. All of these things are very personal questions, but they must be asked in order to change the situation.
Create or Freshen Up Your Portfolio
Do you have a portfolio to showcase your work yet? This is another marketing tool you can use to sell yourself to the hiring manager. This is one of the best ways you can show your relevant experience. Depending on your industry, it may even be standard for employers to ask for a portfolio.
If you haven’t already, you may want to consider putting something together. Make hard copies of your best work samples and put them together in a presentation binder. You can even include copies of transcripts or written testimonials to make it look even better. We would recommend having an online version for employers to look at as well.
If you already have a portfolio, see if you can go back to freshen it up. Is it completely up to date with relevant samples? If there is any new work to be added, now is a good time to do that. Consider making it look more professional, such as updating the binder or folder you’re using.
Re-Evaluate Your Resume
Is it possible that you need to go back and re-evaluate your resume? If you’re getting rejected before ever being given an interview, your resume could very well be the problem. If you have no problem getting interviews, then perhaps the problem is occurring somewhere else along the way – such as the interview itself.
In the case that you do need to update your resume, have a second look for potential grammar and spelling issues. We mentioned before that it’s a good idea to run the document through an online spell-checking service . Also ask yourself if you have ever had someone in your industry look over your resume. If not, then a second pair of eyes could prove to be very helpful as well.
When reading over your resume, put yourself in the shoes of an employer. What about it makes you stand out from the hundreds of other applicants? Despite the fact that resumes can be very impersonal, you need to find a way to give yours an edge. If you want to catch the hiring manager’s attention, try to incorporate key words from the company’s website. Many companies talk about their values online; these are the words you’ll want to use.
Which brings us to our next point – make sure each resume you send out is customized to that specific company. Do not send out a generic resume to multiple companies. It’s very easy for hiring managers to tell that it wasn’t created with them in mind. This often only means it will end up in the trash with other applicants who didn’t put thought into their application.
Lastly, ensure it is the proper length. If you’re an entry-level candidate, make sure the document is no longer than one page. With more experience, aim for 2 or 3 pages maximum. The more you can condense the resume – while still being skimmable and easy to read – the better.
Ask for Feedback
“We’ve decided to go with another candidate for the position.” If you do hear this, it’s a good idea to ask for any feedback the employer can provide. This is beneficial to know so you can figure out what to do better next time. They’ve already brought you in for an interview, so there is likely not a problem with your resume. There is more likely something that you can do to improve in the actual interviewing itself. It’s very possible that another candidate was just better suited for the job, but it’s important for you to find out what the reason was if possible.
Is your experience great on paper, but your nerves are getting the best of you in the meeting? Are you missing some of the technical skills needed for these types of positions? Whatever the reason may be, you can’t fix the problem before knowing the reason for it.
There are two ways to go about this. You can request feedback by sending them a short thank you note. Whether that be a handwritten note or a quick email, first be sure to thank them and for their time. At the end of the note, let them know you would be grateful for any feedback they could provide. A thank you note also lets the employer know that you value their time. This can also help keep you on good terms with them in case of another position opening up in the future.
Alternatively, if they speak with you on the phone, you can kindly ask them about what is it or why you weren’t chosen for the position in that moment. Remember to keep it brief – they likely do not have the time to have in depth conversations with every single candidate. Respect their time and move on if they don’t want to provide you with any information. If they do respond, try to keep an open mind and remember that constructive criticism can help you.
Talk About It
If the lack of work is starting to get to you, it’s a good idea to talk to your friends or family about how you’re feeling. You can even vent to someone in your community if you don’t want to speak to someone that is close with you. It’s important to remember that we are all human and these things happen. In the case that the rejection is starting to affect your well-being, you may even consider meeting with a therapist.
The main thing is that you’re not keeping the stress and emotion bottled up inside. You’ll feel so much better after talking about things. Your friends and family may even have helpful advice and insight for you that you couldn’t see on your own.
Don’t Give Up
Just because you’ve been turned down from a company once, doesn’t mean you can’t try again in the future. If you have your eyes set on a particular company, you can always apply again within a few months’ time. Everything can change in a period of a few months.
This is a huge reason that you should be working on turning your weaker areas into strengths. If you’re focused on taking more classes, improving your interview answers and being a better fit for the company, they may want to take another look at your resume later. Besides, the company may have a new hiring manager by the time you reapply. You never really know what can happen in that length of time.
With that being said, it’s also a good plan to stay open to all other
opportunities in the meantime. There will be plenty of other companies that
may be a good fit as well. You may even come across one that you would
prefer to work at over the other.
Remember disappointments are a part of life. If it’s not working out with certain companies, they may not be a good fit anyway. You can allow this experience to bring you down or you can use it as an opportunity for constructive learning. Apply everything you’ve learned from this and use it to move forward in your professional career. Try not to take it personally – perfecting the interviewing process takes time. If you keep at it, your persistence will inevitably pay off! For more information like this to help you in your search for work, sign up for our newsletter below.
Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on any of our tips to help you in your job search.