It takes a fair amount of cunning and perseverance to land a dream job. If anyone knows how to cope with a constant stream of rejection, it's me. But don't get me wrong – this isn't a letter of complaint. I'm writing this to help you deal with those times when you’ve been so close to landing the job you've always wanted, but haven’t been selected. That's something I've learned once I decided to transition into a different industry.
I followed all the right steps – acquired additional qualifications, learned the language of the sector and networked myself into some satisfying professional relationships. I felt ready to enter this industry, but for some reason recruiters didn't share my confidence.
After a series of job interviews with no answer whatsoever, I started to ask myself some downright depressing questions: What if the sector actually didn't want me in it? Is there anything wrong with me as a professional? I was ready to give up and only some irrational glimmer of hope kept me afloat. And then, miraculously, I heard back.
After a while, I looked at my period of job hunting in a different light. Here's what I learned from it.
1. Panic won't land you a job, focus will
It's not worth it to get overly anxious. Recruiters can smell anxiety and desperation on you right away – and no candidate wants to leave that kind of aftertaste. If you notice you're not reaching employers you're aiming for, optimize and change your tactics. Don't get paralyzed by fear or shame of not having a job. You need to be out there, talking to people who can connect you to the right opportunities.
One mistake I now see cost me a lot was my attitude. I used to sit around doing nothing most of the time, with short bursts of motivated job-seeking activity in between. Keep yourself focused on your task or you risk losing a lot of time. Develop a routine and stick to it. Routine is something our bodies and brains simply like. Lead a structured and organized life to make the most from your job hunting experience. Trust me, you won't even have to adjust once you do find a job.
2. Don't be afraid to follow up
Instead of sitting with your phone in hand and waiting for those dreaded words of rejection, play an active role and reach out yourself. It's a good idea to follow up with your interviewer within a week. If the employer takes their time to make a hiring decision, respectfully request a timeline and just be patient. If you find out that you've been rejected, it's your turn to ask questions.
Despite what you might think, the recruiter isn't your enemy and can share insights that will help you land an even better job. It's hard to break that vow of silence, I know. But I did that once and had a hiring manager point out all the inconsistencies between my resume and what I said during the interview. Which leads me to my next point.
3. Review your resume
That's right. Even if you believe it's nothing short of a work of art, your resume might be the cause of your interview problems. I still remember the face of a recruiter who noticed a date typo in my resume during our conversation. Believe me, I'd never want to live through it again. Just take a second look at your resume to make sure all information is accurate and updated. It's a few minutes of your time that can make a great impact on the outcome of your next interview.
4. Be conscious of your behavior
An exhausting job search can make you seem desperate. It certainly made me, and I paid a penalty for it. Facing difficult questions about my career transition or the exact reason for leaving my former job (it was mobbing, but that's a topic for an altogether different story), I tried to be evasive and before I knew it, I started to bluff to hiring managers. Yes, I had the credentials and motivation, but for some reason in my own eyes that wasn’t enough.
I wasn’t ready to face my past experience or deal with my period of desperation while job seeking. I wanted to land these jobs so badly that I forgot my professional identity and goals. That was until one recruiter admitted to me privately that I just didn't seem genuine.
I started to realize how my behavior might look like to others. Believe me, I wouldn't want to hire me either! Even when facing hard times, don't let the situation get the best of you and pay close attention to how you’re interacting with others.
5. Don’t burn yourself out
Looking for a job can become a job itself. You'll get tired, push yourself too hard from time to time and then suffer painful down periods. It wasn’t until I allowed myself some days off that I understood their value – paradoxically, they were helping me in my job hunting by making me feel calmer and giving me time to think about a position over before applying. Don't overwork yourself – you don’t want the employer to find you fatigued and stressed when you finally get the call.
All things come to an end, and so will your job search. It’s inevitable that at least one opportunity will work out, even if it’s not the one you hoped for at the beginning of the process. Be patient and believe in yourself – it sounds pretty shallow, but that's what I've learned from my experience. If you don't believe in your value, nobody else will.
About the Author: Kelly Smith is an experienced writer and tutor working at Career FAQs. She’s keen on new motivational tools and productivity hacks. She’s also interested in new media.