Resiliency and the Job Search

If you’ve ever applied for anything — to a college, an internship, a job, a grad school — and heard a ‘NO,’ then you KNOW first-hand that it’s not fun to experience rejection. We get it!

And hey, even amazing, wonderful candidates get rejected from things. Resilience, of course, is that ability to bounce back even when things are tough and you’ve heard that ‘no’ one too many times.

Here’s a resource to check out anytime you’re feeling discouraged and need a little boost. It offers 3 things to remember when facing rejection, 5 ways to build your resiliency, and additional links to check out for more information.

3 Things to Remember When Facing Rejection

  1. It’s okay to be disappointed. Feeling disheartened or losing confidence after rejection is natural. Believe it or not, these feelings say something good about you! They mean you care about what you’re doing.
  2. Everyone – and we mean everyone – faces rejection during the job search and/or grad school application process. Whether it’s sending an application that disappears into the void, failing to receive a call-back after an interview, or getting all the way to the final round and then hearing a ‘no,’ you are not alone in facing the challenge of rejection.
  3. Your self-worth is not tied to a single (or even several!) rejections. While rejection is difficult, it doesn’t diminish all you’ve accomplished thus far, nor does it predict your ability to succeed in the future.

5 Ways to Build Resiliency

  1. Evaluate your belief system: In the big picture, how do you think about the stress of rejection? Are there ways you could you perceive it differently, i.e., in more helpful and productive terms?
  2. Be self-aware: Reflect on your levels of resiliency for different areas of life, e.g., personal relationships, career-related plans. Are you more resilient in some areas and less so in others? Can you apply some of the things that make you more resilient in particular areas to this situation?
  3. Make changes that are within your control: Once you understand your belief system and what’s causing you stress, think about how you could make changes that would diminish stress. As prepared as you may be to apply or interview for a job, you still may not receive an offer. Knowing that you can’t change this (understandably stressful) reality, can you change how you think about it? (See “How to Reframe Situations So They Create Less Stress” below.)
  4. Put things in perspective: Ask yourself the questions a resilient person asks, such as “How much will this setback matter next week? A month from now?” “What are some small steps I can take to move forward?”
  5. Examine your coping strategies: You may need different approaches for different stressors or aspects of life, so thnk about which coping mechanisms work best for you. Strategies could include exercising to clear your head, talking to a trusted friend, or making a list of worries to help you define what is/isn’t in your control. Have reasonable expectations: This is a process that involves patience and time. In fact, most people do not get the first or second (or third … etc.) job for which they apply.

Additional Resources