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Combat Job Search Rejection with Resilience

Combat Job Search Rejection with Resilience

Jane Allerton | The Monster Blog

August 13, 2009

Resilience. Stick-to-itiveness. Takes a lickin’, keeps on tickin’.

Just a few thoughts that stay top of mind as I ride the ups and downs of the quest for a new job. Admittedly, it takes a pretty tough coating on your ego to handle the repeated rejections. Not all rejections are an outright, “No, we are not offering you the position.” Rather, a good quantity of rejections are more subtle, yet still take their toll.

So how do I dust myself off, pick up and just keep going? While it sounds really simple, it takes a good deal of emotional and psychological strength to pull myself up by the bootstraps every morning and go at it again.

For me, I think about analogous experiences whereby I learned to go for the goal again and again. I have built up my personal resilience over the years through a variety of lessons.

As I scroll back in my memory banks, I think of my years in competitive swimming. Every day, I was back in that pool for two more hours to perfect my strokes and improve my strength. Negative feedback in swimming comes to you every time your swim mates beat you to the wall. If you don’t persevere in improving your swimming, you don’t go for the gold (or in this case, goal).

If you didn’t play sports, perhaps you can leverage other challenging situations as training for the rollercoaster ride that is job seeking, like something as straightforward as making the world’s best pancakes for your kids. My boys, Owen and Evan, are always amazed at their Mom’s various attempts at improving this Saturday morning ritual. Perhaps my being trained as a chemist makes my pancakes way too scientific and not yummy enough? The various ingredients that make up the world’s best pancakes are analogous to the various job experiences that make up your resume.

Just as you need the right balance of job experiences showcased just so on your resume, you need the right balance of ingredients to make fluffy pancakes. Too much flour (or bland job description details), and the result is too dense and dry. An extra flourish, like vanilla (or using numbers and bullets to highlight accomplishments), and you’re providing something tasty for consumption.

As a bit of a history buff, I’ve always admired Teddy Roosevelt’s difficult youth given poor health and how he took hard consequent steps to build up his robustness. So much so, that he ended up with the toughest job in the country. Lastly, I may be a bit of a romantic or slightly pollyann-ish, but I always thought that Scarlett O’Hara did a fine job in summing up her resilience: “Tomorrow, is another day.”

How do you pull yourself together after rejection? Or how do you best bring a positive, fresh start to again charging up the mountain of finding a new job?

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