Applying for jobs without hearing anything back — or getting rejections — can take a toll on you. You spend ample time and effort fine-tuning your resume and preparing customized cover letters for what can feel like nothing at time. But don't give up! You're doing the right work; it's just that you may need to do some more work.
That's what FGB'ers are telling one attorney who is having a tough time landing a job, despite a wealth of experience and even her own business. In the Community, they discuss what her next steps should be and how to not take the hits so personally.
"I need to let off some steam," writes FGB'er, Jessica Christy. "I'm a fairly new attorney (I'm less than five years out of law school, which is a second career for me) and always saw myself working for a nonprofit or a government agency. Over the summer (just before a fellowship ended), I was getting multiple interviews (though never made it to the 'you're hired!' stage). Having no offers after my fellowship ended, and still wanting to do the same type of work, I struck out on my own three months ago."
Now still applying for jobs to no avail, Christy says she feels frustrated to have even more experience with her own business and, yet, less interest. Though she knows it's not personal, it still bruises her ego.
"How are others dealing with these frustrations?" she asks. "I'd appreciate any tips on maintaining a positive self-image in the face of rejection (particularly during COVID)."
FGB'ers are sharing their best advice for her, and many in similar shoes are also empathizing with her situation. Here's what they have to say:
An advocate is someone who will not only vouch for you, but they'll also push for you. Plus, having people are who support you can also help to remind you that job rejections aren't always personal.
"I think surrounding yourself with people you trust and who support you is your best first step," says Kim Roffey. "Talking with them regularly will help vent your frustrations. Those two things alone will help so much."
Networking is key to making connections at companies for which you want to work. In fact, many people argue that networking is the only real way to land jobs these days.
"If on LinkedIn, start posting and commenting and connecting," says Michele Burling. "Build your connections there or with the local Chamber of Commerce with local small businesses—and probably some charities will be represented there as well. Attend charitable events, volunteer, share your business card and story as appropriate... It may take time, but it will be worth it."
But, whatever you do, don't just ask people to chat. If you meet someone with whom you'd like to connect, tell them why you want to chat with them, in particular — and what you think could come of the conversation for the both of you.
"[Bring] value to the table for the other person," says an anonymous FGB'er. "Just saying, 'I want to talk to you' is never enough reason for someone else to give up their valuable time to meet and chat."
Feedback is one surefire way to help you move forward rather than repeating the same mistakes in interview after interview.
"If you are not asking for feedback from each interview, make that a habit," urges an anonymous FGB'er. "If you don’t know what you could have done/said/presented better (and know how you compared to whoever DID get the job in those areas instead of you), you are doing yourself a disservice."
Just keep in mind that not all hiring managers will have time to give you feedback, and some may be trained not to share feedback with rejected candidates due to legal reasons. It's worth a shot reaching out, but don't take it personally if you don't hear back.
Keep open to other types of jobs that weren't necessarily on your radar. You never know what kind of positions could lead you to where you ultimately want to be — or take you down another successful path. Career paths don't have to be linear.
"Don’t eliminate other possible avenues of interest for yourself," says an anonymous FGB'er. "If you’re not seeing any luck down one lane, that’s okay! It doesn’t mean you can’t come back to it. Explore other avenues/spaces, and just get started on that journey."
What have you done to turn around your job search luck in the past? What has worked when nothing else did? Leave your best advice in the comments!
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.
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