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by Ryan Rivera | March 19, 2012


Searching for a job can be a frustrating process. Perhaps most frustrating is that there's no one size fits all methodology to landing the right opportunity. You can follow someone's advice to the letter and keep missing out on opportunities, while someone else can stumble into their perfect position seemingly at random, and while breaking all the "rules" in the field.

On top of that uncertainty, the various pieces of the job seeking process can be a source of anxiety—even when the issue of needing a salary isn't an immediate concern. Is your resume set up to best highlight your skills? Does your cover letter tell a compelling story about you and your motivation? How will you handle question X at the interview? What about question Y? And how do you know if it's the right opportunity for you in the first place?


Having suffered from extreme stress and anxiety—particularly during job searches—Ryan Rivera, founder of, is well versed in the subject. He puts the stress associated with the job search process down to a simple factor: fear of rejection. That fear, says Rivera, can actually lead some job seekers to sabotage their own chances for success.


"Many people send in only one or two résumés a month," he says, "but do them carelessly, without taking the time to ensure they're perfect. While some may believe these people are lazy, it is possible that they may simply be suffering from a fear of rejection."

To deal with that kind of fear, Rivera recommends following several distinct steps in the job-seeking process. Read on for his advice:


Before Sending an Application

You need to make sure you've given yourself a plan, with deadlines, of the number of résumés you plan to send out, when, and potentially even where. You need to have as much mapped out as possible, with as many small sub goals as you can create, all in a timely manner. By creating these goals, you won't put as much focus on the responses to your résumé. You'll put the focus on what you need to do next in terms of sending in applications.


While The Résumés Are Out

The best way to reduce the stress of rejection is to keep sending résumés. Each application you send out represents hope. It takes the pressure off of a specific rejection, because you have enough other résumés out to counter the blow.


Sending out résumé after résumé—provided you take the time to write them well and apply only to jobs that you're qualified for—will ensure each rejection hurts less.


After a Rejection

"Rejections are always a little painful. The key is to find a way to reduce their impact. Some people try to write out why they think the rejection took place, but this is probably not a good idea. You don't want to put focus on the rejection. Still, the idea of writing down thoughts can be a powerful one, so you may want to try an activity that seems a little silly at first but ultimately can help you change your mindset – positive affirmations."


"Write down 100 percent positive thoughts that come from what you expect and what you know about your skills, abilities, resume, and more. Try to come up with as many as possible, and feel free and base it on the job you applied for. For example, if you were rejected from a job where HTML knowledge was paramount, and you have HTML knowledge, write in the journal 'My HTML knowledge will help me get a great career.'"


"This type of activity always feels awkward at first, but over time it will train you to focus more on the positive things in your life, and put less attention on the rejection."


The Stress of Rejection

There is no perfect stress and anxiety cure, because if there were then rejection wouldn't be as troublesome. But the above strategies can help you take some of the pressure off of the rejections, and allow you to keep focusing on the task at hand – finding a great job that makes you happy.


Ryan Rivera suffered from extreme stress and anxiety, especially during his job searches. He has more information about anxiety at



Filed Under: Interviewing|Job Search