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by Joe Turner, The "Job Search Guy" | March 31, 2009


Success in job search is easy to deal with. A job offer feels good, it validates us and allows us to move forward in life. It's what we all want and strive for. But for most job seekers, our successes are infrequent. They're sandwiched between boatloads of indifference, rejection and apparent failure. If you've been hunting for a job very long, you know what I'm talking about. Job search is one big exercise in rejection until you win that job you've been pursuing.

So, what can you do when you get rejected?

Here are five survival tips for dealing with those vast and daunting oceans of rejection and failure that encircle the tiny islands of success that we all seek.

Put on your sales hat

Any successful commission-driven salesperson knows that success is a numbers game. Sales people know that every rejection is just one step closer to success. With this attitude, you know that rejection leads to success, and you can put rejection into perspective. Just keep going. Count up those rejections, and know that you’re one step closer to success - and a good job offer.

Know there is a positive end to this

Step back and observe your job search process from a larger viewpoint. You may feel that you’re wandering in the desert and that you can’t see the solution or find the right job, but know that your search is finite. You will, sooner or later, find employment that's right for you. Accept that you’re in a process, and let yourself live with the questions. One day you will grow into the answers, and you will find the right job for you.

Be grateful

When you lose out on a job opportunity, it is because it wasn’t the right job for you. You do not want to win a job that is wrong for you. I can think of at least four jobs that I was rejected from in my own past. I remember feeling dejected and depressed at the time because I felt each one was the "perfect opportunity" for me. As so often happens, the irony of life plays itself out. I later realized that, for various reasons, none of those jobs would have worked for me. Because of later events in the economy and my own life, I realized I would have failed in all of those jobs. The flip side was that less than two months later, I found and accepted an opportunity that allowed me huge career growth and financial reward beyond my expectations.

Try this: set a goal and hold a vision of what you want. Then give the Universe room to deliver the best job for you. Always set your intention with the words "or better." You can say, "I win job X job or better." Admit that you don’t really know which job is right for you. Know that the right job will come to you. This will alleviate some anxiety.

Activity over passivity

Do something every day to further your search. Positive action diminishes anxiety and other negative feelings. To prevail in today's competitive job search process, it requires an iron will and determination that you will not be defeated. Remind yourself daily that you will prevail and succeed at this challenge.

If you’re really serious about finding employment, become more proactive. Stretch yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and aggressively seek out the so-called "hidden job" market. It's been estimated that 70 percent to 80 percent of job hires come from sources other than Internet job postings or recruiters. These are the jobs that aren't listed, don't have an actual req. or are otherwise "created" when the right person shows up. This is the segment known informally as "inside referrals."

What's your game plan for tapping into this market? There are many approaches involving direct marketing, personal branding and networking. Whatever approach you choose, develop a concerted action-based game plan with the expectation that you’re going to win. You'll feel more in control of your destiny when you move beyond searching the Internet postings for your next job opportunity. Job search is tough enough. Don’t isolate yourself behind a computer screen.

I don't need this job

As one HR director once told me, "We can smell blood five miles away." Lose the emotions of "desperation" and "defeat" in your interviews. Sure, one particular opportunity may look great walking in, but remember this: you may need a lot of things in life but you don't need this job. Register this in your brain.

Also remember that the employer has a problem, not a job. Think of the interview as a problem-solving opportunity with this hiring manager. It allows you to focus on what the employer needs, not your needs. Now you're able to sell yourself in the many specific ways you can help solve their problem. That's all they really care about. Once done, you gain their attention, respect and desire to know more about you. You can't get there by walking in wounded and bloody with anxiety and desperation.


Don't fear or try to avoid rejection. It's a normal part of life's processes, but especially so in job search. By using the five tips above, you'll learn how to go with it, through it and beyond it, to your next job.

As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. Author of Job Search Secrets Unlocked and Paycheck 911, Joe has interviewed on radio talk shows and offers free insider job search secrets at:


Filed Under: Job Search

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