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4 smart things to do when you're rejected from a job you want

Ask a thousand people to name the top 10 things they like to do for fun. Few would list "looking for a new job."

No matter how good it feels to hear the words, "You're hired," the process of getting there is tedious at best. It's also fraught with rejection along the way.

Rare is the person who can submit a single resume and cover letter that results in a new job swiftly. Far more common are the stories of people who submit their resume to 20, 50, or even hundreds of job ads without positive results.

Rejection comes in many flavors. There are the non-responsive employers who don't even acknowledge your application; the keep-the-candidate-warm responses that dangle a forthcoming interview that never materializes.

And, of course, there are the no's that come after all the interviews; when you've come oh so close to the prize only to have it given to someone else.

No one likes being rejected. At best, it's an annoyance. Worse, it can make you doubt your own self-worth.

There are, however, some things you can do to minimize the bad effects of being rejected. Better yet, you can even use the rejection itself as a way to propel your job search forward.

1. Rejection isn't always about you

When you are the one hearing "no thanks," it's easy to take it personally. You might think, "but I was the perfect person for that job," or "I was dreaming of an opportunity just like that." Bear in mind, however, that you never know the qualities or background of your competition. No matter how qualified you are for a role, someone else might have beaten you out by just a whisker with one or two more accomplishments or skills to his credit.

A "no" doesn't speak to your value as a person, or even your ability to do the job in a competent fashion. It's a business decision, not a personal one. So, don't take it personally.

2. Use failure to gain self-insight

While you are trying to move forward, also take a look backward to see what hasn't worked; try to figure out why.

If, for example, you are applying to one specific type of job, or to a new industry, or are attempting to switch careers altogether and continually get no nibbles, these might be signs that you are barking up the wrong tree. Try a different tree, or at least, a different approach.

If you are getting repeated interviews, and even second interviews, and can't quite close the deal, carefully review what you've said and the reactions you received. What did you say that caused your interviewer(s) to sit stone-faced, frown or nod in agreement?

How might you come up with better examples of your successes, or demonstrate that you know how to hit the ground running?

Think about even the small details of your handshake, posture, the timeliness and content of your thank you notes, and so on.

What can you do to raise your game a notch or two?

3. Remember relevant achievements

As you rack up rejections, you are apt to start viewing yourself as an unsuccessful person. Don't let that mentality take hold. Instead, keep in mind your key professional achievements at every role you've held thus far. But don't rely on the fact that you created a BASIC program for a Commodore 64 back in the 80s to get you a job as a programmer in today's world. In the same way, nearly everything today is done differently than it was in the past.

Don't hang on to irrelevant past achievements in hopes that they will produce future opportunities. Instead, focus on what current skills and achievements you bring to the table to understand your own value in today's job market. When you have a clear, accurate sense of yourself, you'll be best able to target appropriate opportunities and position yourself for success.

4. Keep focused on the future

Remember that hunting for a job requires different skills than actually doing the job for which you are hunting. You'll need to continually refine your game to build those skills, and this, in turn, depends on trial and error. Try to view each failure or rejection as an opportunity to up your game just a bit more. Ultimately, you'll see success.

Happy hunting!

Posted by Business Inside