When job hunting hurts
Episode 120 - When job hunting hurts: What to do about it and how to avoid setbacks
I have seen many exceptional professionals give up on their job search for months or even years because of what they perceived was a rejection, be it a lackluster reception of their interest in being promoted or a job they applied for and didn't get. I spoke recently to someone who took two years to recover from a rejection from a job she applied for and believed it was a dream job for her. She was indeed a great fit for the role and went all the way to the final interview stage. But at best, her chance was 50%, assuming another excellent candidate was competing for the position.
Taking too long to try again takes a toll on your career. That's what I address in this episode and offer ways to overcome the negative feelings so you can move on with your career.
There is no reason to feel bad about missing out on a job opportunity
So many professionals feel embarrassed when they feel that it's taking too long to find a job. They believe there is something wrong with them. They also hate talking about their job search. It takes real vulnerability to share that things are not going your way. I also see professionals who give up on job hunting and blame everything on others, especially recruiters and employers. Yes, I agree that the recruitment process is not easy, imperfect, and structurally biased to benefit the employer. But once the job candidate realizes it is a game to play, the process becomes more straightforward and less stressful with rules you can learn.
Negative self-talk is bad for your brain
This is a really serious issue. Probably worse than you think, and this is why: negative self-talk is bad for your brain. Studies show exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity each day negatively affects your hippocampus - the part of the brain that makes decisions. Do you know what this means? It means negative self-talk is making you dumber.
What happens when you are not resilient:
When rejection leads to negative self-talk, it can lead you to
take too long to apply for jobs again,
feel that you are not qualified enough or educated enough to apply for the roles you want, and
get trapped into thinking you need to go back to study, usually an MBA or other master program. This leads to career stagnation, significant expenses, and not necessarily a better job after graduation.
Be kind to yourself
People typically don't set out to hurt your feelings or destroy your dreams. But they have other agendas! Their decision was not about you. As much as it hurts not to be chosen for a job you wanted, their decision was about their needs and a great choice of candidates to choose from, including you.
Maybe you - the employers and recruiters - have had to make tough choices in the past? Have you had to choose between one person and another? It's not easy, would you agree?
When someone chooses the other candidate for the job, it doesn't mean they did not like you or you were not a good fit. Many factors contribute to an important decision like choosing a new employee. So, protect yourself from negative thoughts and move on! Put yourself in someone else's shoes. What advice would you give your best friend?
Remember to be your best friend!
Strategies to overcome it:
Don't accept first rejection as a reason to stagnate or procrastinate
Reflect and try again
Fellow career coach J.T. O'Donnell believes that revisiting and refreshing your job routine is a great strategy. He wrote: "Face up to the fact that something is wrong with your strategy. You need new experiences. You need to create new habits. You need to access new resources. You need to surround yourself with new people. New, new, new. Change up what you are doing and who you are doing it with."
Recalibrate and have the courage to try again. When looking for work, you must appear excited energized. Listen to my previous episode about giving yourself a good break and separation from your job search.
Give yourself options. Instead of having only one option, take time to develop a range that you can live with. Sometimes clients think I will tell them to focus on one job application or one course for their careers, when in fact, I am all about minimizing risk and playing a long game. Playing a long game means you can take sidesteps, experiment take time out.
I don't waste time perfecting something before starting your job search. Start, review the data from your applications, then optimize your job search and career plans for success.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Timestamps to guide your listening
[00:57] The reason behind this episode.
[01:57] Check out the Free recorded webinar.
[03:03] Embarrassment around job hunting.
[03:56] The serious issue of negative self-talk.
[05:50] Is Further education needed in job hunting?
[06:14] Be kind to yourself.
[07:48] Treat yourself like you'd treat your best friend.
[09:15] Training the resiliency muscle.
[10:52] Learning from your unsuccessful job hunt.
[11:39] J.T O'Donnell's advice
[12:49] Take a break and come back swinging.
[13:49] Don't waste time perfecting something before you search.
Transcript of this episode
Renata: You know, I have seen so many amazing professionals give up on their job search for months or even years. Because of what they perceived was a rejection of them. Alexis to reception other lackluster reception in their interest in a specific job or an interest in being promoted. For a position that they were interested in.
Renata: I recently spoke to someone who took two years to recover from an initial rejection from a job she wanted. And, by what she told me, it was an excellent fit for her skills and experience. However, it took two long years, even to try again, which takes a toll on your career, and it can affect your mental health. And it can affect your wellbeing and mental health. So today, this episode is dedicated to this wonderful person that reached out to me to [00:01:00] tell her story. And I hope that it helps you too. That's what we're going to discuss here today. And we will find ways to overcome the negative feelings so that we can move on with our career and have a great career ahead of us.
So that's what we're going to discuss today. And we will find ways to overcome the negative thoughts and feelings that we have when we are job hunting and moving on with our careers. But first, let me tell you that I have a job hunting schedule ready for you to download. You can access it on my website. It comes in a workbook with three options for you to choose from.
Depending on your availability and the time you can dedicate to your job search. You can also watch an optimized job said, schedule masterclass, which I have recorded to tell you how to use the optimized job search schedule. It's free once you've signed up, you will become part of my [00:02:00] community. You will receive a weekly newsletter from me in your inbox every week, and it will help you in your job search and future career plans. Because, you know, schools and universities teach us everything except how to manage our careers. So, I'm here to help you fill that gap and get you ready to achieve your professional and career goals. You can, of course, unsubscribe from my newsletter anytime, but if I were you. I wouldn't. Because this way, when you need me, a coach to help you during a grueling time at work or a job interview coming up. Or you're ready for private or group culture. You know where to find me; I'm easily reachable. All I need to do is reply to my newsletter. Or, if you're ready, go to my website and book one of my career services. It's simple. It's easy. And dare I say it, it's also fun.
So going back to the topic of today's episode. So many [00:03:00] professionals feel embarrassed when they feel that it's taking too long to find a job. They believe there is something wrong with them. They also hate talking about their job search because it reveals that they don't know how to do it. Or they give up on it. Or they give up entirely on that job search and their career progression and blame everything on others. The recruiters are bad. The employer is terrible. The system is broken. And yes, I agree that there are better ways to structure recruitment and selection. And I explained before that I'm here to help you deal with what we have today and not change the world.
Renata: In the background, I'm always telling employees. And recruiters, you know, best ways, and what I think would work better for my clients and the people that listen to this podcast. But is this a severe issue? I don't [00:04:00] know that you and many people realize how serious this is. It's worse than people think. And this is why. The negative self-talk comes from rejection and grieving. It's awful from your brain. Studies and research have shown that exposure to that negative. Self-talk constantly for over, let's say, 30 minutes per day or more really affects your decision-making ability. The part of your brain it's called the hippocampus. That helps you make good decisions. Good judgments. You know what this means. It means that over time, that negative self-talk that you have inside your head makes you dumber. It's unfortunate. But it's slowing you down. It's making you, um, not be as productive and efficient and not as bright [00:05:00] as you can be as your potential allows you to be. So, what happens when you are not resilient, and you have that excessive self, um, and you have that excessive negative self-talk. First, you know, you allow rejections to get to you, and you don't give permission to try again. Like what happened to that wonderful person, an excellent professional with great experience and skills, who took two years without applying for any jobs because of that rejection for a job that she wanted. Not being resilient means that you don't feel qualified or educated enough to achieve your dreams. It may also be financially taxing, not only because you're not applying for better jobs that could pay better. But also [00:06:00] because it makes you feel like you need to go back to study, which is what MBAs live off.
Renata: And all the master's degrees as well. You know, people think, oh, I didn't get that job. Maybe I'm missing a master’s degree. Perhaps I'm missing an MBA in my resume; let me go back to study. And then you invest what? $50, $100, $200,000 on a degree you may not need to get a job. I am all for further studies. I love learning; the love of education is one of my top strengths. But it doesn't mean that you need to go back to study because you've got a rejection. It's essential for you to be kind to yourself, to put yourself first. But it also means that you have to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Maybe you've been in a situation like me, where you had to be confused between two people. You were part of a [00:07:00] recruitment and selection process. Try it, try to remember how hard it was for you to choose between two great candidates or three or four. Amazing people. I have had that situation happen to me, my career. So many times, it is heartbreaking.
I used to be the CEO of an organization that recruited selected individuals and gave them great scholarships. I'm talking a lot of money to fund them, to live their dreams. And people that applied for those. Excellent prestigious scholarships with. Excellent at what they do. To choose 10 or 15. It was usually how many we could afford to, um, invest in. It was challenging, and the ones that missed out, sometimes there was nothing wrong with them. It was just a combination of factors. Maybe they weren't, you know, at their best on the day of the interview, the interview
Renata: format and the selection panel [00:08:00] are flawed because of that. Or maybe it wasn't. We had too many candidates pursuing the same line of research and study. So, we couldn't choose all of them. Uh, lots of factors come into play, and it has nothing to do with your ability to do the job. Do you also have to put yourself first in the sense of what advice you would give if this happened to your best friend? You wouldn't tell your friend to stop looking for work and stay home and do nothing. You would be the best friend for that friend. And I want you to be your best friend. And help you find the right words, the positive self-talk. To make you get up and go and try again. You know, people don't usually set out to hurt your feelings and destroy your drains. That's not why selection processes happened. The recruitment [00:09:00] process happens. They have other agendas. Their decision was not about you as much as it hurts, not to be chosen for a job you wanted. People had other things in mind when we went that you were making decisions.
It doesn't mean that they don't like you. And it just means that you have to keep going and try again. I've just finished watching the Australian Open. And I know that all the players who reached the semifinals quarterfinals, even the ones at the beginning of the process, had the potential to win. The fact that they didn't win the Australian Open this year in 2022 does not mean they're not going to win their next championships, their next tournament, they will keep on playing. That sentiment and that mindset is the mindset of the job hunter. The executive job hunter. That's why I like to make those analogies with the sport. I sometimes think as [00:10:00] executives, we missed out on that crucial muscle training. The training that muscle of resiliency, the power of the mindset that makes you win. And we, um, we shy away from that as a secretary in the corporate, nonprofit, and public sectors. And I think it's because, on the day to day of our jobs, we need to be collegial, and we need to work as part of a team and compromise and be diplomatic. But when you're applying for jobs. It's a different game that you play, and it's okay to be contacted competitive. You respect the process; you respect your candidates and the system that allows you to apply for promotions and job opportunities. But you also keep your mindset playing as if you are competing.
So that if you stumble and fall for the first application, you get up and go again for the second and the [00:11:00] third and so on. So here are some strategies to overcome this. Negative feeling this hurt comes from the rejections of going through a job search. First of all, don't accept the first rejection as a reason to stagnate or to procrastinate. Okay. So, make sure that you have your mindset set on getting where you want to reflect on what has happened. Try to get as much feedback as you can. We know that feedback is not very common these days, and we all wish that we had more feedback, but there's a lot that you can learn from the way you've applied. Did you take too long to use? Did you maybe not send the best resume or cover letter? Was this job really a good fit for you to show that fit? Maybe book a time to discuss these things with somebody like me, a [00:12:00] coach that is not emotionally attached to the job. It might shed some light quickly and make you speed up your recovery process. And that reflection can be very strategically used for your next job application. So that enhances and you can incrementally get better and better, or sometimes you can springboard into a whole completely different ball game by working with a coach, being mentored, and getting a team around you. A fellow career coach, J T. Donald, wrote that he believed that revisiting and refreshing your job routine is a great strategy to get over rejection. He wrote, “Face up to the fact that something is wrong with your system. You need a new experience. It would help if you created new habits. You need to access new resources. It would help if you surrounded yourself with new people. [00:13:00] Change up what you're doing and whom you were doing it with.”
So, this is one more reason for you to accept my invitation, to download the optimized job set schedule, go to the show notes to access the link, or you can go to my website. And you will find the information there to download it, we calibrate and have the courage to try again. When looking for work, it's crucial that you appear excited and energized. It's really impactful when somebody walks into an interview, and they are excited and body language shows. Everything about them says I want this opportunity. Thank you for seeing me. So, listen to my previous episode, that's 119, about giving yourself a good break and separation from the job search. Then come back [00:14:00] swinging and you will notice the difference in your energy level. Also, give yourself options instead of only having one option, one type of job. Maybe take the time to develop a range of opportunities that you can live with. Sometimes clients think that I will tell them to only focus on one type of job application or one course for their careers. When in fact, my coaching is all about minimizing risk and playing a very long game. Playing a long game means that you can take side steps and experiment and take time out. Because you know where you want to go, you have that focus. So, it's okay to compromise at times so that you can move on. And, but one step in front of the other and get out of it.
[00:15:00]The last thing I wanted to say to help you overcome the hurt and the procrastination and the stagnation of rejection is, Don't waste your time, perfecting something before you start your job search. Don't think that because you didn't get that first job or a few jobs that you've applied for you need to be perfect the next time you're trying. In fact. It's really important to have a sample. A sample of applications that didn't go well so that you can look back and think, okay, What is it that worked well? Where did I actually reach the first or the second or the third bottleneck in the recruitment and selection process? And then you repeat those things, and you remove from the job applications, the things that didn't go well. That's how you learn and that's how you make a job application better and better. You must [00:16:00] optimize your job search and career plans for success, and you will only optimize it if you do those exercises, and frankly, I'd like you to consider getting a team around you because sometimes doing it on your own, it's just emotionally really taxing because you're too close to the things that you want and cannot emotionally detach from them. But that's why working with a coach can really help. And if you can't afford that, at least try to find a mentor within your sector and profession that can help you understand the ins and outs of how to progress in your career. I hope that this episode has helped you and shed some light and motivated you to move ahead with your goals. And don't stagnate. I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you thought about this episode and one of my social media channels, or just reply to my emails. If you're a subscriber to my newsletter. [00:17:00]
Have a great week, and I will see you at the next episode. Bye.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, , on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.
My free resources for job hunters: The Optimized Job Search: Weekly Schedule & Masterclass.
Learn more about my services, courses, and group coaching: RenataBernarde.com