To put it simply, this academic year has been a difficult one. Dealing with the ever-changing pandemic, adjusting to online lectures, trying to engage with virtual career fairs, Zoom-based networking events as well as virtual job interviews.
But to top it all off, one of the most difficult parts of this year for me and my fellow students has been the unforgiving flow of job rejections.
I, for one, have found myself hopping from enthusiasm to despair at the prospect of job-hunting.
Having gone through months of applications and dealing with rejection after rejection, I think it is key not only to share this reality but also to let you know that you are not on your own. You may just find that the tips below will help to soften the next blow and give you that little push to just keep going.
Here are my five top tips to dealing with job rejections
Limit your time on LinkedIn
LinkedIn can be a fantastic platform. But when rejections are rife, sometimes you may find LinkedIn is actually a reminder that you are still very much unemployed.
While it is wonderful to see others succeed, LinkedIn, like any social media platform, only ever offers us snippets of the lives of others, and these can add up to a distorted image. Therefore, we cannot see the reality of how many people haven’t yet managed to secure a job offer.
We are all guilty of this, but I insist, you must resist.
On seeing others secure graduate positions, it’s hard not to start panic-applying to every job you see. But when your heart is not really in it, it is unlikely to get you very far. If you are going to apply for a role, it is better to dedicate your time for a job you would actually like to do.
As competition is tough, you must ask yourself if you have given each application your all. Although this is exhausting, it may just make the difference between applying and securing an interview.
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Take a break
Rejections do not intend to be personal, but we are only human and it is exhausting to be fed a continuous line of “unfortunately on this occasion”, “we are so sorry to inform you”, “at this time, we are not going forward with your application”.
The hit is even harder when you have spent hours preparing your application and getting through the timed online tests.
But jobs will continue to come around. So if you are feeling exhausted, don’t be afraid to take a break from applications. There will be more opportunities, and you may find that a break is exactly what you need to refresh yourself so you can dive headfirst into new applications with a renewed determination and drive.
Reflect on your achievements and be kind to yourself
What are you proud of this year – excelling on a difficult assignment? Attending all your online lectures? Keeping your houseplants alive?
Make a list of all your achievements this past year, no matter how big or small, and remind yourself of them whenever you need a boost.
University can be challenging at the best of times, let alone in a forever evolving pandemic. So take a moment to positively reflect and be proud of yourself. When you are feeling the weight of rejections on your shoulders, utilise your support structure, as rejections are difficult, and your feelings are completely valid.
Fill up your spare time and your CV
You may visit one of your favourite organisations’ website and see the never-changing banner of “currently no opportunities”, but with the move into virtual working, you may find you can virtually volunteer with a charity that can help bolster your skill set and add something unique to your CV.
If you find an organisation that you are genuinely passionate about, drop them an email and offer your skills and time; charities in particular have been hit hard this past year, and so may be keen to take you on board.
Finally, although it may seem like every day you face just another rejection, I am a strong believer that persistence pays. So just keep going, don’t be afraid to be a little unconventional, be opportunistic, push yourself out of your comfort zone, be kind to yourself and believe you can do it as you may be just one application away from securing your dream grad job.
Hunting for a job takes up a lot of time and energy and can feel futile when it doesn't lead anywhere. Recent graduate Holly Seglah shares some tips that have helped her to keep going when it felt like all she was receiving was rejections