Dealing with application rejection
October 27, 2010 4 Comments
The much-clichéd “current economic climate” has really hit me hard recently. Not only has it left a gaping hole in my already-low bank balance but job opportunities have also been very few and far between…
Added to the misery is that fact that there are several hundred fellow graduates and wannabes all jostling and jumping for the same few jobs…
With such incredible competition, rejection is rife.
Rejection is something that can manifest and affect us in many different ways. Some will brush it off like petty schoolyard banter and think nothing of it, whilst others will treat it as an injection of adrenaline – a spurring of enthusiasm to push ever higher. Unfortunately there are also those that it can truly crush, bringing on yet another give-up-and-go-home day or Ben & Jerry’s binge.
I was the victim of such rejection just yesterday and although I avoided raiding the freezer for my favourite two American ice-cream makers (I seem more inclined to build my own coffee coffin) it seemed that rejection was the one part of wannabe journalism that I hadn’t yet been advised how to approach
Often added as an afterthought to most how-to journo articles, the “be prepared to be rejected” is often followed by a “don’t worry” – but it’s perhaps a little more complicated than just that.
So here, in light of my own rejection, are some things that I think are worth considering:
Don’t Look Back in Anger
One thing that immediately popped into my brain after the “unfortunately on this occasion” email was all my previous rejections. I’ve only ever been to three full-on job interviews since freelancing and each time I have come in as a respectable runner-up.
But – like some kind of subconscious steam train picking up momentum – I started to snowball those quite positive lessons into negatives: I lost again; I failed again; I am generally a loser…
Don’t dwell on the negatives of interviews – say – two months ago. Times have changed, you have changed and as long as you didn’t turn up dressed as Hitler then it’s unlikely you were rejected for the same reason on every occasion. Stay present and stay positive.
“It’s Not You; It’s Me”
Some rejection letters can read a little like the easy way out of a relationship. What you’ve got to understand though is that it’s partly true.
Remember that a job application is a two-way street and whilst you may be selling yourself, your potential employer is looking to fit you and your skills into a very specific-sized box.
If you don’t fit then it doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it simply means you don’t match. Maybe you’re more of an online-editor when they needed a newspaper copy-editor; maybe you write formal tech articles when they need a relaxed informal columnist.
Take Something (Anything!) From It
Whether it’s a classic manoeuvre such as emailing for feedback or a valuable lesson that you learned from the application process, try to take at least one thing away from it all that you can improve or work on.
The good thing about getting a job in journalism is that you can take – at the very least – a contact away with you. Hell, you might even get rejected with an article offer or direct email address for pitching and queries.
Either way, do not be afraid to get back in touch with the company or client.
You never know what may come of it…
- MSN Money: “How to battle job search rejection”
- Wall Street Journal Blog: “Advice: Avoiding Self-Blame After Constant Rejection”
- Palladian: “How do Hiring Mangers Decide Who to Hire?”