Recession School: How to Deal with Rejection

December 10 2009, 12:21 PM
A good friend of mine is a well-qualified and talented journalist. She was laid off last January and has relentlessly applied for jobs since. As one of her references, I know about most of those applications, and as a friend, I try to call before each interview to wish her luck. More than ten months later, she still hasn't found a new job and is understandably tired of the rejections. She is the inspiration for today's installment of Recession School, in which we talk about how to deal with rejection and how to turn it into a positive force during a job search. Our expert is Donald Strankowski, the founder and president of Ascend Career and Life Strategies, a local career-training and professional-development firm. His newest book is New Strategies for a New Job Market: 7 Power Techniques for Getting You Hired in Today's Real World at Work. Q. How should we respond to rejection letters? A. If the employer was a high-level entry on a target list, I encourage clients to keep in touch with the hiring manager on a regular basis, usually every 60-90 days.  Otherwise, focus your time and effort uncovering new opportunities. Don't waste your time and continue to harp on an employer who simply doesn't want you.  There are too many other options! Q. Can we network with people who chose not to hire us? A. If they choose not to hire you, there's a solid chance they may not be a good networking contact.  They may be nice and say "sure" if you ask for their help but may not provide much assistance if there isn't a solid relationship that's been developed over time. Q. How should we be thinking about rejection as we apply for jobs in the current market? A. Continual rejection from employers can be used as a sign that the job seeker needs to change their tactics, strategies, and thinking.  Truth is, most people's job-seeking skills are fair to poor. It's not a subject that is taught in school, so most job seekers are using conjecture and trial-and-error in their efforts. One of the biggest job-seeking faux pas I continually see are job seekers who become overly reliant on Internet postings.  The odds of being hired as a result of a posting from a major job board are 200-1.  Most employers find employees---and most workers find jobs---through networking. Today, a solid networking campaign needs to have three key elements to be successful: regular, face-to-face meetings with key contacts; a strong social-media initiative; and a plan for attending relevant groups and functions.