Dealing With Job-Search Rejection
I’ve applied for 20 jobs and I’ve had one phone interview that went nowhere. Seven of the companies sent me form letters saying “no thanks” and I heard nothing from the others. The rejection is the worst part of the job search, on top of the boredom and the isolation. Any suggestions?
You are right on target — the one-two punch of tedious, isolating job-search activity plus a continuous stream of “no’s” in various flavors (including the no-thank-you letter flavor, the “if we don’t call you, that’s a no” auto-responder flavor and my favorite, the Utter Silence flavor) is tough for even the hardiest job-seekers to endure.
Let’s talk about some practical how-to’s and circle back around to the rejection topic. If you had one phone interview and got 7 ‘No Thanks’ letters from your 20 overtures that leaves thirteen employers you haven’t heard from. I wouldn’t consider those dead by any stretch. I’d use LinkedIn, Google and ZoomInfo to hunt for “your” hiring manager, and reach out to the person directly with a Pain Call:
SHE: Sarah Jones.
YOU: Hi Sarah, this is Karl Smith. I’m curious, have you filled the Marketing Coordinator position yet?
SHE: No, we haven’t – we kind of got stalled — did you send us a resume?
YOU: I did. I wonder, is that job mostly about getting sales leads to your sales reps more quickly? That’s the impression I had from the ad.
SHE: A lot of that, but we also need someone to put out our monthly newsletter. Have you done newsletter publishing?
YOU: I wrote and edited our newsletter at Acme Dynamite, and handled trade-show leads also — are you interviewing for that job?
SHE: Give me your name again….
We call this a Pain Call because we’re asking about the pain behind the job ad. We’re reminding Sarah of what’s bugging her now – namely, the fact that trade show sales leads are sitting around gathering dust. You can also follow up on a resume via a LinkedIn note (either via a direct connection or by using an InMail). You can even send an email follow-up if you like. Don’t send a resume and then sit back and wait. Follow-up is very often the difference between an interview and no interview. Try it!
Back to the rejection issue: yes, rejection is tough. It’s helpful if you remember that there are only certain companies and jobs that are going to be a good fit for you. When you get a terse, unfriendly auto-response message essentially saying, “Drop dead for all we care,” your first thought doesn’t have to be “Oh, shoot, another job I didn’t get.” Your first thought can be “Man! Thank goodness I didn’t waste time interviewing with these people.”
You know from Glassdoor that there are companies you’d love working for and others you’d positively hate. You don’t have to wait to see a job ad posted – as you spot companies you’d be interested in, you can find “your” hiring manager via LinkedIn and reach out to that person directly.
Volume is still a huge factor in a job search. A great goal is to get 10 resumes out the door, every week. I’m not talking about pitching resumes blindly into Black Holes – that’s a huge waste of time. I’m talking about researching employers to spot the pain and to find your hiring manager, and reaching out to that person directly with a pithy Pain Letter that speaks about what’s keeping him or her up at night.