When you’re looking for a new role and sending off job applications, the one certainty is that you will face rejection. Every rejection feels like an arrow to the heart and seems to eat away at the confidence. Too many knockbacks sometimes has people deciding to stick with what they’re doing and putting the search for a new role on the backburner.
Have you tended to withdraw from a job search process after a few unsuccessful applications?
What do the experts tell us? They maintain that rejection is a good thing! I’ve heard it said that if you’re not getting enough rejection (in whatever you’re attempting), it means you’re not being courageous enough.
We are also advised that the best way to build resilience to rejection, is to reframe it into a ‘positive’.
In 1993 when I joined the recruitment industry with a large national firm, they focused heavily on the sales cycle and use of data. For example, if you made 30 marketing calls in a week, you should expect to set up 3 visits for the following week with potential clients. So how did it feel to get 27 rejections – many of which were less than pleasant? It felt great (not when I first started!) as we were taught to view each of the 27 ‘no’ calls as being one step closer to the 3 successes.
Recently I was introduced to the concept of a ‘rejection fund’. For each knockback you receive you reward yourself by placing money in a jar – say $10 for an application that doesn’t progress past the first stages; to $50 for an interview that didn’t lead to an appointment. When you do get the new role, the fund is used to spoil yourself. How exciting is each rejection in this scenario? Each ‘no’ gets you closer to that treat – think about a reward such as a pricey bottle of wine rather than a round-the-world first class airfare!
An experienced principal told me she had been interviewed for 7 deputy roles before securing her first deputy position. (These were 7 interviews, not 7 applications.) As fate would have it, she was interviewed for 7 principal appointments before being appointed to her first principal role. Her mindset was that each so-called failure got her one step closer. I cannot begin to imagine all the school staff and families that would have missed out if this inspirational leader had not learned to push through a rejection.
The key thing to remember when you get a “no” is that it is never, ever personal. It is that an interview panel has adjudged another person as being a better match to the time, the context and the place.
But is there anything you can learn from a rejection? A former work colleague had a wonderful view on this. Will used to say “there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback.” Take the time to obtain feedback. Reflect on the information. Discuss it with a trusted confidante. Then reflect some more.
Then press on – our education community needs you to push through rejection.