Rejection is hurtful in any situation, but repeatedly getting a negative or no response regarding job applications, callbacks, interviews or offers can do a real number on your psyche and self-esteem.
If you’re starting to feel like you’ve been burned so often you may never get near the fire again, consider the reasons behind those rejections. Accurately diagnosing the problem up front can save you a lot of time and heartache going forward.
Which one of these scenarios applies to you … and what can you do about it?
You’re not getting callbacks or interviews after applying for a job.
The root of the problem may lie within your resume:
- It’s not tailored to the position. Read job postings carefully and match keywords in them with your skills and accomplishments. Do this for every job you apply for; generic resumes simply don’t cut it.
- It isn’t formatted for an ATS. ATS stands for the applicant tracking system, a computer program that scans applications before they ever reach the desk of a human recruiter. Here again, be sure keywords match up. Keep your format simple; for instance, avoid tables, graphs, and columns, and use standard headings.
You get phone screens or first-round interviews, but the buck stops there.
Maybe you’re not as prepared as you should be for the next step in the hiring process:
- Have you done your homework? Research a company and its products and services. Be ready to talk about its challenges, achievements, and innovations and how you could contribute to its success. Check websites and related media coverage, and connect with any LinkedIn or other contacts who may be able to provide further insight.
- Prepare answers to common interview questions and practice them out loud. Saying the actual words ahead of time can improve your performance significantly. Don’t memorize the answers; just rehearse them so the words will flow naturally when the time comes.
You’re getting multiple interviews for desired positions, but no offers.
It really stings when you get this far, only to be shut down just when you thought you had a real shot at a position. Make sure you stand out – just enough – and continue to make a positive impression on hiring decision-makers.
- Be memorable for the right reasons. Show your enthusiasm without coming on too strong. Be on time for interviews, not an hour early. Write a thank-you note, but don’t call daily for updates. Strike the right professional balance while highlighting the best of your style and personality.
- Stay positive. Even if you’re asked a question such as how you might make improvements to a product or team, be careful with your wording. Be solution-oriented instead of pointing out all the problems you see. This also applies to any questions you get about previous employers. Never badmouth them, even if their behavior was horrible.