(This probably isn’t about the kind of rejection you’re thinking, I don’t know how to deal with that yet).
So, you’ve made it. You’ve completed your course, stumbled on stage in that expensive cap and gown and, finally, the next stage of your life awaits. Take it from someone who has been there, done that and worn the tote bag (our uni didn’t do t-shirts, unfortunately!), the post-uni world is a scary place.
If you’re not continuing studying, what awaits you is job applications, the nail biting wait to hear back and – on some occasions- rejection.
This post is ringing so true for me at the moment, as I’m searching far and wide for my first taste of employment after three years of hard work and – up to now – I’m not getting anywhere!
Of course it’s not all about me, so here’s some words of advice I can offer:
It’s not you, it’s the job
I feel like a broken record at the moment, wingeing about job after job, rejection after rejection. My first reaction is what is wrong with me or what did I do wrong? I think the first thing I can say is it’s not you, it’s the job. Though some jobs will reject you because it’s you and your application that don’t fit the bill, others are just oversubscribed or there’s somebody who impressed every so slightly more than you.
It’s very easy, amongst the flurry of rejection emails and phone calls, to feel like you want to give up and become a Netflix watching hermit. Of course, though that does sound tempting, that’s not the way forward. Though rejection of any kind knocks you down, you just have to get back up, dust yourself off and keep applying.
I have a note entitled “Jobs” on my phone and, so far, it has been a godsend. Granted, it looks like a reminder of how many jobs I’ve not managed to get at the moment, but it keeps me up to date with where I’m at. So, make notes, track where you’ve applied for and mark down where you’re up to with those jobs – even just so you don’t apply for it again!
Get to know yourself
This sounds like a weird one but being rejected, in many senses, makes you realise what you actually might want. At times, I’ve applied for a job, got the knock and then – once I’ve stopped crying – I realise I wouldn’t have liked that job anyway. You really do, at this crucial point in life, get to know yourself. You figure out what you’re good at (for me, writing) and what you’re not (aptitude and personality based job questionnaires) and, who knows, you might become that bit clearer on what you actually want to do.
Don’t be disheartened
I sound like my dissertation advisor when she marked my first draft, but it’s true. Getting rejected in any sense, not just from jobs, can knock you a little bit. My main advice, not just to you but to myself, is don’t be disheartened. I finished uni thinking I’d have this Eureka moment where I’d know what I wanted to do and find a way to do it (that hasn’t happened yet). So that’s meant I’ve had to apply for anything and everything since I graduated in July and – so far – I’ve only had one interview. I think, honestly, for a lot of us finding a job takes time. I’ve taken my interview as a win, as I didn’t think I’d get that far, and I’m just going to keep on applying. It’s easy to feel sad when you don’t get there. It’s completely valid, too. To move from rejection in any form, really, you just need to keep your head up.
So, to summarise:
- Rejection isn’t always “your fault”
- Keep applying
- Note down as much as you can
- Figure out what roles you think you’d like/be good at and filter out those things you don’t
- Keep your head up