Getting rejected from jobs is hurtful. Getting rejected for a lot of jobs is very hurtful. It leads to damage to self-confidence, which in itself will stop you getting a job. Worse still, it can make you angry. And, angry people do not get jobs.
So, if you’re one of these people who has been looking for a new job for several months and not got anywhere, have a look at the checklist below.
- Are your expectations too high? I was once a store manager desperate to be an area manager. The brutal reality is that it is very difficult to make that jump and most companies will only look at multi-site experience, however good you are as a store manager. Consider lowering your expectations.
- Are your expectations too low? This often happens with older people who have perhaps been near the top and readily accepted that they may need to take a step backwards. Sadly, that can make employers suspicious. If you are taking a step backwards then be sure to explain why.
- How good is your CV? With all the help there is around, so many people still have dreadful CVs. The temptation is to shove everything in it that you have ever achieved. It’s not getting read! The full guide to writing a CV is here. Keep it short and keep it relevant.
- What is your digital footprint? What does your social media say about you? Younger people tend to think it is great fun to have last year’s Christmas party photos on a public Facebook page. It’s not. Keep Facebook private. Look at the social media section on this site, but one obvious tip is your photo. Definite NOs are:
- You in your dinner suit/dress
- You and your kids
- You on the beach
- You sitting at your desk holding the expensive pen that Auntie Rose bought you last Christmas.
Keep it business like. A passport style photo is fine, anything else is a risk.
- How good are you at interviews?
- You’ve been interviewing others for years. What can anyone tell you about interview techniques? Well, quite a lot actually. If you’ve not been in the job market for a while then your interview skills are likely to be rusty. In fact, they may be awful. But how do you find out?
- If you’ve been turned down for a job after interview, then there is nothing wrong with you calling the interviewer and asking where you went wrong. This could be incredibly helpful. Of course not all interviewers will tell you. But most will. This, more than anything else, could help you progress. Don’t be angry at not getting the job and be absolutely clear that you are not challenging the decision. Ask them what you needed to have done to get you to the next stage. If you discover that you have missed something important, then do tell them, but remember, the decision is taken. Always finish by asking if it would be worth applying again in the future. It’s OK to sound very disappointed that you didn’t get the job. In fact, it is highly desirable to do so. If your opening remark is: “I am so disappointed”, that immediately flatters the client and invites sympathy. If you challenge their decision you will only confirm to them that you were the wrong person for the job.
- If you’ve been seen by a decent headhunter or recruitment consultant, ask them for their advice. It doesn’t matter if they are 20 years your junior. Their knowledge of the job market will be better than yours.
The most important advice we can give you here is that you must apply to the 30th job you have applied to with the same care and enthusiasm with which you applied to the first. If you start expecting failure, you’ll get it.