This post is written by a member of the Debut Student Publisher Network. Read on for Hiran’s advice on sticking it to generic email rejections.
The job market can feel like a lonely, unforgiving place, especially for grads who are treading these shark-infested waters for the first time. When it comes to applications, everyone tells you that rejections are simply a part of the process (and they’re right). But it’s still pretty shit. And the worst ones are definitely generic email rejections.
Sometimes they can be absolutely brutal, but in others there are actually good reasons why you receive them. Nevertheless, recruiters have tried to give advice on how to deal with email rejection, but sometimes “keeping your chin up” doesn’t cut it.
With links to scientific research, the best guides on the internet and some great advice from people who have been there, here’s a great list of proactive methods to help you bounce back from those dreaded “Dear Applicant, we regret to inform you…” emails.
1. Do some exercise
When you first read that email, it can feel like a kick in the stomach. There is actually a scientific reason for that. However, research suggests that this can be counteracted by physical activity, releasing endorphins that make you happier.
Don’t worry, you don’t need a run a marathon (!), but a quick 7 minute all-around workout can be all it takes to make you feel immediately better.
2. Create a comfortable, social distraction
Have you ever felt like you wanted to crawl into bed and shut the curtains after receiving a number of these dreaded emails? That’s totally natural. However, psychologists have shown that doing something social can remind you that that you are loved and connected.
It might be a struggle and don’t force yourself, but going out for a drink or having a night-in with loved ones could provide the right distraction.
3. Celebrate your courage
Speaking of bravery, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for getting through the application process. Applying for jobs is gruelling, and with the volume of applications you’re doing you might not realise that you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Rejection is a sign that you are getting there, don’t give up.
4. Thank them and ask for feedback
This probably sounds like the last thing you want to do. Remember, recruiters are HUMAN. Even if they use a bot to send you an email, most will have read through your application and given you a piece of their time.
Thanking recruiters takes five minutes with a template, will be much appreciated and could provide you with a gem to make your next application a hiring one. Feedback is golden.
5. Don’t over-analyse
Try not to keep going through the highlights of an application or interview gone wrong. Over-analysing scenarios can draw our attention to insignificant details and forget about the more important things.
Try to focus on the big picture and identify one overarching thing you would have done differently. Build with baby steps.
6. Be honest with yourself
This is always the hardest one, but the most rewarding if done properly. Whilst generic email rejections, especially by email, can be crippling – you can use the learnings to your advantage.
Take the fear out of it by making a plan of action. Write down a list of areas you are confident on, and others you want to improve. Set yourself progressive deadlines and evaluate your development. (And don’t forget to reward yourself!)
7. Make a “bragging rights” list
Once you have done some introspective, inject some positivity into your job search. This rejection doesn’t define you and there are plenty of things you are amazing at – so make a list.
Claim “bragging rights” over skills, qualities and actions that you think are unique to you. Affirmations are a great way to do this and you can repeat these every day.
8. Be a maker, not a faker
The world belongs to the people who choose to make things. This fantastic statement and blog post by James Clear emphasises the point that rejection shouldn’t discourage you from creating things.
If you are a creator or distributor, then keep doing your thing. These days, everyone’s got a side hustle and that’s what’s making them different.
9. Become “rejection proof”
If you are feeling really adventurous, then you can try and become “rejection proof”. This cool experiment from Jia Jiang shows how tackling fear and hearing the word “no” can help to build the confidence to prepare for an eventual “yes”. Jiang got rejected for 100 days straight before he finally got the “you’re hired” finger pointed in his direction.
10. Stand out from the crowd (with minimal effort)
Sometimes generic email rejections can come from your application not standing out in the initial stages. Luckily, there are some great tools to make your CV pop online, even if you don’t have a developed LinkedIn profile.
This developer even hit the headlines for his Mario-style visual resume. And remember, don’t compromise on quality and clarity – substance is definitely more important than style.
11. Get back on the horse, champ
It sounds like a cliché, but you are only one application away from getting a “yes”. Hopefully these tips will have boosted your mood, helped you to take the learnings, developed confidence in your ability and changed your attitude towards rejection. You’re ready. You got this.
And who knows, when you are really successful, you might even be putting these generic email rejections on the wall to remind you where you started from!
Feature image © TopResume.com