How to Survive the Job Search

A Job Search Rejection Survival Guide

“We regret to inform you that we cannot offer a position at this time.”

“We are seeking a candidate with more X experience.”


These are just a few types of responses that the average job seeker may encounter on a regular basis. After coaching almost 50 individuals in the area of career change or job search strategy during the past year, I can tell you that no matter what your experience level or industry is, the struggle is real.

As a career coach, organizational psychology professional, and recruiter, I can tell you that there is no rhyme or reason to the hiring process. Every now and then, you will see a company that absolutely nails it. I’ve encountered exactly one company in my almost 20-year career that actually managed the hiring process with dignity, velocity, and 100 percent utter professionalism. Though that company shall remain nameless, the talent management professional and staff members I encountered there made me feel like I had been carted off to the Disneyland of hiring experiences. I now use this company as my benchmark for success, but I can tell you that it’s in the minority.

For the most part, I have experienced directly and indirectly (through my clients) some of the most degrading, disorganized, and unprofessional hiring.

So here is the deal.

1. It Is Not You. Job searching is hard. It isn’t supposed to be easy. Forget about that friend who seems to get jobs all the time by just breathing. There are things that you can do to make it a little less stressful, but waiting and getting rejected can’t be escaped. Piling on a pound of self-doubt will just slow you down. We are all in this crazy game together.

2. Sometimes It’s Your Stuff. Sometimes the radiant and talented human being that you are isn’t properly reflected in your resumé and on LinkedIn. If that’s the case, get thyself to an expert (hint hint). If you are not shining, it’s because you need to do a better job promoting yourself. I have written resumés and LinkedIn profiles and have had women tell me, “You make me sound too good!” Stop it — now.

3. Sometimes It’s Just Not Time. My favorite quote of all time is from a poem by Wallace Stevens called The Well Dressed Man. The opening lines are:

After the final no there comes a yes

And on that yes the future world depends.

I don’t mean to get all “woo woo” on you, but think about this: You aren’t supposed to work where you aren’t supposed to work. It’s like a bad date – you have to consider that you dodged a bullet. You should want only a company that wants you.

Your time will come, and when it does, you will know. So chin up, job searcher. There is a method to the madness, and you just have to hold on until it all works out.