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Taking a Job Search Personally

image Riding the roller coaster of emotions in a job search can be emotionally draining! Even the most even keeled personality can often feel like the ups and downs of a search are affecting the positive attitude they are trying to maintain in the process.


Obviously because a job search is so personal!

Even professional sales people, who are used to handling frequent rejection in their jobs, are often deeply affected by inevitable rejections that come in the job search process. When you’re selling an external product or service, it’s easier to be objective and level headed when getting a ‘No Thanks’. When the product is yourself, it feels more like a rejection of who you are.

So what do you do?

Here are 3 things that can help…

Decide what makes you, you! Many people, when asked about who they are, lead off with their occupation (i.e. “I’m an Accountant” or “I’m a Carpenter”). When your occupation is what defines you most in your own mind, it can be devastating to your self-image when you’re unemployed. Even more so when you can’t seem to find someone willing to hire you in that occupation. Is your career really who you are?

Everyone wears multiple hats. Which ones really matter to you most? Perhaps you are a devoted husband, wife, father, or mother. Perhaps you’re a grateful son, daughter, follower of Christ, or child of God. Maybe you’re a loyal friend, a talented athlete, musician, or writer. What things define you outside of your employment? Your employment status doesn’t change your identity in those areas. Those are the things you need to recognize, define, and focus on.

If, in your mind, what you are primarily is your career, any rejections or setbacks in that career will throw you off track. Decide what really makes you, you.

Realize that it’s a business decision, not a personal one. Although a personal connection with a hiring manager and ‘chemistry’ certainly play a role in who they hire, the final decision ultimately is a business decision. They will hire the person with the best combination of relevant technical / functional skills, track record, attitude, communication skills, and personality that matches their culture. You may have had an interview that felt like it was a home run, however, you have no idea who the other candidates were. Someone else may have hit the ball out of the park. They don’t see it as being opposed to you personally, they are simply choosing who they viewed as the best fit. Understanding that helps you accept it as well.

Envision yourself as a Sales and Marketing professional! The more you realize that as a job seeker, you have a full-time job as a Sales person, you will approach your job search more professionally, more fervently, and more objectively. You are selling, and your products are the services you offer that fulfill a companies requirements and wants for a particular position.

If you view your product as external, you can approach the task with greater objectivity. Examine how you approach your ‘customers’ and what message you want them to grasp. If they don’t buy / hire you, it’s not against you personally, they just haven’t seen how you are the best solution for their need. It will make you a better candidate, as well as help you keep the right personal perspective when you understand your role, and that you are not necessarily THE solution for every open position.

Taking rejection too personally in a job search is natural, and yet can be a challenge when trying to maintain a positive attitude. Examining how you view yourself and your search can help you overcome the difficulties and help you achieve the success you are seeking.


Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, MRW said...

You make great points throughout this post.

I especially like, "If you view your product as external ... Examine how you approach your 'customers' and what message you want them to grasp."

Indeed, it's ALL about being a solution to THEIR needs. Many job seekers hear that, but still focus on their greatest and most proud achievements regardless of the NEEDS of and their value to the target reader. Every decision in the resume development, interview and networking conversation process should boil down to answering the "what's in it for them" question.

All this said, the feeling of rejection during job search can be profound and a challenge to objectively understand. As you aptly mention, we all wear different hats, and sometimes we must remind ourselves we are NOT JUST our jobs/careers.

Excellent insights!

Career Sidekck said...

I like these tips a lot. Thinking of yourself as a brand and spending time to develop that personal brand can help your job search tremendously.

At the same time, like you said, if you aren't chosen for one particular job, it's not a personal attack against you. The hiring manager simply didn't think the position would be the best fit for your qualifications. Move on to the next one!

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