Sunday, June 21, 2009

Looking in the Rear View Mirror

[This is the third part of a discussion on Rejection in our Job Search. Please read the previous posts for context]

Rejection is part of the job search journey, as we discuss in our last entries. We think (hope, pray) our destination is in sight, only to be told “No, this is not your exit.” So we put on a professional smile, get back on the road, and look for the next opportunity. But there’s no denying: it does hurt.

Now what do I do?

Aside from that tired, sage wisdom from my grandmother--“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”--is there anything we can do? (Especially when I'm so depressed Idon’t even want to get dressed at all!)

In my time on this journey, I’ve come up with a few insights. I can’t take the “sting” out of the rejection, but I’ll share some of my thoughts:

* It’s not my fault…unless it is. (I know, how clear is that?!) In many cases, the rejection is not about “me” the person. There are so many factors that must converge for a the right job offer. (The positive application of the “perfect storm.”) It could be my skill set is not seen by the hiring manager as a match for the job. My specific background may not match with what the prospective company believes would be most useful for them. As we saw in our last post, it could be a bad chemistry with the interviewer and/or hiring manager.

And sometimes (and I hate this one the most), we just never know the reason(s).

But some of the reasons for the rejection (not getting that interview, not being asked back or not landing the job) might be more tangible. And personal. (i.e., That person in the mirror might be the root cause.) So, whenever or how ever we experience the rejection, it’s a good time for reflection and review. I always go back over the entire process and ask:
What did I do right? Is there anything I would do differently? Were there mistakes I made? How can I improve?

As we read all the experts, there are many factors which can hurt our chances in the job market, and they are things which we can (and should) control. Depending on who you read, or how much you read, the list could be endless. I have summarized it into four basic areas:

Accuracy: If I’m sending out resumes and not getting any response, it might be time to consider revising my resume. Typos are the surest and quickest route to rejection. One recruiter I read said that as many as 90 percent of the resumes he receives have spelling errors. You could consider getting an impartial opinion from someone in your career field or even hire a professional to create a new resume. (You could also go back and read
my post on this very subject!)

Also on this subject is the issue of providing accurate information. As we’ve said in the past, don’t lie on your resume. Don’t fudge about your education, don’t buy a diploma you didn’t’ earn, don’t pad your experience, don’t hyperbolize your accomplishments and don’t exaggerate your actual skills. In case I'm being too subtle: DO NOT LIE ON YOUR RESUME. EVER! If you want to write fiction, try a novel.

In my next entry, we’ll continue to look at elements (the ones we can/should control) which will hinder our job search success.

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