Learning Resilience

November 16, 2013

I recently applied for a job that I thought would match my skills perfectly with the needs of the employer. The employer thought otherwise.  I received a rejection letter after my initial interview.  I was very upset about the decision.  I’ll admit it, I cried and felt miserable the entire afternoon.  But after a day I stepped back and tried to view the decision with objectivity.  Maybe I wasn’t the right fit for the job.  Perhaps this wasn’t the right time.  Maybe I wasn’t marketing myself effectively. In the end, I tried to garner wisdom from the decision and then move on.

Sometimes the answer is no.

I often meet with law students and recent graduates who take every rejection personally and the disappointment that a rejection brings halts their job search for weeks at a time.  Taking extended breaks stalls your momentum and will not help you find a job.

The most successful job seekers, I observe, have learned resilience in the face of rejection.  How do they do it?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Resilient job seekers don’t take rejection personally.  They spend 24 hours mulling over the disappointment, figure out what may have gone wrong, what could be done better next time, and then move on.
  • Resilient job seekers don’t hold grudges.  They know that circumstances change constantly and one never knows whom one may meet again.
  •  Resilient job seekers stay positive.  Instead of saying, “I’ll never find a job!” they say, “I’ll connect with the right employer soon.  I just have to keep plugging away.”
  • Resilient job seekers have a long list of possibilities and never put all of their eggs in one basket.  They diversify their job search by geography and practice area because you increase your possibility of getting hired if you have lots of options under consideration.
  • Resilient job seekers know that someday – very soon – the answer will be yes.