Five Tools for Dealing With Rejection

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During a job search you face many different obstacles - heavy competition, gatekeepers, staying motivated and occasionally, rejection. Although you may shrug it off initially, after a protracted search rejection can take its toll. The only career seekers who don't face it are ones who aren't applying for positions. "It's always good to keep in mind that rejection is a result of trying, which is getting you out of your comfort zone," says Career Coach Shannon Dysart. Here are five tools to help you cope with the rejection that comes hand in hand with every job search.

#1 Maintain Your Focus
It's natural to question yourself when someone in a position to hire you doesn't. Are you in the wrong field? Are you being unrealistic? Tweaking your objective or reshaping your pitch for a different position may be a good idea, but it's important to maintain your focus. "In the face of rejection, sometimes people panic and radically alter their focus and approach," says Dysart. The results often end up confusing prospective employers. Concentrate and reaffirm exactly what you are looking for. Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses and write out your career objectives. Then make a list of companies that you want to turn your attention to and focus on them exclusively.

#2 Get Feedback
The upside of making mistakes is that you learn from them and the same goes for rejection. If you are in a position to find out why you weren't selected for an opening take advantage of it and ask. The way to go about it is to say you are interested in learning from your experience and welcome any constructive input. Friends and former colleagues are also a great resource - show them your cover letters and resumes and discuss what happened in interviews to gain insight into improving your performance in the future.

#3 Share Your Disappointment
Feeling frustrated and disappointed is perfectly understandable in the face of rejection. Take time out to talk to other people - family, friends, and confidantes. Whether it's venting or just sharing your feelings with people you trust, it's healthy to communicate your experience. If you find it particularly hard to overcome a specific instance, sit down and write a letter to the person who rejected you. Feel free to express your disappointment. The best thing about this exercise is that you will be able to release your negative feelings without ever sending the letter.

#4 Acknowledge Others' Rejection
Want to take the sting out of rejection in a hurry? Google famous people+rejection. Did you know that Beethoven's music teacher declared him 'hopeless' at composing? Or that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team? Realizing the struggles others faced helps put your own trials in perspective and shows that ultimately good things can emerge from rejection.

#5 Keep it Light
It's easy to withdraw and turn inward when you feel unwanted. Try not to take yourself too seriously and maintain a healthy schedule that covers the basics of eating, sleeping and getting adequate exercise. "People who don't take rejection personally are more apt to realize there are other factors that went into a decision that didn't go their way," says Dysart. She recommends remembering and celebrating your past successes when you feel dragged down by the weight of rejection.

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