Job Seekers: Reject Rejection (Don’t Take “No” for an Answer)

Don't take no for an answerFear of rejection is one aspect of job searching that most job seekers share.

We often slow, or even sabotage, our job search – perhaps by not asking for the help we need, or maybe by avoiding meeting new people through networking or informational interviews simply because those critical aspects of the job search fall outside our comfort zones.

So… let’s toughen up a bit.

Rejection is something we’re all afraid of! (Truth be told, it is one of my greatest fears).

But seldom will you experience true rejection. What I mean is, we aren’t being told “No, I won’t help you”. With a slight shift in perspective, rejection can be turned on its head. “No” doesn’t really mean no. Instead, re-define the word as: “I just need to give this person a better reason to say yes”.

Here are some suggestions on how to reject our fear of rejection during a job search:

Risking it All

You have nothing to lose! Why won’t you pick up the phone and call that person, follow up on that lead, reach out to a past coworker?

Are you not sure what you’ll say? Here’s what I know. If you have a script or outline of how you will introduce yourself and what you are specifically asking of them, you’ll feel a lot better. The more often you do this, the easier it will get, I promise. Trust me… I used to do B2B telemarketing.

Be Prepared for Objections

You will encounter people who don’t know how to help you. That’s why you need to be very clear. Have you ever heard these responses:

“I don’t know of any jobs” or, “I don’t do the hiring.”

You could say “thank you” and leave the conversation empty-handed. Or, your response may be able to re-direct the initial rejection into a favorable outcome:

“That’s too bad, but, I am actually looking for people to have a conversation with so I can learn more about XYZ company (Q industry or P occupation). If you were me, who do you think I should speak to?”

Do Your Own Homework

When you ask someone to do a favor for you, the outcome is out of your control. In many cases it is better for you to just ask for information or for a referral, and offer to do the legwork or make the calls.

Otherwise, you know what usually happens.

That well-meaning friend just doesn’t have the same set of priorities you do regarding your need. It may take them days or weeks to get you the information you requested. Ask for a name or number and permission to use your friend as a reference. Don’t rely on them to make calls or introductions for you.

By doing so, you won’t feel like a pest when you have to call them in a week or two to follow up.

Persistent vs Pest

There’s a fine line here. However, no two people see things quite the same way. Do not use your own particular filter to judge what others might see as pesky. Always be sincere and polite in your requests, and cognizant of other’s time. If your requests and correspondence aren’t spammy, you should be OK.

Now, It’s Up To You

This week, take small steps outside of your comfort zone. Push yourself. See what happens when you:

  • Call every name you are given this week. Call them!
  • Ask two people to meet with you for informational interviews to discuss your target companies
  • Find the hiring managers for the jobs you’ve applied to and call them to ask where they are in the review process

Right now, are you waiting for someone to get back to you… Feeling rejected because you haven’t heard back? Call all those people this week. Don’t wait another day!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa!



HannahAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa, and follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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