We’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s a Dear John letter, sometimes it’s personal feedback and sometimes it’s just radio silence and ghosting.
We’ve all faced job rejection and setbacks and it’s not something you want to experience every day. For those that work in the arts and creative industries, sometimes they can face a lot more rejection than us and it can have a serious toll on their mental health.
Any job rejection is hard to bear and it can seem like for every 100 jobs you apply for, 5 will let you know that you haven’t been successful, and the rest will just pretend you don’t exist.
So, what to do when you do receive that Dear John email or maybe a call from a company that aren’t ‘interested’? How do we get the confidence to keep applying, to keep putting in the effort and to keep trying to secure our dream job?
TAKE IT ON THE CHIN
Keep your head up. Try not to take it personally and persevere. Take each rejection with a pinch of salt and accept that someone better qualified or suited to the role, got the job.
It’s not the nicest thing to hear, but I always think that the perfect job will find you and you will find it. Look at each job rejection as, ‘this was obviously meant for someone else and I will find the perfect job at the right time’.
Dealing with rejection is very hard both mentally and emotionally. For one of my best friends who works in the arts, rejection is something she has to face every single day. I asked her how this must take a toll on her and she had this to say about facing rejection,
“Working in the entertainment is 99.9% rejection. This means rejection is very much something artists expect on the daily. Does this make it easier? Yes and no. I find because I have dealt with rejection from any early age, as I have gotten older I have become immune.
However, the overall emotional turmoil of so much rejection does takes its toll. Working in this industry is a constant rollercoaster; sometimes I will face a rejection and it will not effect me, other times it will make me question why I am doing this to myself and more times than that it will create a fire in my belly to work harder than ever.
Most importantly, the thing to take away from the rejection is what you can learn from that particular audition or if you can gain tips from the Creative Director. You must recognise that if you did the best that you could, you must let it go, learn what you can from that process and move on to the next.”
MAKE YOUR OWN FATE
Something I’m a big believer in is, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
I’ve seen quite a few people post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, asking if anyone knows about any available jobs or positions that may suit them and low and behold, they usually are quite successful based on the post.
So why not put it out there to your LinkedIn network or your Twitter network. Ask connections you have in your chosen industry whether they know of anyone hiring or a position that may be suitable for you.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
MAYBE IT’S YOU, NOT THEM
If you feel like you’re facing rejection after rejection, take a look at your CV and cover letters. Maybe you have a spelling mistake or grammar error in your CV? Maybe you’ve included the wrong contact information? Or maybe you just aren’t selling yourself and your experience enough.
I’ve written a guide to creating your CV here, and you can also find some great CV advice for rewording your experience on my Instagram here.
For each job, try and make your cover letters as personal to the job as possible. Include the title of the position that you’re applying for, include the name of the company in there and emphasise how much you want to work there and why.
Make your cover letter as enjoyable a read as possible. Read it over, make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes and when you finish reading it, think, Would I hire me based on this cover letter? Would I want to find out more about this person?
Writing new cover letters for each job position is tiresome and can be frustrating, but it is always worth it.
For help writing your cover letter from scratch, check out my post: How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter
CAN YOU LIKE, TB AT LEAST?
*Note that ‘TB’ is shorthand for ‘text back’ and should not be used in your job application.
One of the most frustrating things about applying for jobs is not hearing anything back from the employer after you’ve spent a long time applying. It can be quite disheartening and deter you from applying for more positions.
I asked a current final year HR student, Liam Hynes, why employers don’t always respond to your application and any advice he would have for students and graduates applying for roles at the moment:
“Unfortunately, it is very common for the hiring manager to not respond to applicants when they are unsuccessful for a position. There will be times when you don’t hear back immediately, purely because you’re not the right fit for the job. It is always important to remember that the employer could also be busy with work matters outside the hiring process.
With many organisations effected by the coronavirus pandemic, redundancies are on the increase. People working in recruitment are now struggling to find work and learning how hard it can be not to hear back. I believe we will start to see a drastic change in the recruitment process, with companies starting to make a conscious effort to respond to applicants and provide constructive feedback.
The main thing to remember is NOT TO LOSE HOPE! Stay determined on the path to your dream position. Cheryl Cole didn’t climb Kilimanjaro in a day. The harder you work, the closer you will be to your new role, and this takes time. In the near future you will get an interview and the job offer you deserve.”
A professional from the CIPD also touched on why employers may not always reply and some things to consider when applying for listings like grad programmes or placement positions that will attract large numbers of applicants,
“A lot of organisations will have a policy to say if and how they will get in touch and this should be upfront in the advert. It’s rude not to tell someone and it’s not always down to HR ie could be the vacancy holder’ responsibility. In my work we always notified but we didn’t always offer feedback where there were high numbers applying (ie 2-3,000 applications for a graduate programme).”
YOUR NOT-SO-PRIVATE PRIVATE LIFE
Another obstacle to consider when it comes to job rejections is the information you have made open to the public.
Is your social media public? Do you have a lot of drunken photos and stories open to the employers eyes? What comes up on Google when you search your own name? If you find something you don’t want an employer to see, you’re going to want to change that.
Look at all of your social media channels and privatise those that won’t help you get your dream job. Don’t erase your social media altogether as you can utilize social media to your advantage. Create a professional social media account and connect with those in your industry and those you admire.
Related: Why You Need to Think About Your Personal Brand
Keep trying! The perfect job is out there and it’s waiting for you. Don’t give up even after you receive the 100th job rejection as the 110th job application might just be the one.
Keep asking those you know that may be able to help you and update your CV and cover letters as best you can.
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