Coping With Rejection in Your First Job Hunt – Turning Dead Ends Into Live Leads

Martin Yate CPC
NY Times Bestseller
Professional Resume Services

Job searches aren’t for the faint of heart.There is always plenty of disappointment and rejection when you are job hunting.  How do you avoid becoming discouraged and feeling like a total failure, until you find the manager who recognizes that you are a winner? 
 The first step is to put feelings about rejection  and discouragement in perspective.  No one enjoys rejection, it’s like having a giant pimple on prom night, it’s embarrassing and it always feels very personal, but it isn’t rejection of you as a person, it is rejection of your professional skill set – or at least the way you present it. 


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Rejections Are Like Headaches
Rejections Are Like Headaches, we all get them and they all pass. According to career expert, Paul Bruno, “Job search is is a numbers game, that you only lose when
you stop trying.” Paul and I both believe that best thing to do with the unfortunate, but inevitable rejections that come with a job search, is to get something out of the experience.

Your goal in a job search is to get into conversation with the people who can hire you as often as possible. When the rejection comes during  a call you have initiated, or during  telephone interview with a recruiter or hiring manager, you have the opportunity to turn the rejection into useful information.
Think of  every telephone call or in-person meeting during your job search as having multiple goals.


Your primary goal is always to arrange an interview, and your secondary goal is to develop leads on other opportunities, you do this by asking a few questions of your own at the end of the conversation. If there isn’t a need for someone like you right now, you can still make the call a success by asking:

“When do you anticipate new needs in your area?” “May I send you my resume and keep in touch for when the situation changes?”“Who else in the company might have a need for an entry-level _____?” “Do you know who I could speak to about internship opportunities?”“What other companies can you think of that might have a need for someone with my background?”

If the response is positive:
“Thanks, I appreciate the help. Do you know who I should speak to?”
If the response to that is positive:
“May I mention your name?”
You can also mention a company you plan to call:
“Do you know anyone I could speak to at _____?”

If you ask just this sequence of questions, you will get leads and introductions, and this enables you to open that next call with:
“Hello, Mr. Jones? My name is Martin Yate. Chuck Harris gave me your name and said to tell you hello . . .”

Talking to Strangers
The adrenaline rush you experience when picking up the phone to call a recruiter, potential hiring manager or even a networking contact is associated with fear, and is normal for anyone engaged in a high-performance activity. It is a very natural reaction. Even when you know the product you are selling inside out and know exactly what you are going to say and how you’re going to say it, I’d be surprised if you don’t get a little jittery at the prospect of calling strangers. Three pieces of advice always helped me in my hour of need, and I know they will help you too:
  1. Because I was on the phone, no one would know who your are or how freaked you feel.
  2. You will never meet these people unless they are interested in what you have to offer, in which case they’ll be happy you called.
  3. You have a plan and questions to maximize the odds of every call being successful. 
  4. Even if this contact had no job for you, by asking the right questions she will probably be quite happy to give you a lead because, like everyone you’ll speak to, she could remember what it was like to start out in the work world.
You Have What It Takes
When you structure your calls to hiring managers and recruiters, with these “lead generation” questions in mind, they will be short, to the point, and entirely professional. And because the person on the other end was once a job seeker too and might be again, you will find that the overwhelming majority of people will try to be helpful if you show them a way to do so.

By preparing a sequence of questions that look for opportunities elsewhere, you will achieve a measure of success from every call you make. No call will ever be a waste of time, and you will hone your professionalism and communication skills in the process. Perseverance in a job search means more than just grimly enduring its unpleasantness; it means making your own luck happen and when you have a plan for how to deal with rejection, that’s exactly what you’ll do. 

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Martin Yate
Copyright 2013
All rights reserved

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