How to overcome jobs rejection

Coach Martin Garrity has some advice if you’ve been rejected in your job search and are finding it hard to summon the enthusiasm to try again.

Job Description


Martin Garrity aka The Jobsearch Coach helps people who are looking for a new job, wanting to change their job and are getting interviews but getting rejected. His service is for jobseekers, job changers, job returners and job starters. Here he outlines advice for those who have had knockbacks on the road to finding a new job.

So your application has been rejected. The moment that arrives for all active jobseekers sooner or later.

Many of my coaching clients have experienced repeated rejection and disappointment whilst jobseeking and consequently ask for my help.

Like the jobseeker who said to me “I’ve been looking for nearly two years. It’s rejection after rejection. If you can’t help me, I’m scared that I won’t work again”.

The pain of being turned down can lead to distorted and self-critical thinking – a negative thinking spiral that can trap you.

“If I go straight back to making applications, there’ll just be more pain when I get rejected again”.

This thinking pattern – whilst perhaps understandable – is guaranteed to prolong your current situation.

If I meet somebody like this, I’ll work with her/him to raise the threshold of tolerance.

My clients readily accept that stopping jobsearch is not an effective strategy for getting a new job.

It’s the work and possible pain of further rejection that puts my clients off getting back in the saddle of jobseeking.

Trying again

So together we look at that reasoning and challenge it.

Against a backdrop of unconditional positive regard, I help the client see that further jobsearch work will quite possibly lead to further rejection and that such disappointment can be surmounted and overcome.

“I’ve been rejected because I’m no good. So what’s the point of applying again?”

When I hear this, my policy is usually to support the jobseeker in accepting themselves as fallible, but still with value for an employer. In other words, being rejected – even many times – does not make a jobseeker worthless.

Accepting uncertainty

Together, we might work on remembering the strengths/skills the jobseeker has and the evidence that proves them.

“But I might get rejected again. I’ll feel even worse.”

Some of my clients have used words like these or similar. They reflect a need for certainty – to have a guarantee of success. In cases like this, my objective is to help the jobseeker to accept uncertainty as inevitable and to work with those things she/he can control.

“There are no visible signs that I’m getting better at jobsearch. I may as well give up.”

What this person seems to mean is that she/he is not seeing immediate signs of improving.

Job search can be a bit like getting fit. Go to the gym once and you won’t see an improvement in your fitness. It’s something you have to do habitually over time to make a difference.

The same is true with job search. So we work together at accepting doubt and uncertainty as natural companions to changing strategy or to being persistent. And at keeping going even when results are not instantaneous.

Rejection can hurt and lead us to stop working toward our goals. Helping jobseekers to overcome that is one of the most rewarding parts of career coaching.

*For more information, visit or email Martin at [email protected].

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