As your college days are beginning to dwindle, receiving job rejections can take its toll on your psyche. It can feel like everyone around you has already signed a job contract while you’re the only one without prospects. And then when you finally do get an acceptance, it’s easy to rush into something that might not be the best fit in order to join the club, which can be short-lived if you decide to leave.
What to do when the process of finding jobs gets you down
Know your strengths
This, of course, is something that you should be doing before you even begin to write your first cover letter. But we encourage you to go beyond listing only that which sounds good to an employer. Take a good chunk of time to sit back and think about what makes you great, even outside of the business mindset. Maybe you’re a team player; what specific teams have you been a part of and what accomplishments did you achieve together? Or maybe you’re a good public speaker; when did you rouse a group of people to do something well? When did you perform in front of others—maybe with an instrument or in a theatrical event—to applause or acclaim?
When you create a resume, it’s usually the personal things like this that get shoved to the bottom or deleted in an effort to keep it to one page. But don’t just get rid of them entirely. Instead, write a new list that you get to keep for yourself. In addition to serving as an easy-access grab bag of conversation topics with recruiters—especially for those with whom you have something in common—this can be just what you need to stay positive.
Find your best fit
“Company culture” is a buzzy phrase that has permeated the business world. Some point to companies like Google and Facebook, which have brought the casual, perk-laden business environment to the forefront. Others point to the recession, which caused businesses to find other ways to retain employees than promotions and raises that they couldn’t afford. Whatever the source, company culture has become a mainstay.
Due to this, more businesses than ever are upfront about what defines their culture, especially because many of them have developed it after much trial, error, and research. This is why you can often find descriptions of company culture on the business’s own website as well as in its job postings and easily searchable Slideshares.
The reason we suggest that you spend a good amount of time understanding a company’s culture before you apply to join is because it gives you an idea of where you might fit best. You might not love the Google environment after all. Maybe you prefer to wear a suit and speak directly with clients. Or maybe you prefer to work on your own with minimal collaboration and don’t need all the community hoopla that other people prize. The point is that everyone’s different, and so is every company. Knowing yourself and precisely what you want will help you not only land a job, but also stay happy. And if you realize it wasn’t a good fit to begin with, you can keep your chin up and know that it wasn’t meant to be.
Be useful and productive
Just because you haven’t received a job offer yet doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and do nothing. Find ways to fill your time and contribute to something. That could mean building your own blog to learn the ins and outs of site design and SEO. You could take advantage of short-term opportunities that help you build lasting relationships and potential references, even if it’s in a different field than you pictured yourself working in. Perhaps there’s a volunteering or freelance opportunity you’ve always wanted to try. The list goes on.
In addition to helping you feel productive and boosting your morale while you wait for an offer, these opportunities might even help you get a job in the future. You’ll be networking and expanding your interests, which might be the clincher that makes a recruiter take interest in you. Rejection is a necessary part of trying, so embrace the time it gives you and do something that helps you stand out.