Don’t take it Personally

Originally published by Sarah Sikkelee

Attorneys aren’t familiar with failure and don’t process it well. As you walk thru a job search, you will perceive failure, but know this is simply part of the process. Rejection from one job is not failure of a job search. You will experience rejection and hear “no” in many forms but understand and remind yourself constantly that this is part of the job search process, unfortunately. While you may become dejected, you must persevere. Consider:

  1. There is typically one open position and many candidates.
  2. It’s not you it is them. Though you may think of yourself as perfect, there are many others out there who are just as qualified or more qualified than you. Remember, you don’t know your competition or when they started the process.
  3. This is not something you can control. Though you are used to controlling things, this is mostly out of your hands.
  4. If you are rejected, you likely won’t receive feedback as to why. If you do, take it for what it’s worth and move on. Don’t let it fester if it is something you don’t want to hear. Someone, somewhere, will be interested in you.
  5. Keep moving forward. When you think you have applied for the perfect job, find another just like it. You don’t know when you will find a job until you have accepted a job. If you think you have looked and found every possible job, start looking elsewhere.
  6. Network, network, network! Remember, everyone is a potential lead. Yes, even the clerk at the grocery store may know someone.
  7. Be gracious even after a rejection. You don’t know if you just missed the mark and, if something changes, they may revisit your application. If you fail to be gracious, you give up that opportunity.
  8. Know rejection will come in the form of actual rejection via a letter or email and it may take the form of silence. Don’t let either dissuade you from your search.

Finally, don’t take it personally. Selecting and hiring a particular candidate is a business decision. Many factors went into a hiring decision that made up the overall “fit” for the position. The employer believed they found the candidate best able to perform the job. A rejection does not reflect upon your worth, or necessarily upon your abilities as a lawyer. There may have been a candidate whose experience was a more precise fit, or the position may have simply closed due to factors you will never know.