Imagine after studying (and maybe partying) hard throughout your time at university, you graduate from your degree only to discover constant job rejection? This might not be something you really want to be thinking about, but there are two ways that you could be thinking about this…
- You assume you won’t have any problems finding a job, so you don’t do anything differently.
- You assume you will have problems finding a job, take extra precautions that will help minimise the difficulties you’ll face.
Our parents grew up in an era when they were taught that studying hard to get a degree would get you into a job and have you off to a good start in your career.
After studying hard in in a degree, it’s only fair that you should be easily able to find work right?
Employers are often more interested in the fact that you studied than what you actually studied. This doesn’t mean they don’t care about your education or that what you are learning, but increasingly they are more interested in whether or not you can apply yourself to challenges outside the classroom.
Here are some simple things to consider which can help you ensure you’re giving yourself your best chance for job hunting success.
Working and studying hard is dedication on your part, well done. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t entitle you to anything. The sooner you remove notions of “that job’s beneath me” from your thinking, the sooner you’ll put yourself on track for success. A sense of entitlement is one of the most unappealling things a hirer can come across, and it’s something you need to take great care not to convey. That’s not to say you should hide your sense of entitlement, it’s that you should get rid of it altogether.
Employers hate it, and if they detect it, they will most likely reject you for fear of impatience, laziness, unwillingness to learn and more.
If you find ways to see how every job can help you grow, and focus on that, you will be more appealing to hirers. Know that a degree is no longer enough, you need to work hard, and show you can, to get the jobs that aren’t “beneath you”.
Listen and adapt
It can be pretty disheartening to face job rejection on application after application when you’re job hunting. When you face rejection, and statistically you will, try to look at what the rejection actually means. It’s not a slapdown of your value or experience, look at it as feedback. This feedback could be what you need to better communicate your value to an employer.
This is not a happy and delusional reframing of rejection, it’s based in the fact that there’s an excellent chance you do know about the career area you’re trying to enter. There’s an equally good chance that you haven’t yet worked out how to convince someone that you can apply that knowledge to the real life job they need filled.
Treat every rejection as a chance to gain constructive feedback on your professional self. Sometimes the hirer won’t tell you why they rejected you, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to work these reasons out yourself or figure it out with some objective feedback from people you know and trust. Although never be afraid to ask why, many employers will be happy to give you some constructive criticism, that could help you become a better candidate.
Play for the long term
Your career challenges aren’t going to end once you secure your first job, once you overcome these early challenges, you’ll continually face new ones. These ongoing challenges will become part of your career journey, and that’s one of the exciting aspects of professional life.
After you’ve graduated University, it might be tempting to assume that your need to learn stops. But really your learning has just stopped being limited to formal learning, your ability learn from this point on becomes more important than it’s ever been. Every company is run in a different way, has a different culture, uses different processes or techniques. To be successful you need to learn and adapt to this. You won’t have the benefit of exam marks to tell you how well you’re doing as you continue to face a whole range of interesting opportunities and challenges throughout your career.
If you are prepared for job rejection and can practice looking at it like an opportunity to learn more about the job market and yourself, then you’re aiming for long term career progress.