The 2 Things You Need to Remember When You’re Burned on the Job Search

I’ve had a winding career path, complete with long-distance moves and changing industries. So, I’ve had a lot of experience applying to—and losing out on—roles at various companies.

Being turned down is always disappointing. I once had a hiring manager call me—and send a follow-up letter—explaining that I did a great job and only lost out because my competition had 10 more years of experience. While he was thoughtful, I was still upset.

On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve also been burned on the job search—big time. Like having a company steal my work then ghost me, or keep me hanging on for months only to decide not to fill the role at all.

It probably goes without saying, but the latter two experiences made me want to give up. But, since I needed to work, that wasn’t an option. So, I had to learn how to keep going, even when I was feeling really disheartened about the whole process.

Here’s what I kept in mind to keep going:

1. It Could Just Be Part of the Process

You accept that some parts of job hunting—like filling out multi-page forms, when you’ll be attaching your resume anyhow—are annoying, but required. It helps to view all of the crappy parts of the process (even the rejections that can feel more personal) this way.

Applied for a job and heard nothing back? Normal. Asked someone for an informational interview and heard nothing back? Normal. Received a form letter about not being the best fit, after you thought things went well? Normal. Got ghosted—even after the final round of interviews? Normal.

Part of staying positive throughout your search is managing your expectations. If you prepare yourself for rejection, and remember that other candidates experience this too, you can avoid the why am I being treated this way? rabbit hole and stay focused. (And if you’re unsure if what you’re going through is normal read this.)