How can a new graduate and job seeker keep motivation and perseverance after tons of rejections?

How can a new graduate and job seeker keep motivation and perseverance after tons of rejections?

Aug 28, 2015

It seems like companies, large or small, just keep rejecting. What hurts most is to see the rejection, then find the job posting still live and ongoing. And that I still don't have a job. How do I keep my motivation?

It seems like companies, large or small, just keep rejecting. What hurts most is to see the rejection, then find the job posting still live and ongoing. And that I still don't have a job. How do I keep my motivation?

I'm not a whiner, but I'm just anxious and scared about whether I can find a job...

10 Answers

Georgios Markakis, Been there, done that.

Demotivation comes from thinking that you have no options. You can create options by coming up with a plan. If one plan doesn't work, take the time to think of a different plan. Think creatively, but don't just keep on doing the same thing and expect to get different results. Some define insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, from now on, do things differently.

A) Prepare better
There are tons of good interview prep guides out there. Take the time to read the ones that are most applicable to your situation and follow their advice. If you have access to a career advisor, ask them for feedback on your resume. Think of interview questions you might get asked, and actually write down your best answer. Keep reviewing / refining your answers until you are happy with them. Show up at your next interview better prepared than in your previous interviews and see how it goes.

Below is Matt Wyndowe's excellent response to the question What's the best way to prepare for job interviews? I quote:

1. Walk me through your resume.
Have a succinct answer to this (2-3 minutes). You can start with the "headline". e.g., "If you look at my experiences to date, you'll see that I'm very focused on building exciting, user-focused products in a scalable way."  Make sure your answer has some interesting stories.

2. Why do you want this job?
A good way to structure this answer is in two parts. First, why you want to work for the company and are passionate about the mission / business. Second, why you think the role in particular is a good fit.

3. Why should we hire you?
One effective structure for an answer goes something like this: "From what I understand about the company and role, it seems you are looking for someone with x, y, z. If you look at my experience and interests, I think you'll find strengths in all three of these areas. For example, ..."

4. Give some examples of when you have done [skill they are looking for] in the past.
Prepare 2 or 3 interesting stories about when you've demonstrated a similar  project in the past. People see past success as an indicator.

5. Do you have any questions?
If you haven't already, get the interviewers background. Have two or three insightful questions about the company, which demonstrate why you are passionate about the place.

Things to remember (before, after, and during the interview):
- Be passionate about the company. This is so important. Resist the urge to be aloof and cool.
- Be interested in the interviewer. 
- Be positive.
- Be honest.
- Relax and have fun.
- Be thankful for people's time.
- Remember that all you can do is give it 100%. If you try as hard as you can and still don't get the offer, that's life.

B) Apply for different types of jobs
What many graduates don't realise is that they can apply for jobs in a wide range of fields. There are many entry level positions that require only a basic technical skill set. Instead, most employers focus on the candidate's soft skills and his/her ability, willingness and eagerness to learn on the job. So look at a range of job descriptions, find something you like, prepare for it and apply.

C) Get the interpersonal factors right
If you are getting invited to interviews, that means your resume is good enough. So you should consider the non-verbal aspects of the process. Make sure you look good, smell good (body odour and breath) and your body language is positive and engaged. If your hands sweat, a good trick is to keep a hanky in your pocket and squeeze it discretely before you shake anyone's hand. Smile and be polite. At the end of the day, the interviewer will need to feel that you are someone s/he will enjoy working and spending time with.

D) Realise that it's not a numbers game
You might be tempted to think that getting a job is a numbers game, i.e. the more applications you send, the more chances you have to get an offer. That's not necessarily the case. You are better off applying for one position for which you are passionate, qualified and well prepared than applying for 10 random jobs for which you never take the time to customise your resume and prepare accordingly. So, for each position, take the time to customise your resume, highlighting the skills required for that particular role. Include keywords from the job description, as appropriate. This will increase your chances of getting an interview. Then prepare very well for it.

E) Learn from your experiences
If you take an honest and objective look at your past interview performance, is there anything you would have done differently? Of the things you said, is there anything that might have put off the interviewer? Did you come across as keen enough? Excited enough? Did you show enough interest in the position? Did your questions demonstrate that you have done your research on the company and the role? Also, ask for feedback. If you are lucky, they will be honest about why you did not get the job.

F) Take rejections with a grain of salt
It is important learn from your experiences, but then you need to let them go and move on. What's done is done. The only thing you can do is adjust your course if necessary and focus on making the most of the next opportunity.

G) Surround yourself with positive energy
Sitting on the couch watching tv or playing video games doesn't help your motivation. And low motivation can have an impact on how well you do on your next interview (not to mention how well you do in life overall!). 

Motivation comes from within, but everyone needs external support:
- Read a motivational book
- Watch motivational videos / movies
- Listen to uplifting music 
- Avoid / ignore people who bring you down

H) Make the most of your free time
In addition to working on your job search, you should take advantage of the free time that you now have to do things you enjoy. Work out, dance, paint, travel, read a book... Start ticking things off your "bucket list". Do something productive. It will help keep your mind active and spirits high.

I) Draw strength from small positives and small successes 
- things you did well in the interviews so far
- things you know you are good at
- how things will be when you achieve your goal
- the progress you've made by doing any of the things mentioned in this post

Remember that you are young and have plenty of time to build a successful life.

Remember that countless other people have been through the same phase and managed to get through it.

The mere fact that you are on Quora looking for answers tells me that you have the will and mental maturity to join the club of those who eventually get through it.

Go get 'em!

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