Amid dire economic conditions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s common for jobseekers to not hear back from employers. While it’s normal to feel disappointed and discouraged, you really shouldn’t stay in a negative space for too long. There are many ways to reboot your search and forge ahead towards greater success.
Senior Consulting Manager, Information and Communications Technology Group at PeopleSearch Singapore, Tan Kok Pin has this advice.
- Don’t take it personally – It’s not about you
In the current labour market, there are many external variables that affect the success of job applications. These include headcount freezes, budget constraints, changes in business directions, outsourcing plans, internal transfers, etc. Rejections are inevitable. A rejection isn’t necessarily an indication of your professional worth.
- Think about your strengths
It is almost instinctive to beat yourself up in the face of rejection. While acknowledging there is room for improvement, please remember that you have many strengths. Focus on your strengths as you identify other job opportunities. Going to your next job interview with a low self-esteem will only hurt your chances. A negative mindset will affect your performance and interviewers will be able to detect it.
- Identify the problems – Improve in areas that are within your control
While external factors play a significant part in this equation, blaming the circumstances to justify your failure to land a job is hardly constructive. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, work on empowering yourself. Take the initiative to find out what you can do to increase your chances of success.
As a start, there’s no harm in asking your interviewers for feedback. While most employers may not take the time to share it, your job is to at least ask and take whatever you can get. Perhaps you need to update your skills or acquire new ones, or you didn’t make a good enough impression in your resume or during the job interview.
Do your own analysis too. Did you adequately highlight your achievements and relevant hard and soft skills in your resume? Identify what went well during the job interview. Which questions did you stumble on? How can you improve?
Headhunters and recruiters are rich sources of resume and interview tips. Reach out to them. We’re happy to offer advice.
Don’t rush. Take some time to learn from every rejection and put your lessons to good use.
- Recalibrate your job search strategy
No matter how hungry you are for a job, “spraying and praying” hardly ever works. Many candidates apply for just about any position, even ones that they are hardly a fit for. This often leads to disappointment and discouragement as you’re not likely to hear from those employers.
Instead, keep your search focussed by closely matching your skills, capabilities and profile with the appropriate job postings. Choose to apply for a limited number of jobs for which you’re likely to be the ideal candidate. Taking this approach will allow you to put in the requisite effort to optimise each application.
- Make a good impression in every interaction with employers, even the ones who’ve rejected you
Interview sessions are certainly more precious today than before the crisis. See each job interview as an opportunity to make connections and build relationships with prospective employers. Even if you don’t ultimately get the job, the interview session is a great avenue for you to make an impression and to enlarge your professional network. Connect with the interviewers on professional networking sites before or after the interview and sustain communication with them by sharing useful posts, sharing your own articles, or commenting on theirs.
If you make enough of an impression, they may think of you when a new position opens up in their company, or if someone in their network is looking for candidates like you.
Lashing out at employers who have rejected you doesn’t help. Make friends and stay connected with them instead.
- Recalibrate your networking strategies
Aside from networking with friends, family members, friends of family members, ex-colleagues and ex-schoolmates, reach out to career coaches, recruiters, hiring managers and even individuals who work in companies you want to work for. They might be open to making a more personal introduction. These individuals can be great intermediaries. They can also offer a wealth of advice to help you in your job search. They understand labour market trends, can identify in-demand skills and traits, help you identify gaps in your competencies and give you tips on how to increase your employability. Find them on professional networking sites and build a rapport with them before asking for assistance. In this climate, people are more willing to help, so don’t be afraid to ask.
- Reassess your skills
Identify the skills you would need to do well in your desired role and use this time to upskill and reskill. Make sure you mention your upskilling and reskilling efforts in your resume. Employers like candidates who are interested in self-improvement.
- Consider volunteering
Take a break from your job search to volunteer for organisations that may need your expertise. Perhaps you have a communications or marketing background. A non-profit organisation could use your services to reach out to communities in the area. Helping out in such ways is fulfilling. It also helps you expand your network. In the course of volunteering, you could very well meet individuals who are impressed enough with your work to offer you a job or recommend you to their network.
Employers are generally impressed with candidates who have volunteer experience. They see such people as being capable of empathy and able to see the bigger picture.
- Don’t dwell on past disappointments
People who are rejected tend to discuss it with others and in the process, relive the rejection repeatedly. This is counterproductive as it inadvertently leads to an expectation of perpetual disappointment. Instead, boost your morale by keeping your thoughts centred on instances when you’ve done well. This keeps you in a positive space, enabling you to do better as you continue your search.
10. Know that you’re not alone
Even in “normal” times, finding the right job role can take some time. During this crisis, it could take even longer, but remember that there are many others in a similar situation. This doesn’t mean that you should seek each other out to wallow in self-pity together. Instead, motivate each other.
Knowing that you’re not alone would ease the anxiety and put you in a better frame of mind as you continue your job search.