What To Do When Your Spirit Is Crushed In A Job Search (& What NOT To Do)

Failure is a key stepping stone. In any worthwhile endeavor, there will be risks and complexity. Not everything will work out as planned, so recognizing and mentally preparing for the inevitable hurdles will stave off feeling unnecessarily demoralized when it occurs. In a job search, the average application to interview ratio is about 20%, so preparing for 8 of your 10 applications to get rejected is realistic based on standard job seeker data. For any advertised job, about 250 applications are received, 4 -6 applicants secure an interview and one is hired. Bottom line: Don’t get discouraged if your results are in-line (or maybe even higher) than what is statistically expected.

Easy never leads to great. While applying online is the most popular job search strategy, it’s not the most effective. Yes, it’s simple and feels productive, but the odds are against you since the competition is so high and Applicant Tracking Systems are so fickle. In fact, ATS weed out up to 75% of applicants before they even reach a recruiter, sometimes based on irrelevant things like formatting. Engaging your network takes more effort, vulnerability and courage, but also opens the door to more opportunities and increases your chances even when you do apply online (53% of candidates referred by a current employee landed the job, 91% when the person referring was at a Director-level or above). Bottom line: If your strategy isn’t working, change it.

You may be getting what you want. Self-sabotage is real, and in a roundabout way, it’s your brain’s effort to protect you from harm. No one enjoys the feelings that come from being rejected or putting ourselves in a position of vulnerability, so our self-defense becomes avoidance and rationalization (thanks, brain!). The messages we tell ourselves – I’m not qualified to apply, I’ll look silly for reaching out, I don’t need help – block our pathway to success. They prevent us from taking action that could lead to a fantastic opportunity because we’re afraid of the alternative. However, without the risk, there is no chance for a reward. Bottom line: If there’s a lion in your path, listen to your brain and run. Otherwise, push back and check assumptions.
Maybe you’d benefit from input. If you’re a high-achiever, you likely also have no problem forging ahead independently to solve problems. Although this may work for you in many situations, a job search will always benefit from collaboration. It’s impossible to learn about every opportunity, but you’ll significantly increase your options when you engage your network. Since up to 70% of jobs are never made public, in some cases the only way to learn about an opening is through people who are connected to the role in some way. Also, your circle can be a helpful place to get feedback, practice interviewing and explore ideas. Bottom line: Every working professional will likely engage in multiple job searches throughout their careers, so why not make it a normal discussion topic? Read more via Forbes