Rejected For A Job? So What!

Like it or not, sales has proven to be an critical component to the development of my career in human resources. To beef up my sales skills, a sales coach mentored me. But out of all the training he gave me, I’ll never forget the valuable lesson he taught me on rejection. And true to his nature, he even had a pithy mantra for the occasion. He said, “Remember Jean: Some will, some won’t, and so what!” To this day, each time I transition into “sales mode” at the office, I repeat this phrase in my mind. All of the sudden, the pressure just falls away and I am reminded that despite my fears and hesitation, the worst that could happen is a prospective buyer says no.


In order to avoid that dreaded two-letter word, I hone in on my knowledge of the market or industry I’m targeting and remind them of our positive working relationship. It’s up to me to uncover their area of need, ask the right questions and educate them on the products and services that will solve their specific problem. In the end, companies that respond to my pitch are ones that I have developed a positive rapport with and embody my agency’s best-fit customer.

My former sales coach was onto something. With job searching, rejection is unavoidable and is delivered in various mediums: email, letter, phone, etc. Employed, unemployed, educated, or not, the reason all people have a common loathing for job searching is always the same: fear of rejection. But, like my experience with clients, understanding your buyer and developing your ability to sell your product are the key components to closing a sale. In other words, the better you are able to sell your skills and background, the better your chances are of avoiding the rejection pile. And the only way to push through this grueling process is to acknowledge that rejection will happen and that it’s not the end of the world. However, without some sales capabilities, landing a job can seem near impossible. Luckily, as with most disciplines and industries, sales is a skill that can be learned, developed, and perfected. With a better sales understanding, eventually dealing with rejection and identifying your “best-fit customer” come easier.



1. Reframe your thoughts. Rejection is part of the process. Learn to accept it and move on. Employers respond to candidates who demonstrate a positive mindset.

2. Understand you and your desired market. Before embarking on your job search journey, think about what you bring to the table. How can you be the solution to an employer’s problem (the open position)? How do your behaviors and motivators make you a good fit for their organizational culture? How will this job add your background and skill set? Write down your answers. Now you have your very own interview “sales script.”

3. Practice, practice, practice. Keep submitting your resume, trying new tactics, and seeking professional marketing tips. It’s old fashioned, but simply doing the work is the only way to find a method that works and best suits your needs. Don’t forget, a holistic approach is your best bet for job search survival. See Five Fingers of Job Search Strategy to refresh your career plan.

4. Your resume must match the job. Customize your resume so it directly aligns with the qualifications and responsibilities of the position AND organization you applied for.

5. Be prepared for interview rejection. If you are called out on an inadequate skill or a lack of knowledge on a certain product or technology, stand up for yourself and overcome it. Don’t get frustrated, defensive, or feed into the fear of rejection. Instead, ensure the hiring manager that although you aren’t familiar with that specific program, you are a fast learner and will do whatever it takes to bring yourself up to speed on off hours.

If you find yourself getting caught up in the fear of rejection, remember, “some will, some won’t and so what!”

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