5 Smart Ways to Stay Positive in Your Web Development Job Search
Every time you face rejection, you have a decision to make. Sit around feeling crappy about things you can’t control or get back up and move forward in control.
Any time I’m faced with a job search, I have this weird hurricane of anxiety, dread, and hope going on inside me. I’m not good at being in the spotlight or talking about myself. But doing that comes the opportunity to do interesting work, meet cool people, and learn new things.
And with those two things comes the threat of rejection. It’s there looming in front of me before I even get started.
So it’s no surprise that job searching is one of my least favorite things to do, and I’m guessing it’s not one of your favorite things to do, either.
I can’t figure out what’s worse:
- Spending a lot of time and effort customizing my resume, cover letter, and application to have the employer reject me immediately with no interview, or
- Spending a lot of time and effort on all of the above and going through an interview only to be rejected in the end
For me, the result is the same. It’s something I call the “huffy hangover.” The feeling that no matter what the employer said or what you did, you failed.
The nasty little voice that creeps inside your brain and tells you that you’ll never find a job. That you’re unemployable and your skills aren’t good enough. The blanket of “meh” that hangs around for days or weeks after a rejection and keeps you from wanting to try again.
“A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” — Bo Bennett
Every time I face rejection, there’s a decision to be made. Am I going to sit around feeling crappy over things I can’t control or get back up and move forward in control?
You have the same decision to make. The pain in your emotional rear end is totally valid, but you don’t have to let it knock you down. Acknowledge your feelings, then realize that you can’t control what other people do. The only thing you have control over is your reaction.
Here’s how I fight the huffy hangover, maintain perspective, and carry on with my job search through rejection.
Prime yourself for rejection
The best way to deal with rejection is to pre-load it in your mind. Every time you sit with the mouse cursor hovering over the “submit application” button, ask yourself:
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
Acknowledge that you’re probably not going to get the first job you apply for. Hell, you might not get the first 20 jobs you apply for.
Be ready to hear crickets when you send off your resume. Steel yourself for interviews where you’ll do a good job and still hear “thanks but no thanks” at the end.
By getting yourself ready to hear “no” in the beginning, you’ll soften the impact when it happens.
Cultivate the right attitude with empathy
When you have bills to pay and need a job now, it’s easy to focus on yourself. But place yourself in the hiring manager’s position. You’re putting yourself out there and so are they.
They need someone to do a job for them, and they have hundreds of good candidates to choose from. Not choosing the right person could cost them money or ruin their existing team.
No hiring manager out there likes rejecting people. And if they do, you don’t want to work for them.
Try to build the attitude of “not right now.” The answer may be “no” in this time in and place. But if you hold yourself with the right attitude and keep trying the answer could be “yes” later.
Remind yourself that it’s not personal
When someone passes on your skills and knowledge and says they don’t want to work with you, it’s easy to take it as a personal affront. But the truth is that they don’t know you, so it’s not personal.
The person hiring read about you on paper and spent a few hours talking with you. Then they had to make a difficult decision based on minimal information.
When you get rejected, it’s okay to express disappointment. Thank the person for their time and ask what you could have done to be a better candidate.
Being gracious and open is a unique way to set yourself apart in the job search process. It’s remembered and appreciated, and may put you a step ahead when other positions open.
Vent to an understanding ear
There’s a difference between complaining and venting. They are both examples of bitching about something. But one is negative and detrimental and the other has the power to be motivating.
Complaining is bitching about something and never doing anything to fix it. Venting is bitching about something so you can get it off your ass and do something about it.
So go for it. Find someone you can unleash your rejection fury on. If you’re not comfortable sharing, grab a notebook and write it down. Then shred or burn it.
When your mind is clear you can go back to what you were trying to accomplish before you got knocked down.
Realize that every rejection teaches you something
When I sit and think about the times I learned the most, it wasn’t in school or from reading a book. I learned the most valuable lessons from having my ass handed to me by life.
No one likes learning the hard way. But I can’t think of one rejection I regret because I choose to learn from them.
Every rejection has brought something good into my life. Even when it wasn’t immediately apparent.
Sometimes it takes years to realize the benefits. But opening yourself up to the idea that a rejection can open doors in the future helps you work through it.
Every time you get rejected, try to identify one thing it taught you. Then use it to grow and be a smarter and more resilient human being.
So if you’re out there applying for web development jobs and feeling the sting of rejection, please know I’m right there with you.
There’s room for everyone in this industry, and you’re the perfect fit for a position somewhere out there. I hope this post gave you the encouragement you need to keep on going and find it.