Nearly every pharmacist struggles with overcoming job search rejection at some point in his or her career. Even the most confident pharmacy job candidate feels a stunning blow to the heart when they get that familiar email that begins with, “After careful consideration…”
Humans are social creatures. We form groups and seek to join other groups of people we feel are just like us. Every time you submit an application, you're essentially telling a company, "Hey, I think you're cool. I'm cool too. Here's my information. Can I join the club?"
Being denied a position hurts because we feel it’s a sign we’re not good enough. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Career experts say finding a job takes anywhere between 34 days to nine months. Others allege candidates are lucky if they hear back from two out of every one hundred applications submitted.
Facts, figures, and folklore aside, the bottom line is the pharmacy job market is tight. To succeed, you've got to develop a plan for conquering job search challenges.
Don’t know where to start? These are my suggestions for overcoming rejection in your job search.
5 Ways to Overcome Job Search Rejection
1. Dig in and commit until you succeed.
Overnight success is a fantasy. We buy into the idea of overnight success because we don’t want to do the work. You must commit to overcoming rejection if you want the job of your desires.
Commitment is the only way to follow the process and stay the course because it requires making an intentional decision. You have to take action, remain accountable, and pursue the path until you reach your career goal or something better happens.
2. Give yourself time to fall back and recover.
Job-hunting is like dating, except getting turned down for the job feels worse than getting turned down for a date. Everyone wants a match made in Heaven, but it’s rare to find the one on the first try.
We’ve all had bad dates that put us on the bench for a while; you can expect these experiences in your job hunt too.
Give yourself 24 – 48 hours to breathe and release the situation. Getting declined a job offer just means you’ve been detoured in a better direction. If you find you’re dwelling much longer than two or three days, this could be a sign that you’ve invested too much in the outcome.
3. Release emotional attachment and make it a numbers game.
Let’s talk baseball. Have you ever considered how abysmal batting averages are? They’re atrocious. The best MLB batting average in 2018 is .346. In other words, the best baseball player in the league hit the ball between 3 and 4 times out of every ten balls that were thrown. He has a 30 to 40 percent accuracy rate.
Professional athletes are proof it is possible to be successful while hitting your target less than half the time. The key to an athlete’s success is their emotional resilience and a focus on consistency. Learn to control your emotions and submit more applications until you know your batting average.
4. Send a polished follow-up email.
Like the original thank you letter, a well-written acknowledgment of rejection demonstrates goodwill. Sending one is also an exciting way to stay on your target's mind. How do you write one?
First, state your appreciation for the opportunity.
Dear [Hiring Manager]:
I appreciate the time you took to interview me.
[Add 2-3 points of the interview process, maybe a work task that really interested you.]
Then speak to the obvious, i.e., you're disappointed and not thrilled of the news, but you’re still interested in pursuing future opportunities as they fit your goals.
I am disappointed that I wasn't chosen. However, I'm excited about the potential for the next opportunity to apply for upcoming positions because I really enjoyed our time together. [Or something more suited to your experience.]
Written responses to rejection letters show you have the professionalism to follow up, even after rejection. Use the fact that most people will not write one to your advantage. It shows a lot about your character and may turn you into someone they want to speak with later.
5. Ask the right questions to get feedback.
Requesting feedback after you've been rejected is one of the toughest things to do. You want to know where you fell short as a pharmacy job candidate, yet you have no idea if you’re actually ready for the answer.
Spoiler alert: Nobody’s ever emotionally prepared for these conversations, but you can smooth the tension by approaching with grace. Questions to ask include:
- “When will there be a new position?”
- “If I were to apply to another position, would you consider me a candidate?”
- “Who should I connect with?”
Speaking up takes courage and initiative, so it’s understandable if you’re intimidated by some of these suggestions. What I’ve suggested was definitely a stretch outside of my own comfort zone, but these are the things that have saved my clients’ careers.
Overcoming job search rejection is crucial to developing a successful career. Breakthroughs never came from within anybody’s comfort zone.
Overcome Career Rejection for Good
Want to take control of your career? Every day, I help pharmacists live happier lives by transitioning to better careers. Sign up for my training. It features my step-by-step formula on how to get into a job without any experience, and it’s 100% FREE.
Alex is the Founder of The Happy PharmD. He loves anime, his family, and video games, but not in that order.