Beating the Recruiting Season Blues
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
With the exception of a lucky few, landing a job or internship isn’t easy. In hindsight, the recruiting process doesn’t seem too bad. However, while you’re in the throes of it, the lows can feel pretty low. Getting rejected from the role you’ve been dreaming of can be about as painful as getting dumped before Valentine’s Day. Fortunately, there are some ways to beat the recruiting blues.
Rejection hurts. From failing to get a first interview to being turned away after a final round, being overlooked is a punch to the gut. It’s important to persevere past the bruised ego and keep up momentum. Persistence is not only a great skill to have in life, but also during recruiting season. Push through the application fatigue and apply to every role that matches your credentials and seems interesting. Take a little extra time and send follow-up emails, attend information sessions, and spark interest in companies and roles that weren’t initially on your radar. There are endless opportunities out there, so don’t let one rejection stop you from exploring them. Beat the exhaustion by getting inspired. Read a good book or watch a documentary that reminds you of why you chose the field you’re working to join.
“Comparison is the thief of joy,” said Teddy Roosevelt, way before the invention of LinkedIn. Avoid bitterly scrolling through your peers’ internship announcements if you’re struggling to land an interview. Trust the process and know that your hard work will pay off eventually. Also, be aware that different companies, industries, and departments will have different recruiting cycles. Finance departments usually recruit before marketing and sales, so don’t let a friend landing a finance internship at your dream company stop you from applying as well. Even if your peers are landing roles in the jobs you want, the hiring process may be on a rolling basis; go ahead and submit those applications. Comparison and negative self-talk will only hurt your interviewing skills; the success of others doesn’t discredit your own.
Success isn’t defined by a job title or by a salary, though sometimes it may feel that way. While your future career is likely a factor in your perceived success, so is mental and physical health, spending time with loved ones, and liking what you do. If you feel overwhelmed by uncertainties about your future, take your mind off it by taking a walk, cleaning your room, or chatting with a friend over coffee. If you’re facing application fatigue, take a break for a couple weeks and come back later. A strong application later is better than a weak one earlier, just make sure to make that deadline. Your career journey will be that: a journey. The highs and lows of this process are part of a bigger story.
After a rejection email, take some time to reflect. Consider skills that you can grow, and where to pivot to next. Don’t let one rejection get you down; the recruiter knows their company better than you do. If they think you would struggle or dislike a job, it’s in everyone’s interest for you to pursue opportunities elsewhere. When you land a job that makes you excited to go to work every day, you’ll likely laugh to yourself and be thankful that one opportunity didn’t work out so that you got to experience the one that matters. Additionally, a ‘no’ is not forever. If a company doesn’t think you’re a fit for them at 20 years old, it doesn’t mean you won’t be in 5, 10, or 20 years from now. Remember that you’re more than your resume. Things have a way of working themselves out, so believe in yourself and keep chasing your dreams.