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"How can I get better at dealing with rejection?"

Turn your wounds into wisdom

By Valerie Cherneksi

Valerie Cherneski is a certified executive coach, facilitator and speaker who uses her background in law and psychology to motivate change and development. As the Founder of Cherneski Coaching, Valerie focuses her practice on highly driven lawyers and corporate professionals, and assists them on a variety of issues to streamline their lives and build further upon their success. Valerie serves clients across the United States and Canada and is a frequent contributor to the iRelaunch blog and "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch" podcast series.

Rejection can sting, especially when you haven't experienced it in a while. In fact, without a rejection strategy, you could find yourself derailing - just as you are finally executing on your career search. The great news is that learning to deal with rejection is like building a muscle that hasn't been flexed in a while. With a plan and practice, your rejection 'muscle' will strengthen and you will be able to forge ahead, regardless of what is thrown your way.

To get ahead of rejection, here is a strategy to have in place:

  • Expect rejection. Rejection is nothing more than another step in the relaunch process. When you put together your relaunch plan and arrive at the execution stage, you will be planning for applications, informational meetings, interviews and follow-ups. Build in the rejection as part of this plan. Don't bet on just one opportunity to pan out for you. Do not wait to make more phone calls until others call you back. People are rejected everyday by employers, clients, partners, and even volunteer organizations. It's statistics. Expecting rejection will help make sense of it when it happens.
  • Ask yourself: What did I learn here? There is a gift in each rejection. Perhaps you learned that applying on-line is not for you, the company wasn't a good match, you weren't fully prepared for the interview, or not completely clear on your messaging. Now, how will you incorporate this learning into your relaunch? Take advantage of the experience to improve for the next opportunity.
  • Request Feedback: Ask for feedback from anyone you are interacting with during your relaunch. Yes, it is true that large organizations may not provide concrete feedback, but do not assume that is always the case. Talk to HR reps, those you met for informational interviews, and those reviewing your resume and helping you to prepare for interviews. Seeking and accepting feedback helps you grow your rejection muscle.
  • Brush it off and don't look back. When you have accepted rejection as part of the process and when you have learned from it, now you can focus on your strengths and move on. When you are looking back, you cannot look forward.

If you can get ahead of rejection, you will feel much more confident in your career search. It is not whether you fall, but how you get back up. And with a strong rejection muscle, getting back up will be no problem!

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