I want to talk about emotions.

No, I haven’t turned into Dr. Phil or Oprah. But trying to find a job, no matter your circumstances, is by definition an emotional task. You are putting yourself out there, and setting yourself up for potentially a lot of rejection. That’s a minefield that everyone doing this confronts.

[Probably the funniest and saddest rejection line I ever heard someone get from a job application was: “We encourage you to apply for positions for which you qualify.” Ouch.]

When you get those inevitable turndowns, it’s difficult not to take them personally. Especially if you have followed the advice on Mighty Forces, you put a lot of effort into marketing yourself, finding that opening, crafting the best possible cover letter and resume, following up, and a host of other things. When even that doesn’t work, it hurts.

I know this all too well. It hurts.

But the thing is, these rejections are not personal. The people behind these letters and emails and phone calls don’t even know you! They are just doing their jobs, too. Getting rejected doesn’t mean you wouldn’t kick ass in the job, or that you are a bad person, or anything like that.

I know how hard it can be to believe that when you’re staring down the barrel of another “thanks but no thanks” email. Or even worse, getting a rejection form letter after an interview where you crushed it.

So here’s my pep talk: You are amazing. You have worked hard to get to this point. You have researched and written and called and done amazing things at your last job. All that effort will pay off.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter pitch was rejected by 12 publishers.

Just as you can’t know what a stranger has gone through, you often have very little knowledge about why or how you were turned down. That’s just the deal. You can do absolutely everything right and still not get the job.

Again, I know this myself. So well. And it can feel bleak at times.

But the thing is, even if some HR person won’t tell you why you didn’t get the job, you are getting better and better every day. You are learning, you are making moves, and most important of all, you are still here.

I believe in you.

At the risk of atomic levels of corniness, I’d like to close with one of my mother’s favorite quotes, from Sir Winston Churchill:

If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

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