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How To Bounce Back From Rejection

By Lynn Joseph, Ph.D.

Sheila is a top-notch marketing manager. After being laid off, she is now two months into her job search, and finding it to be the most challenging project ever undertaken. Sound familiar?

Initially, Sheila had obtained advice and coaching on interviewing, networking, and resume writing, and had quickly scored solid interviews. Her attitude had been positive and her self-esteem high. However, after each interview resulted in her ultimate elimination from the competition, she became discouraged and dejected—leading to her confidence faltering.

Sheila’s situation is not unusual. A recent study found that landing a new job takes one month of active searching, for every $20,000 in salary earned in the former job. This often translates into many interviews over a period of months. Landing time can take much longer if the job seeker is depressed because companies want to hire candidates with enthusiasm, positive attitude, and self-confidence—in addition to the required skills and experience. Sheila needs to develop the emotional resilience to bounce back quickly after rejection if she is to land her dream job.

Today more than ever, savvy business people and scientists alike know about the power of the mind and emotions to manifest success. A recent study in the Consulting Psychology Journal showed that 62% of job seekers who followed a brief mental imagery technology (MIT) protocol landed jobs within two months compared to only 12% of job seekers in a placebo group. The study was the author’s doctoral dissertation, and following are the key steps participants were guided through. By taking just a few minutes each day—as Sheila now does—you can quickly bounce back from rejection, feel more in control of your job search, and radiate the enthusiasm and self-confidence that will win you the job you want.

1. Future Self. Take ten minutes daily to relax, close your eyes and daydream having your ideal job. Imagine it as if you have it now, in minute detail and with all your senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch). Muster all the excitement, satisfaction of accomplishment, and joy that you can. Mentally celebrate with your loved ones. Next, imagine going back in time and taking the necessary steps (easily and elegantly) that won this ideal job.

2. Mental Rehearsal. Take ten minutes daily to imagine yourself as a star performer giving a top interview performance. Try mentally watching yourself on an inner TV or movie screen as you use a remote control to stop, revise, and replay any segment you are not satisfied with. Engage your feelings and all your senses. Listen to the questions asked by a supportive interviewer, and your answers—given confidently and competently. Have fun with the process. Finally, play the entire scenario through without stopping, seeing and hearing you giving a superb performance. Imagine receiving an offer, and feel the pleasure of success. This brief exercise can represent a full-length interview to your subconscious mind—your ally.

3. Affirmations. Repeat the following positive self-statements often; or make up your own. Your subconscious will get the message that you want and expect nothing short of success.

· I am good enough and I deserve to have my dreams come true.

· I have the skills to overcome challenges and reach my goals, and I’ll be wiser and stronger for having done so.

· If I don’t get the offer, there’s another, better, opportunity waiting to be discovered by me.

· I forgive others and myself for past failures and disappointments.

· I control my career and life, and I expect success.

To conclude, a favorite quote by Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

About the author

Dr. Joseph is a career and life transition telecoach and the author of The Job-Loss Recovery Guide: A Proven Program for Getting Back to Work—Fast!