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Job-Hunting Truths: What 'No' Really Means

Job-Hunting Truths: What 'No' Really Means

Jeff Schmitt | BusinessWeek

Don’t be demoralized when an employer turns you down. The reasons behind a rejection usually have more to do with the company than with you.

You’ve probably read plenty of job-hunting articles. And they’re all the same.

A so-called expert will advise you to develop a plan, broaden your skills, and network. On résumés, they will counsel you to customize, use keywords, and quantify your accomplishments. If you land an interview, they will remind you to mind your body language, ask good questions, and convey confidence and enthusiasm.

This isn’t one of those articles.

These are troubled times. We hear the horror stories daily. Unemployment swelling. Nest eggs dissolving. Prices rising. Businesses failing. Debts mounting. Workloads crushing. Politicians squawking. We live at the mercy of larger forces; anxious about the lives we know; wondering what will happen next. For most, this is not the time to switch companies…or lose a job. But many will be forced to, through no fault of their own.

Even worse, a job hunt is often a demeaning process. The rejection can leave you demoralized. You’ll jump through countless hoops and operate on other people’s terms. In the end, you’ll still hear, “You’re not quite what we’re looking for” (if you hear anything at all).

In today’s economy, a job hunt requires more time, sweat, and money than ever. You’ll follow the fundamentals and still have little to show for it. At some point, it is only natural to ask yourself, “What’s wrong with me?”

Maybe nothing. Maybe it’s them.

So when your fruitless search fills you with angst and self-doubt, always remember the following truths about job hunting:

Job Hunting is Unfair

The best person isn’t always picked—and the playing field is rarely even. The cliché, “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is extremely relevant.