Changing careers is scary. There’s no way round it. You are stepping into the unknown – or at very least the relatively unknown, depending on how much research you have done in advance!
But there comes a point when you will have to step up and ask someone to employ you to do something very different from what you have done before. Or perhaps you will be asking somebody to hire your services or buy your product if you are setting up on your own.
That’s when it gets really scary!
That’s when the little voice in your head starts screaming ‘what if they reject me?’
Fear of rejection
So that’s what it is all about, is it? Are you hesitating because you are feeling scared of rejection?
There’s something very primal going on here. Let’s face it as a child, if you are rejected by your parents you are potentially in serious trouble. That basic fear runs very deep.
So if you think that is what is holding you back, what’s to be done about it? Here are a few tips.
It’s not about you as a person
However angry you may feel at the employer who has failed to see your obvious talents, just stop and remind yourself that it is not you, not all of you, who is being rejected. It is simply some aspect of your offer. It may be that they need someone who lives closer to the company offices, they may want someone who knows a particular bit of software, there may be an in-house applicant who has the edge.
On a different occasion, it could well be that you would have been the right person.
Just because you are not the right one today, for this particular job, does not mean you are a write off for any other similar role in the future.
Remember - rejection does not mean you are a reject.
Don’t fall into the blame game where it becomes ‘their fault’ that you have not been offered a job. That will just drain your energy. Instead, tell yourself that they are simply not the right employer for you. Them saying no has helped you both avoid a ‘bad marriage’ and it also keeps you free to move on and find a better match.
Review your approach
It is always worth reviewing what led up to your rejection, but wait till you have got over any feelings of anger or blame. Just look at the situation dispassionately. Could you have responded differently to some of the interview questions? Could you have answered the questions on the application form differently? Could you be approaching the whole job search process more creatively, looking for informal interview opportunities and building a network of contacts?
Making a conscious point of turning a rejection into an opportunity for learning something is a great way to take some of the sting out of it.
Believe in yourself
Just think of the famous authors whose work was rejected many times – JK Rowling, William Golding, James Joyce, Judy Blume, Stephen King, Jack Canfield…the list goes on.
Not only did they not take the rejection personally, but they also refused to believe that their work was worthless either. Their faith in themselves and their work helped them to persevere and win through.
Do you have that same level of commitment to your new career idea?
Just check that you are not going for something because someone else suggested it would be a good option, or because you think this ‘should’ be your next move.
If you have planned your career change carefully, you will know that what you are aiming for is a good match. You will be able to point out how your skills and experience are relevant to the role, you will know that the job and your personality are a good fit. If you find you are struggling to do this self assessment, then do get some support.
Doing this kind of research in advance is essential as it will mean you can approach your new career with as much confidence as possible, knowing that it is not just a ‘good idea’ you have plucked out of thin air, but a well researched and well grounded proposal. It will give you the underlying confidence to deal with rejection without being destroyed by it.
Rejection is part of life. You won’t be able to avoid experiencing it from time to time.
So if it hits, yeah, that’s tough, but there is not point in taking it personally and carrying it round like a burden.
What matters is how you let it affect you.
Do you let it defeat you, or will you make it a spur to drive you on to be even more determined to get into that new career you have chosen?
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From the 5 Minute Career Coach March 2014
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