I read Past Bedtime



Hello, I'm Isobel!



Welcome to I Read Past Bedtime, a blog for 20-somethings finding their way in the world.


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6 Tips to Help You Stay Positive While Job Hunting

We've all been there. You spend every day at your dead-end job (or parent's sofa) furiously refreshing your emails for news of that grad scheme you did a video interview with six months ago. Your tiny heart does a somersault when you see that long-awaited email in your inbox, only to open it and find...

Another rejection.

If this sounds familiar, let me say that I'm right there with ya. Nothing smacks in the face like rejection, and, when you're job hunting, things with rejection can get preeetty intimate. But you know one thing that employers don't dig at interviews? People who are so bummed about they're latest rejection that they don't even have the energy to give this one a go.

Staying positive in the face of failure is a skill, and not an easy one. Here are my 6 tips and tricks to help get over the interview blues quicker, and help you stay positive while job hunting.

1. It’s not you, it’s them

Any rejection that we face in life tends to be followed by a ton of soul searching. Maybe if I'd shaken hands more firmly, not fluffed that question on teamwork or been less of an all-round total loser, they'd have given me the job?

It's easy to find fault in every aspect of yourself after an interview, but that's the last thing that's going to get you in the fighting spirit for the next one. Remember, recruiters, especially on competitive schemes, receive thousands if not hundreds of thousands of applicants, so when narrowing it down it's inevitable that some goodies are going to slip through the net.

For all you know, you could have been their second choice for the job as much as their hundredth, so don't beat yourself up about feeling lacking, and remember that half the time, you can be the perfect candidate and still find yourself unemployed by the most popular employers.

2. Only apply for jobs you actually want

Of course, when you're applying for jobs, you can't cherry pick too much (let me refer you back to my point on the competitive nature of the modern employment scene). That said, there is absolutely no point in applying for jobs that you aren't at all fussed about. The reason? If you manage to disguise a lack of enthusiasm in the application form, employers will almost certainly sniff it out of you on interview day.

In short, applying half-heartedly takes as much time as applying for the stuff you really want, with none of the return, since no one wants to hire someone who isn't desperate to work for them. Invest your energy wisely in the applications you really care about, and that extra time and thought might just give you the edge.

3. See it as a learning curve

You'd have to be a pretty special snowflake to apply for a role and be successful first time. Instead of viewing inevitable rejection as a failure, reframe it as a learning opportunity. If possible, ask for feedback on your application - it could be something super simple to fix that means you've got a better chance next time.

Even if you can't tell what went wrong, the process of applying for jobs and attending interviews is good practise to help you refine your answers and control nerves, meaning when you go for that next job, you'll make an even better impression.

4. Channel your fear into excitement

Did you know that, physiologically speaking, fear and excitement are basically the same response in our bodies? This is great news for the anxious, as it means we can train ourselves to channel interview jitters into productive excitement.

Next time you find yourself panicking pre-interview, try saying to yourself that you're excited about this opportunity, and focus on all you stand to gain if you get the job, rather than your pre match nerves. It takes practise, but soon, you might find yourself coming across more confident and enthusiastic than before, thanks to your newfound "excitement".

5. Know that EVERYONE gets rejected

When you're rejected from something you really wanted, it can feel like you're all alone. Trust me, nothing could be further from the truth. Even the most successful people have had their fair share of rejection (J. K. Rowling was barely scraping a living before she wrote HP, Walt Disney was fired for 'lacking imagination' and Lady Gaga was dropped by her first record label within three months).

Point is, if you haven't known failure, you're in the minority, so don't take it personally when things don't go your way. If Lady Gaga can pick herself up again, you can too.

6. Embrace Your Inner Hippie

This last one is a little cheesy, but it's helped me countless times in the past, so I'm including it for good measure. In a nutshell, if you apply the logic of 'everything happens for a reason' to job hunting, you simply cannot ever get frustrated with the result. Didn't get that job? Eh, clearly wasn't meant to be. The Universe is keeping you free for an even better opportunity round the corner.

Mumbo jumbo it may be, but mood enhancing it also is, so I urge you to try it next time you're feeling low. Because whatever job is waiting on the horizon for you, I'm sure it will be pretty darn awesome.