Don’t Let Your Job Search Scars Define You

Don’t Let Your Job Search Scars Define You

20/11/2019 Off By pauldrury

When I was a child, I was sledging down a steep hill on a crisp winter weekend.

The snow was falling, and the flakes were getting in my eyes, so I didn’t see my dog standing right in my path until the last minute. I swerved, barely avoiding him, but careered into a huge bramble bush full of painfully sharp thorns. I luckily didn’t have a mirror at the time, but my face was covered in deep scratches and there was blood everywhere. It must have looked pretty dramatic and my mum ran towards me in hysterics.

I still bear a couple of (miniscule) scars from that day, and somehow the event has burnt itself into my subconscious. I lived in Russia when my kids were very young, so we did plenty of sledging, but I was always careful to ensure that they kept away from bramble bushes.

Some scars run particularly deep.

Especially the ones involving rejection and disappointment.

When we are looking for a new role, we can’t help but allow ourselves to dream a little about what might be. Few of us walk into an interview with a realistic assessment of our chances at the front of our minds.

We have to believe that we have what it takes to get the job.

Then a more qualified candidate comes along, an aspect of our functional experience is missing, or we don’t get on with the hiring manager. The job that we were hoping to get disappears in a puff of dust. What we have been working towards for maybe multiple interviews over a period of weeks is no longer. That hurts, it really does. Much as we persuade ourselves that it is for the best, some of these rejections can leave a scar.

But they are in the past. They do not need to define our present.

Just because one individual thought something about you five years ago doesn’t mean that someone else will think the same thing about you today. We are constantly developing and learning from our experiences in imperceptible ways. Who we were a few years back will still bear a resemblance to who we are today, and while the scars of the past might still be there, they do not need to hold any power over our present.

You need to view your job search with fresh eyes.

Our potential is limited only by our lack of belief. I was talking to a friend the other day who successfully interviewed at a company that had rejected him four years earlier. The hiring manager was different, but the MD who conducted the final interview was the same as previously. It was fascinating to dissect what might have changed, but my mate went in with a positive attitude and came out with a different outcome.

He didn’t let his past scars put him off, and neither should you.


Every job seeker should follow these #HRvoices on LinkedIn (just click their face!)

(If you post career-oriented content and would like to be included here, email: paul@outplacementwriter.com)