What about Constant Job Rejection?

Three or four months have passed and every job you apply to results in either silence or outright rejection. The quick rejection is actually a good thing. It is when long silence turns into a too good to be true situation that becomes its own challenge. Even if you navigate past all of that, you still have the issue of employment. All I can say is, you can have insight into the employment process and that may or may not produce solutions.

No Immediate Rejection

Beware of jobs where they rotate through people for a few months at a time. If they do not reject your résumé within the first month, that is often a bad sign. When they call you back many months later, there is a high chance they already tried someone else and pushed them out. When you get that call, you could find yourself in the same situation as the last person. This can be true of jobs with long probationary periods of 6 months to a year or jobs in which the candidate review process is a long process.

Highly Detailed Resumes

Beware anyone who teaches you to disclose everything you do at a place. They may be able to convince others to hire you for a short, temporary position based on those details, but that will not curry favor for long-term positions. Do not, under any circumstances, disclose details about your work. It is not considered polite or honorable.

The advice sounds counter-intuitive. It is based on a fundamental truth. No one hires you based on your résumé. No one interviews you with the intent to hire based on your skills alone. You must fit other criteria besides experience to qualify for a job. Sometimes more things are going on in the background than you realize. There is a bigger picture in staying employed in the right situation.

Constant Rejection

You may have an extensive background in a given industry, but the format of a résumé will not communicate it adequately. Especially if you take away the parts that are employer specific. You simply cannot prove yourself in a résumé on merit alone. What others will believe is subjective. The baseline for most jobs is personality. Most groups want someone who fits in often hinted at by which schools you did or did not attend. The reason is people trust those more easily who are most like them.

Sense of Unfairness

Many people who fall into this pattern of not getting selected for positions they feel they are well qualified for may say this is not fair. The problem with fairness is it assume logic. Getting selected for a job is not about logic but about emotion. Workplaces are filled with people and that is a social system not a system of logic. Careers and progress in life is based on the interactions between people.

My Experience

I have been in the workplace for 20+ years as of 2015. The early years I spent in retail and service work. Inventory, warehouse, and food prep. Fifteen of the last 20 was in what is called white-collar work before returning to retail.

During the last 10 years, I applied for a job with a major institution. Over the last 10 years as of this writing, they taught me a lot in the rejection letters I received. Sometimes I gave up for a few months and found reasons to try again. You could say I was tenacious but I decided 10 years of trying to get a job at this one major institution was enough. A family member encouraged me to apply but some dreams must come to an end.

While I was pursing this goal of working for this major institution, life continued and I worked in other organizations and made other plans. I learned a tremendous amount about applying for jobs and what people value. I have received more than 40 rejections (implicit and explicit) and less than a hundred or so as a conservative estimate.

The number of rejections I have received is probably much higher. Like most, I primarily keep track of successes. Experience is highly valued by others but your level of social acceptability ranks higher. You will often hear a strong advocacy for experience. It doesn’t match reality. Your relationship with people and how others judge your personality is often the greatest determinant of your success.


Personal networks are stronger and more powerful than resumes.


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