Handling rejection during job search does not come easy for a lot of people. So, here you will find the most useful tips and strategies to deal with stress & anxiety, and improve your mood while searching for a job.

5 Tips to stay positive despite rejections during job search 

While applying for jobs, the mind often gets clouded by thoughts like – will I get shortlisted? Why are the recruiters not responding back? What if I am not selected? When will I make it? so on and so forth. With each opportunity that didn’t work out, the worries increase. And it becomes difficult for some people to dust these unhelpful thoughts off their head. They worry too much and for a long time.

Being stuck in the repetitive cycle of worries is a problem. It leads to increased mental activity that causes restlessness and discomfort.

So, if you are finding it difficult to stay positive and motivated while looking for a better opportunity, use the following tips to be optimistic, keep your sanity and remain hopeful while job hunting. 

These effective thinking strategies will help you put things into the right perspective, and come out of the job searching stress easily and quickly.

1. Think like a thermometer – in degrees, not extremes. 

The labels and categories exist only in the mind. Neither people nor life situations are often that cut and dried. So, avoid thinking in extremes to stay positive during a job search.

Thinking in the boundaries of labels like ‘good’ ‘bad’ ‘success’ ‘failure’ ‘unfortunate’ ‘unpleasant’ etc usually results in stress and anxiety, especially when you are finding a job. A better approach, therefore, is to stop labelling the circumstances and allow two seeming opposites to exist together.

Replace the faulty thinking approaches like ‘All-or-Nothing’ ‘Either/Or’ thinking with the ‘Both–And’ reasoning skills.

For example, you can take a career break once or twice, and you can have a successful career. Similarly, you can consider your career as perfect and strive to change it in specific ways.

The habit of thinking in degrees will enable you to perceive the reality and circumstances in a healthy and balanced way. It will not lead you to extreme emotional responses. Consequently, you will experience more control over your state of mind and you will become more optimistic and hopeful towards the future.

2. Remind yourself that feelings are not facts.


A lot of people consider their feelings as real hard evidence of the way things are. But, relying too heavily on feelings and considering them as a guide often results in undesirable consequences.

So, if you want to keep your spirits high while finding a job, do not jump to any conclusion without validating your assumptions.

Balance your emotional reasoning,

For instance, if you encounter rejections and feel that things are not going as expected, do not draw global conclusions from a few rejections. You may become anxious, and subsequently, accept a job offer that does not excite you enough.

Instead, when you are feeling low, remind yourself that your unresourceful feelings may not be necessarily true.

 After all, who knows? Maybe you will land a job sooner than you expect you will!

3. Steer your attention towards what you can do


Stop fretting and think of the things you can do to shine in this situation. Search for alternatives to address any potential problems when you find yourself ruminating about depressing thoughts.

Usually, job applicants check their email inboxes every few hours in anticipation of a response from the recruiters. But a lot of recruiters and companies never get back to their applicants. Thus, job seekers are constantly faced with the fear of the unknown and uncertainty. 

In any job search scenario, you don’t know who your competition is, who all are in the running for that opening, why you weren’t called in for an interview, or if you had an interview, why you didn’t get the offer. And over time, the feelings of helplessness, and disappointment start creeping in.

A better option, therefore, is to not wait for a response and create a counterbalance by directing your attention elsewhere. For example, follow market research, analysis and trend forecasts to sidetrack from worrying. Or take up things you used to do and would like to start doing again.

Be occupied with purposeful and interesting projects and activities to make your body and mind busy with something outside yourself, or engage in tasks where you will realize tangible results almost immediately.

4. Accept that the world doesn’t play to your rules 

Recognise that not everything will go as per the rules, or conditions you want to enforce.

A bitter truth you must deal with while applying for jobs is that you might not get every job you go for. No matter how exceptionally talented or experienced you already are, a 100 per cent certainty of getting every job you apply for is exceptionally rare.

Only the person who suits the job description the most will be hired or maybe not. 

The company could have already identified the candidate they will recruit or transfer internally, and the opening you see on their careers page is just a fall back option to look for a new candidate in case the selected candidate drops out.  

Other than this, a lot of times the talent acquisition team updates a vacancy on their career portal as per the company’s hiring policy without knowing that the management has no real intention of hiring someone for that particular vacant position. 

So, retain your standards, ideals, and preferences, but ditch your rigid demands about how you, others, and the world ‘have to’ be. Accept and let go of the things you have no control over. Do this the sooner the better. Your anxiety over job search will subside.

5. Consider yourself as a work-in-progress 

In other words, hold a flexible attitude towards yourself. And keep taking small yet significant steps for improvement.

While searching for a job search, a lot of people are hard on themselves. They catastrophize every rejection and thus become vulnerable to experiencing emotional disturbance.

People who do not judge themselves harshly, on the other hand, know that they always have the chance to improve.

So, allow yourself to be a work in progress and resolve to do things differently next time.

Learn from your mistakes, and forgive yourself for making them.

Most importantly, strive to improve yourself so that you keep acting consistently with how you like things to be.

Strategies to deal with stress and improve mood during job search

Job search is a struggle even under the most favourable circumstances. Active job seekers often experience some form of stress and anxiety while they strive to find a good job as early as possible. If not restrained, the stress involved in job searching can make you bitter and depressed. It can further sabotage your job-hunting efforts, add up to the number of rejections you face from hiring managers, and have a snowball effect on your ability to negotiate during interviews. 

So, here are some of the most effective and healthy ways of coping with stress and anxiety during a job search. They will help you put things into the right perspective, and maintain an optimistic outlook despite rejections.

1. Tackle your thinking to stay positive while applying for jobs

Like everyone else, you may be desperate to seek a better job as soon as possible. But the job scenario is uncertain, and things are not in your hands.

You have no choice but to keep a realistic and optimistic outlook towards circumstances.

A pessimistic perspective usually leads to disappointment, and depressing thoughts. It also hinders the job searching efforts.

So, stay positive and maintain sanity. It will keep you motivated to continue looking for better opportunities.

Remember, you always have the choice of looking at things in the positive light to deal with stressful and uncertain events.

2. Create a balance between job searching and other activities.

Do not allow your job search to encroach upon the other aspects of your life.

Job hunting is the only thing a lot of job aspirants do the entire day. Usually, they start their job search with confidence and enthusiasm, but then they lose hope midway. Rejections frustrate them, and the feelings of disappointment, powerlessness, self-doubt irritates them and makes them cranky. Some people even lash out at the closed ones because of the stress over job search.

So, don’t make job-hunting the centre of your universe. Become a more rounded individual and create an appropriate balance in life to decrease your stress levels and improve your mood. It will bring more energy and vigour to your job search.

And subsequently, your chances of finding the right job will increase.

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Spend your time wisely.

Keep yourself busy with freelance consulting assignments and volunteer for projects if you are eager to put your skills and expertise to best use. Consider creating YouTube tutorials or writing blogs to post your professional insights. Frankly, you have no control whether job openings for your desired portfolio will be there or not. The job scenario is uncertain. But when you are engaged in such professional pursuits, you showcase your expertise. This increases your chances of selection. And who knows? This might lead you to a new business opportunity!

  • Avoid isolation

In other words, get out and about as much as possible to uplift your mood when you are feeling low.

If you disengage socially, it might result in poor self-care or self-neglect, passive attitude and poor morale. Subsequently, it can generate feelings of anxiety and depression. So, reconnect with old friends and make new connections

And, do not shy away from networking with people. Attend field-specific networking events to expand your network. You will get some useful information as well as contact names that could prove extremely helpful in your job search.

On a side note, take classes in your area of specialisation to build your skill sets as required. You will have the added benefit of networking with your colleagues and the instructor. And most likely, you will open the route to your next position.

  • Stay active and get regular exercise

While people are preoccupied with job searching, working on their physical and mental well-being often takes a backseat.

The experts, however, recommend that you must work out regularly to get charged with endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain.

So, engage in some form of exercise every day to boost your mood.

Breathing exercises and yoga in the morning and a stroll or an easy cycle ride in the evening is an ideal choice. It will help you in keeping emotions in check and improve both physical and mental well-being. Consequently, you will have more mental energy and strength to carry out job hunting activities.

3. Use frustration as a fuel for motivation

People often feel frustrated about their life circumstances. They keep saying things like ‘All my friends have better jobs and I am still looking out for one’, ‘Why am I the only one who is struggling in life’, so on and so forth. And this adds to their agony.

It is important to realise that instead of making frustration the source of pain and discomfort, you can turn it into an uplifting experience.

When you use frustration as a driving force, you act consistently with how you like things to be. Consequently, you don’t feel powerless and you feel much better.

4. Eat right and sleep well to reduce the stress level

Diet and sleep are often overlooked when job applicants are busy looking for a better job on various job portals and career websites.

It’s a well-known fact that insufficient sleep and unhealthy eating habits negatively affect your concentration and problem-solving skills, and result in distress and irritability.

A healthy diet and sufficient sleep, on the other hand, can counterbalance the ill-effects of stress.

Nutrients from healthy foods can strengthen the immune system and improve blood flow in the body. And proper sleep reduces mental exhaustion and overwhelm.

So, get proper sleep, and eat right regularly. Fill your plate with nutritious foods and don’t throw off your sleep schedule to deal with stress during the job searching phase.

5. Ask for support

Talk things over with a friend, explore self-help articles, or approach a career coach if required. Don’t hesitate to get appropriate support from friends and professionals if you think you need to.

Denying the offered support or putting off asking for help when you need it only prolongs your discomfort. So, if you think you need more support to deal with stress during the job search, be sure to get it sooner rather than later.

6. Catch hold of the most effective job-seeking tips

The best way to deal with stress during a job search is to ultimately get a job that matches your desired expectations in terms of salary, designation and responsibilities.

So, refer to this article and ensure that you are leveraging the best job searching tips that help people find the right job quickly, without becoming stressed all day.

Wrap up  


Though the job searching phase is uncomfortable, it is a fertile ground for huge growth. So, save your energy for creative thought and action if you want relief from job searching stress.

Accept the circumstances, and ask for help whenever required. Use the appropriate thinking strategies and spend your time wisely. Also, adopt healthy eating habits and get sufficient sleep every day to deal with stress during the job search.

Most importantly, continue taking consistent steps. Soon, you will reach where you want to be.

All the best!