Patti’s Pearls of Wisdom – Navigating Rejection with Grace and Gumption 

Navigating the tumultuous waters of the job search as a young professional woman can be an exhilarating and, at times, deeply frustrating experience. The excitement of opportunity often tangles with the disappointment of rejection that can cause even the most confident woman to doubt herself.  But let’s be clear, the job hunt takes grit. It’s a numbers game, but it’s also about strategy, a dash of confidence, and a healthy dose of perseverance.

So here’s the plan to help you handle the ebbs and flows of job searching with both grace and gumption: 

Don’t take it personally, and actively learn instead. While easier said than done, let’s get real: many rejections have nothing to do with you. Perhaps the position changed, the company shifted its budget, or your resume was one of hundreds. Internal candidates have a natural advantage. Remember, rejection is not necessarily a reflection of your abilities – it’s just a part of the game. Instead: 

  • Request informational interviews: Politely inquire if the hiring manager would be willing to share insights on the position or the company culture, even if you weren’t chosen. This demonstrates your genuine interest and initiative, and you never know who might remember you for future opportunities. 
  • Seek feedback on your application materials: Ask a trusted mentor, career counselor, or friend to review your resume and cover letter. Their constructive criticism can help you strengthen your application package for future opportunities. 

Reframe your mindset, and actively seek learning opportunities. See every application, interview, and “no” as practice.  You’re gathering information, refining your skills, and strengthening your confidence muscle.  Think of each step as progress and another rung on the career ladder rather than a door slammed shut. Furthermore: 

  • Volunteer in your field: Look for volunteer opportunities for your desired career path. This not only gives you valuable experience but also allows you to build your network and gain references. 
  • Take online courses or attend workshops: Invest in yourself by acquiring new skills or knowledge relevant to your target industry. This demonstrates your commitment to professional development and opens doors to positions requiring specific skill sets. 

Leverage your network and actively build connections.  Never underestimate the power of your circle of connections. Informational interviews with people in your target industries can be invaluable. You won’t be asking for a job directly, but this inside information, advice, and potential referrals can open unexpected doors.  Don’t just rely on existing connections, expand your network: 

  • Connect with alumni from your college or university: Utilize alumni networks and career resources offered by your alma mater. 
  • Join professional organizations or online communities: Seek out groups related to your desired field and connect with like-minded individuals. 
  • Attend industry events or conferences: Participate in relevant events to build connections, learn about trends, and meet potential employers. 

And remember, finding the right fit is about more than just a job; it’s about aligning your skills and passions with a company and culture that values what you bring to the table. Don’t get discouraged by those closed doors; they’ll only lead you to one that swings open perfectly for you. 

The job search isn’t just about proving your worth – it’s about discovering it. Approach this process with a blend of tenacity and a healthy dose of self-compassion.  Remember your unique talents, celebrate even small successes, and know that your ideal opportunity is out there waiting for you with a positive mindset, unwavering determination, and these actionable steps. 

Along with serving on the NeW advisory board, Patricia Rausch serves as the Vice President of Education at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. Leading the charge on new learning initiatives, she develops and executes career-connected educational programming and resources aimed to transform and advance the distribution workforce.


Carleton College Blog: My Favorite Convo

This blog post originally appeared on Carleton College’s Admissions Website on April 9, 2019. The piece is written by Lucas Demetriades regarding the recent speech


Receive the latest news and alerts from the NeW team.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.