It’s a little like dating. You have found your dream job or organization– but will they like you back, enough to hire you? If they reject you, does that make you a bad person or a failure? Putting yourself out there by networking, applying, and interviewing for jobs makes you very vulnerable to rejection, the same way that dating does. Some people get so emotionally invested in a particular job it even paralyzes them from applying, in case they get rejected.
Well, I’ll give the same advice I would if you were dating. If you put yourself out there and try to meet someone, or go on a blind date, you will have at least some percentage chance of connecting. If you never try, you will have a 100% chance of NOT connecting. Same with jobs. If you don’t apply, you have a 100% chance of not being selected.
How to get past the fear of rejection? It’s tough, I know, but somehow you have to insulate yourself from the outcome and focus on process. If you are desperate for a job and need one tomorrow, it will come across in the interview. If you can find a mantra to help you detach from the situation and focus on your own strengths and all the reasons why the organization would benefit from hiring you, perhaps you can realize that if they don’t pick you, it was either just not meant to be, or the organization actually made a mistake in not hiring you. Most importantly, though, you have to force yourself to detach from whether you’ll be hired, and focus on one step at a time– writing that cover letter, submitting that application, sending that Linkedin invite, picking up the telephone to follow up– one small step at a time. And celebrate your achievements! Each time you submit an application or have a good informational interview, find a small way to reward yourself. Chocolate works for most people. Good luck!