“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – R. F. Kennedy

“We regret to inform you that you have been unsuccessful in applying for this position”

The phrase that we all dread to receive, especially those who are searching for a job and/or a placement. Job hunting can be a truly daunting experience for many, without even considering the mental resilience required to pick yourself up again after being unsuccessful when applying for a position. Throughout the following blog we are going to be discussing different ways to pick yourself up again after being unsuccessful. As well as talking about how viewing certain situations under a different light can teach you some very valuable lessons about life, as well as lessons about yourself.

I am James Sweeney, a second-year student at the University of Reading, studying a BSc in Management with Information Technology. I am currently looking for a placement for the third year of my course and have discovered the hard way what a truly resilience testing experience it can be. I got the inspiration for this blog after I was unsuccessful from my first placement application. I took the rejection from the application very personal and it took me a few hours to understand what to do next.

Throughout life I am used to being very resilient in different areas, but I didn’t expect to need as much resilience as I do for placement and job searching. At first, I really struggled to pick myself back up again, however I quickly realised a few lessons that can be learned from the experience.

Failure is not always a bad thing

The first lesson that I learned was that failure is not always a bad thing, it is often a lesson on the road to success. The result of me being unsuccessful in my application led me to book an appointment with one of the Career Consultants at Henley Business School to see where I went wrong. It quickly became apparent that I was missing out key skills and work experience from my CV that led to me being rejected from the role. This gave me the chance to amend my CV which led to me being a lot more confident when applying for jobs.

Putting all your eggs in one basket

One of my biggest regrets when applying for placements was when I sent off my first application. I made the mistake of putting all of my eggs in one basket and I never even noticed that I was doing it. I was doing it sub-consciously and I only discovered that I had done it when I got the rejection email from the company. The rejection hit me hard and I was not sure what to do next. I felt like I had failed and that I would never get an actual placement moving forward.

This of course was a huge step back for me in the whole application process. It took me a while to get my confidence back up again and it was only due to going to several careers appointments with Henley Careers and by taking a few days off that I managed to get past it. I quickly learned that although I took the first rejection badly, it was something I needed to do and I learned a very valuable lesson. Granted it was unfortunate that it took a break and a rethink before I went back into placement hunting, I became a stronger candidate overall.

What you want vs what you think you want

One trend that has become apparent to me when talking to fellow students is the difference between what people want and what they think they want. I have spoken to a lot of students recently and found out that they don’t actually know what they want to do, they simply think that they do. Learning to identify what you want to do and where you want to go in life is key and is also very relevant to placements and resilience.

Finding a placement is hard, I’m not going to lie, but it is an important life lesson. Finding a placement, no matter how hard it may be to get, will ultimately help you out dramatically down the line. One of the common things that I find when speaking to my fellow students is that once they get rejected from a particular role from a few companies, they start to lose faith in both themselves and their chosen career. The ability to bounce back in this scenario is key. Having the resilience to keep on going, even after being rejected several times is key and will help you out later on in life.

Even if you eventually get a placement that you didn’t originally set out to get, it is not entirely a bad thing. You may find that you enjoy and actually have an even better time on this placement than you originally thought. You may also find that you learn a lot more on this placement that you may not have thought of at first. A lot of placements do carry with them a lot of transferable skills too. These skills will help shape you into a stronger applicant going forward and will make you a better and more employable person.

My advice would always be keep on going

Life will knock you down from time to time but if you don’t get back up again then what? Life is always about constant learning and adapting. Failure is not always a bad thing, sometimes it is just a curve on the road to success. Keep your head up and keep on trying. If you have been unsuccessful looking for placements, maybe change your approach to it? You could book an appointment to speak to a careers advisor, speak to company CEOs, do some more research and so much more. There’s so many things you can do, it is all about what works best for you.

Thank you all for reading my blog on Resilience in Placements! I hope you have all enjoyed the blog and have learnt something new about resilience! If you would like to read some more of my work I write my own blog page called: Sweeney’s Blogs. On Sweeney’s Blogs I write blogs on Stuttering, Stress and Mental Health among much, much more! You can visit my blog page here: sweeneysblog.com

If you want to find me on LinkedIn you can find me through this link: http://www.linkedin.com/in/james-connor-sweeney

Hope you have a great day and thanks again for reading!

James Sweeney