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Blog>Trends>Almost Half of Job Seekers Lost Confidence From Receiving Rejection Letters

Almost Half of Job Seekers Lost Confidence From Receiving Rejection Letters

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Key Points

  • On average, job seekers started losing confidence in themselves after five rejections

  • More than 1 in 10 job seekers believed that their resume was never reviewed by a real person

  • 1 in 3 job seekers stopped looking for a new job after receiving too many rejections

Nobody enjoys getting turned down for a job, but with the right mindset, the experience can be used to a job seeker’s advantage. Failures can truly be our greatest teachers and even direct us to the career of our dreams. After speaking to more than 1,000 employees across the country, Joblist has definitive proof of this.

To uncover the trials and tribulations they had gone through to land their current positions, Joblist asked each employed person how many applications they had to submit before finally being accepted. They shared the salaries they wanted versus the salaries they received. They even shared their top suggestions for avoiding some of their most common mistakes.

Application Rejections by the Numbers

Our study kicks off with a look into the key statistics of job application rejection today. Aggregate data reveals the number of jobs employees have applied to within the last six months and how many of those applications were met with rejection.

Infographic on percentage of job seekers applying for jobs and being rejected.

Applicants be warned: it is not uncommon to apply for more than ten jobs before landing a position. That said, the process will likely end in success, even after repeated rejections. The majority of successful applicants had applied for anywhere from 11 to 15 jobs and received between 6 and 10 rejections. The entire process took an average of three months.

Contrary to popular opinion, being employed did not appear to help applicants land a new job more easily. While employed respondents sent 11 to 15 applications, on average, those who were unemployed at the time of looking for a new job were able to find one after just 6 to 10 applications.

Presumed Reasons for Rejection

Although candidates may not have been notified of exactly why their potential employer rejected them, many seemed to have a good idea. The next section of the research asked respondents to share why they felt their applications were ultimately denied and how their confidence levels were affected.

Infographic on top reasons job seekers think their application was rejected.

Part of what helps an applicant to land a new job, even after facing multiple rejections, is not losing confidence. Even rejected respondents managed to keep their heads held high for the most part, often thinking the rejection was due to too many applicants (43%) as opposed to a lack of capability. Some felt that they had asked for too much to begin with, especially women, who were more likely than men to think their salary request was what got them rejected.

Ultimately, it took an average of five rejections for our respondents’ confidence to waver. Younger and less experienced respondents were particularly prone to losing confidence. Both Gen Zers and millennials reported beginning to doubt themselves more quickly than their older counterparts. Entry-level respondents were also twice as likely to lose confidence compared to managers and supervisors. When confidence wavered, 63.8% decided to pivot on the type of job they were seeking rather than persevering.

From Rejection to Rejoicing

Of course, rejection has some negative consequences — loss of confidence being one of them — but the experience can also prove valuable. The last section of the study asked respondents to share the lessons they had learned as well as their top tips for a successful job candidacy.

Infographic on the most successful ways to improve the job seeking process.

Even after long and arduous processes that potentially included dozens of rejections, the end result was effectively worth it for most respondents. Three in 4 successful applicants are now working their dream job. Even though effort and resilience were required to get there, it took a mere three months, on average, to manifest this dream. That said, many respondents had to compromise on salary. While they asked for an average of $65,000 annually, the actual amount received fell roughly $8,000 short of that.

To share in this success and potentially even improve upon it, most candidates recommended taking more time to prepare for interviews. This preparation should include gaining an understanding of the company’s mission statement and reading their latest press releases and blog posts — as a start. When it comes to interviewing, being overly prepared and having more than enough talking points is never a bad thing. Respondents also recommended that candidates update their resume (25.8%) or even take the time to learn entirely new skills (24.3%).

Recovering From Rejection

Rejection doesn’t have to be a confidence destroyer, although it clearly was for many. Candidates often expressed dismay after repeated rejections and even stopped applying. But those who stayed the course proved it was worth it, and most ended up landing the job of their dreams. They recommended that candidates prepare thoroughly for interviews and consider upping their skill levels, if possible.

With so much on offer at the other end of the job application process, please don’t quit even if you’ve been rejected over ten times! It’s important to keep moving forward, which Joblist is dedicated to helping you do. Joblist automatically tailors your job search to your particular needs and skill set even as they change and evolve. To see what positions you’re already qualified for or may soon be ready for, head to Joblist today.

Mentioned In This Article

Methodology and Limitations

This study uses data from a survey of 1,001 U.S. job seekers. Respondents were presented with a series of questions, including attention-check and disqualification questions. 56.2% identified as men, while 43.7% identified as women, and less than 1% identified as nonbinary. Employees ranged in age from 19 to 74, with an average age of 37. 14% of employees were Gen Zers, 45.4% were millennials, 24.6% were Gen Xers, and 16% were baby boomers. Participants incorrectly answering any attention-check question had their answers disqualified.

Please note that survey data has certain limitations due to self-reporting.

Fair Use Statement

If you’d like to share our respondents’ experience and advice for landing the dream job, you are welcome to share this study. Just be sure your purposes are noncommercial and that you link back to this page when doing so.

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