When checking your e-mail one day, you see a message about a sports job that you really want.
It could be an automated notification from a job board or directly from the hiring manager, but you just know you have to open it right away.
Unfortunately, the outcome is not good news, as you find out another candidate has been chosen for the position or that the job wasn’t filled at all.
It's almost as if there is a sad music soundtrack playing in the background of your life.
Rejection happens to everyone in the sports industry regardless of how much job experience they have or how many years they’ve been in the business. But if this is really your dream, you can’t take the rejection too harshly and need to keep on going.
In fact, you can even find a way to make it work for you.
It's Not You, It's Us
The most important thing to understand is that rejection doesn’t always mean you weren’t capable of doing the job. It is not unusual for some sports job openings to receive about 300-500 applications depending on the position, the city it’s based in and the general shape of the job market.
Obviously, with only one job available, many people with great experience will get turned down. Remind yourself of the experience you do have and be confident in your ability to be an asset to a team or other sports-related company.
Sometimes, the organization may even decide not to fill the job for whatever reason. While this may be because they didn’t find any qualified candidates, it could also be due to budget restrictions or changes in staffing needs. Again, this has nothing to do with you as a person.
You can control several parts of the hiring process, such as how much research you do before on an employer or how you answer standard interview questions, but when you can’t control something, it is best to mentally let go and not let the rejection get you down.
Ask For Feedback And Actually Listen To It
If you had contact with a hiring manager at any point in the process, e-mail them after you receive their decision and ask for feedback.
Please keep in mind this is not a way to argue about the hiring decision, but rather to see if there is anything you can do to improve your odds for your next job application. There may be an area where you need more experience or a better way you can write your cover letter.
You could even get suggestions on how to network to make sure your resume goes to the top of the pile. Regardless, make sure you thank the hiring manager for their time, and then make time to take their advice.
You can start networking better by attending sports career fairs which give you the chance to distribute resumes to and exchange business cards with sports-themed companies.
If there is a skill that several job postings are asking for that you lack, see if you can download the program or look into tutorials about it. Even if you don’t become totally fluent right away, you can say that you are working on learning this program, and maybe you can show off examples of your work.
No Could Mean Yes
Lastly, try to think of every “no” answer as getting closer to a “yes.”
Understand that the job you applied for maybe wasn’t right at this time, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a good fit down the line. Keep sending applications and checking job boards for positions that might fit your background.
While rejection may seem like the end of the world at the time you receive the news, it doesn’t have to be if you know the right way to handle it gracefully.
Alison Myers has worked for Bleacher Report since 2010 as both a copy editor and quality editor. She is in the process of seeking out graduate programs to continue her education in sports management and get an internship with a professional team.
Alison has an extensive sports writing portfolio, a strong work ethic and excellent verbal and written communications skills. You can follow Alison on Twitter: @AlisonM_110
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