A Fear of Rejection: Why My Job Search Feels Different This Time

As I write this, a unique feeling has come over me. I am wrapping up my degree program at the University of Nevada~Reno with honors, but for some odd reason, I am nervous about looking for a new job.

With a brand new degree, years of work experience, and my veteran’s status, one would think I should be able to land something good! But as I search Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and company websites, I am developing a feeling I have never felt before; a fear of being rejected.

The pandemic does not help, and I know there are a lot of worthy competitors roaming around, but that shouldn’t stop me from being selected by at least one employer I applied to, right? I am about to find out! When I first started my degree program four-years ago, I would daydream about having multiple job offers to choose from. Four years later, I am just hoping I get one decent offer.

So what changed? At the moment, there is a palpable sense of uncertainty as it relates to our economy’s future, but there is something else that is concerning me. That concern is not having the “experience” hiring managers are requiring, which leads to rejection. My concern has become a reality.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

In the last couple of days, I have searched for and found some fantastic job opportunities. I’m ready to pack up my family and relocate! I have all the skills they desire and have the education as well, but then I see it… “Must has 5+ years of experience,” “Experience is essential,” etc. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the logic behind it, but I also know I would excel in those positions if they were willing to give me a chance. But odds are, if I apply, I will be rejected.

In theory, it looks as though I have painted myself into a corner. The security industry and first responder jobs are everywhere. Still, with my new business degree, I should be able to test the waters in new industries such as entertainment, hospitality, marketing, and human resources, to name a few. But again, that ‘lack of experience’ hurts my chances. There has to be a better way for people to transition into new managers/supervisor roles in an industry they have not worked in before.

In a perfect world, more companies would loosen those experience requirements and give go-getters like me a chance. Only time will tell; maybe there is a diamond in the rough. I am not convinced it’s impossible, because we all know someone who landed a job they weren’t qualified for because of who they know, not what they know. I’m not asking for any favors; I am asking for a chance! I have noticed many jobs on Indeed, but will the jobs notice me?

With that said, I still love the security industry and would be more than happy to take a job within it. But it has to be a good fit, like a director or manager position. I am not being demanding, but I do know my worth. So, where do I go from here? I really don’t know. I guess just keep applying and then pray my phone rings.

Being a middle-aged man fresh out of college is not conventional, but it’s not a stigma either. I have to fit in somewhere, right? My biggest cheerleader, my wife, tells me all the time, “Swing for the fences, go for the big job, some company is about to get lucky nabbing you!” Hopefully, nabbing is a good thing.

In conclusion, I have my work cut out for me. And although I have yet to be rejected, I can’t help but overthink the notion that I may get more rejections than interviews. This may seem like a pity party disguised as a blog post, and I suppose it is in a sense, but I am so passionate and ‘gung-ho’ right now! I want to start contributing to a company right away, but I fear rejection. I am resilient, however, but I am also human. Rejection is a concern we all think about at one time or another, but I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would feel like this right after getting a new business degree. It’s bizarre, but it’s my reality.

My call to action is a question; Is it inappropriate to apply for a job that you qualify for in every category but experience? What is the etiquette? The last thing I want to do is frustrate hiring managers or recruiters, but I also want to ‘swing for the fences,’ so what should I do? Thanks for any feedback or advice!


Published by robtopics

I am an enthusiastic person who is striving to become a valuable contributor to any company. The next chapter of my life is just beginning!

2 thoughts on “A Fear of Rejection: Why My Job Search Feels Different This Time

  1. I’d definitely encourage you to apply for jobs where you don’t have all the years of experience they say is required. Be honest about your background and experience – but don’t let it hold you back from trying. Many recruiters list everything they would ideally want in a candidate, knowing most of the applicants will not meet all the “requirements.” There have definitely been jobs I’ve applied for without meeting the full requirements and I’ve still been offered the position. Just be up front about it and you’ll often find they are looking for someone motivated and with the right personality to fit into the company culture rather than someone who has every single thing they list in the job posting. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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