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Rejection is just part of the job hunt

OPINION

December 16, 2013|By Lela Olds, @literallylela | For RedEye

After carefully reviewing your qualifications, we have decided to move forward with other applicants.

If I had a dollar for every time I've received that email since I was laid off six months ago, I could enjoy a nice meal at Del Frisco's with a cocktail or two on the side.

We've all felt some form of rejection. Some of us weren't considered for a kickball team in elementary school. Or we weren't accepted into our first choice for college. Even our favorite villain, Kanye West, has been rejected time and again by the fashion industry.

Yet with every rejection has come a valuable lesson. Here are five I've learned during my job search.

Ask for feedback

After interviewing with a company and not being offered the position, you often times wonder: What went wrong? I've learned to address that question by simply asking for feedback from some companies. Not everyone is receptive to giving feedback, but you never know until you ask. I have been able to improve my resume, cover letter and interview answers based on the feedback I've received.

Don't get your hopes up

Yes, a position may seem tailor-made for you, and you're certain that you will receive an offer. Trust me, I've felt this way many times and made the mistake of not applying to any other jobs until I heard back about that position. Wrong! Always apply to multiple companies and keep all of your options open.

Do your research

There is nothing worse than walking into an interview totally clueless about the company or the position you're interviewing for. I'm ashamed to admit I have made this foolish mistake. Now I visit the company's website, study the job description, look up comparable salaries and stalk—oops, I mean read—the LinkedIn pages of the individuals I will interview with for the position. We live in the age of technology. So put that smartphone, laptop or tablet to good use before applying or interviewing for a job.

Network, network, network

It can definitely be intimidating, but it's so worth it. By attending events sponsored by organizations associated with my field, I have met some wonderful people who have helped move my job search and career in the right direction. As I'm sure you've heard before: It's all about who you know.

Try, try again

As Aaliyah once sang, "If at first you don't succeed ... dust yourself off and try again." She was referring to love, but the advice also applies to job rejection. As we all know, quitters never prosper. Just imagine if the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan vowed never to step foot on a basketball court again after being cut from his high school basketball team. We would have been deprived of six championships in Chicago and missed out on watching a legend change the game.

Lela Olds is a RedEye special contributor.

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