3 Lessons I Learned After 285 Rejected Job Apps

Yes, you read that correctly. 285 REJECTED (or ignored) job applications. Actually, that number is probably closer to 350 or 400 if I really think hard about it. 181 were on LinkedIn alone. I have proof.

See? It’s pretty discouraging to see that number climbing, week after week, and not having anything to show for it. How did this even begin? Well, my personal life had gotten to an overwhelming point, and I could no longer manage the day to day operations of my business. I couldn’t do lead generation AND maintain my social media AND service my clients. So I decided to go out and attempt to work for another company. For the life of me I could not figure out how I, a person with multiple certifications, glowing recommendations and a decade of experience in the same industry, could not get hired.

I thought to myself “finding a job won’t be difficult because I have a ton of relevant and recent experience.” Little did I know, years of experience doing what you can prove you’re great at does not make up for being “too independent” of a worker—apparently, years of being a freelancer actually makes you a liability to “regular” employers.

Each email containing “Dear Chanel, Thank you for your application. While you have very many valuable skills, we have decided to pursue other candidates at this time” was just another slap in the face and quickly made me feel like all the work I had done over the years was worthless.

Nevertheless, during this very low point in my professional life, I did manage to learn a few things that turned out to be the perfect lessons.

If you’re meant to be an entrepreneur, you’re going to be an entrepreneur

What I have found to be true is that once a person discovers their passion, they inevitably set themselves on a path to achieve their dreams. However, the road to success is not linear. Sometimes the valleys encountered on the road to the life we’ve always dreamt of are difficult, discouraging and at times, even depressing. Which leads me to my next point.

Giving up on your dreams usually backfires

I have never met a client that has caused me to become as depressed as I did during my hunt for a “regular” job. Public Relations can be a very stressful industry because although you are in business for yourself, you actually work for the people that hire your company. Public Relations, along with most others industries that provide a service to it’s clients, can bring stressors that pile on quickly. However, even the most stressful client I’ve ever serviced did not come close to making me feel depressed and like I wanted to give up on the work I was so exceptionally skilled at.

Sometimes “no” is meant to push you forward

We’ve all heard the phrase “nothing worth having comes easy,” right? Well as cliché as it sounds, it’s true. I remember being on my iPad one day, scouring the internet for jobs opportunities, trying to connect with people on LinkedIn for referrals and leads, and then something just hit me. I had this overwhelming feeling of “what the hell am I doing this for?” I remember feeling so disappointed in myself that I would even think of giving up on my dreams. I thought of something Jim Carrey once said:

He was right. Once I started putting my fate in the hands of others I felt empty. So I began to believe there was a reason I had been rejected by all those employers. Perhaps they saw something in me I couldn’t even see in myself anymore. Complete strangers were recognizing my talent and potential while I had become entirely oblivious to it.

The moment I realized that not being able to secure a “regular” job wasn’t about what I could NOT bring to the table, but instead that my skills and innovative ideas actually frightened employers, I began to regain my strength. When I realized my desire to help change the world and be an advocate for those less fortunate was considered “too much” for traditional employers, I began to regain my passion. And when I realized the knowledge contained in my mind was actually worth hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars, I regained my drive and determination to go after my dreams.

If you’re an entrepreneur reading this right now, please believe me when I say: YOU GOT THIS! Things may be difficult right now, but trouble doesn’t last always. If I could ditch my dark cloud, so can you! DON’T GIVE UP ON THE LIFE YOU WANT!

Written by Chanel Belle

Chanel Belle is a 10 year public relations veteran and a certified PR and Digital Marketing specialist. She founded Chanel Belle PR in 2008 and also advocates for Mental Health and Lupus. She also runs a personal mental health blog. When not working with clients, she can be found homeschooling her young sons or writing the script for her debut short film. Over the years Chanel has developed an expertise in Social Media Marketing and Lead Generation. She posts relevant and valuable content regarding these and other topics on her LinkedIn where she loves to connect with other entrepreneurs and professionals.