Rejection & The Job Search. Don’t Take This Personally But… You Suck.

I recently had a client – intelligent and educated – hire me to create her resume. I was especially excited about this project because I loved her industry and I love working with women executives. When I emailed her the draft, she promptly told me (in a surprising string of emailed insults) that she didn’t like the resume, and without any other explanation, wanted all her money back.

I tried working with her – told her I would redo her resume completely – I even offered her an additional $400 of extra services for free. I explained that most of my business came from referrals and that I would do what it takes to make her happy and deliver what was promised.

Nope. She wanted her money back and there would be no discussing it.

This would represent my first refund… ever… in the history of my company, after writing nearly 1000 resumes for executives all over the world that have used my marketing materials to land great jobs.

Needless to say, I was heartbroken, my pride was hurt, and – for everything I agreed to do for her – was suspicious of her motives.

And even though it wasn’t a quality issue and I didn’t technically have to, I refunded her 100% – based on principal – and I wished her well. It was tough to let it go. I was very angry. But I did.

I think those of us who take their business seriously, take great pride in our products and services, and work to get certifications and additional education to be the best we can be for those who hire us, feel a natural intense bitterness when something like this happens.

And it does happen, doesn’t it? To everyone – myself included.

People generally only see our successes, because that is what we want to show them. They less often see the underside of the tapestry – woven with effort and hard work… and rejection.

Whether it’s marketing your business or marketing yourself in a job search, it comes with built-in rejection. Some of it is totally unfair. But it will happen anyway. People don’t return your calls or fail to treat you with the respect you deserve. These are difficult things to begin with – in a job search they are amplified, since other emotions are often compounding the situation.

So the next time you “feel rejection” – remember you are not alone! If there is one thing I have learned from successful people, it is that they pushed through their failings, the periods of rejection, and most importantly… didn’t… give… up.

So don’t give up!

  • Maintain a consistency in your job search
  • Make sure you have good marketing materials
  • Hone your phone networking and interviewing skills
  • Put together a simple plan and follow it weekly
  • Use other strategies besides applying to jobs on job boards
  • Take action vs. waiting for the phone to ring
  • Go easy on yourself and don’t wait until you “have everything perfect” to launch your job search, your follow up phone calls, or other activities. It most always will never be the perfect time and you won’t ever feel ready.

I wish you every success in your job search!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.