5 Tips for Coping With Job Search Failure

Last Updated on April 2, 2021

An African American college senior in stressed about a failed job search while on his laptop sitting with books and bottle of water.

In a troubled economy, it's the lower and middle classes that suffer the most. Currently 7.7 percent of the US adult population is looking for work and unable to find it — and that's not even counting those who've given up. It can be frustrating, especially considering how you're probably following the surefire job search recommendations: treating the job search like a full-time job, networking through connections, etc. Surefire isn't always so sure in a floundering economy, so you must do what you can to cope.

Get an Advanced Degree

A tool like an online MBA program resource gives you an overview of higher education's benefits. While not for everyone — it involves additional expenses — an advanced degree can increase your job prospects as well as your potential salary. The ability to earn a degree online means you can do it on your schedule, at a place convenient for you, even as you continue to look for a job, work a minimum-wage job or take care of your family.

Consider what kind of career you'd like to have. If you're having difficulty getting hired, the jobs may be going to candidates with master's degrees. Set yourself apart with a master's degree of your own. By the time you finish the program, hiring in your field could increase.

Rework Your Resume

If you're having difficulty getting to the interview stage, it could be something in your resume or cover letter that isn't properly showcasing your strengths. There's more competition for positions so you need to do what you can to stand out right from the start. Get an outside opinion and a professional one if possible.Desperate businessman looking for a job

There are a number of free resources available for resume and cover letter help, including the career services center of your college or high school, the library and workshops presented via the unemployment office. Even if you didn't attend a local college, you can request help from a tutor for a fee.


If you've exhausted your connections looking for open jobs, it's time to make new connections. Volunteer in your local community; you'll meet new people in a professional setting and these people can refer you to paying work. Sometimes volunteering with a nonprofit organization for a while can even lead to a paying job on staff.

At the least, the volunteer experience boosts your resume, gives you more to talk about in job interviews and keeps you busy, distracting you from those negative feelings that come with job search failure.

Remind Yourself of Success

It's easy to become negative when you do your best and don't succeed. But if you're doing your best, it's not your fault. Negativity can lead to depression and anxiety, which can impact your physical health. Remind yourself of your successes daily:

  • Praise yourself for getting to the interview stage.
  • Pat yourself on the back for finding new jobs to apply for.
  • Reward yourself for a day spent volunteering.
  • Remind yourself of your talents and strengths, and why you'd make a great employee.

Don't Give Up

It's much harder to get back into any difficult task if you take a prolonged break, and that certainly applies to the job search. Many people have given up entirely, but scrimping by on meager savings, debt and assistance is no way to live a happy, fulfilling life. Don't take more than a day or two off from the

The best way to cope with job search failure is to consider getting an advanced degree, seek help reworking your resume and cover letter, make connections and keep busy through volunteering. Also, remind yourself of your successes daily and don't let yourself give up. Wherever possible, allow friends, family and professionals to assist you. Above all, remind yourself you're not alone in the frustrating job search that goes hand in hand with a troubled economy.

About the Author: Doug Berrios is a contributing writer who is a career services counselor at a Midwestern liberal arts college.



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