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How to Deal with Fear of Rejection During the Product Manager Job Hunt

The fear of rejection is very common and comes up in many aspects of life. If you are afraid of rejection while applying for Product Manager jobs, don’t be discouraged: you are not the only one! 

It is important not to let fear hold you back from applying for the jobs you really want. We will teach you how to deal with the fear of rejection during your job hunt so you can land the Product Manager position you’ve been dreaming of.

What Is Fear of Rejection?

To overcome your fear of rejection, you first have to understand it. Fear is our human instinct to protect us from pain and let’s face it, rejection hurts. According to the American Psychological Association, the brain reacts to rejection in the same way it reacts to physical pain. 

Having fear of rejection, which is also known as rejection sensitivity, means that you expect to be rejected and are feeling it before it happens. This can negatively affect our self-esteem, decision-making skills, and ambitions.

Fear of Rejection Symptoms

If you have ever been interested in a job opening and decided not to apply because you assumed you weren’t good enough for the position, it is likely that you are dealing with a bit of rejection sensitivity. Or maybe you’ve got the interview but you are frozen with fear, hiding your true self, or neglecting to ask about your own needs from the job in an effort to be accepted for the position. 

You can’t help but be visibly nervous and, unfortunately, that often leads you right to the rejection you’ve been fearing all along. The best way to break the cycle is to learn how to deal with the fear of rejection and overcome it.

Top Tips to Deal with Fear of Rejection

Now that you understand what fear of rejection is and why you are experiencing it, the next step is to deal with it. We are not going to let fear hold you back. Here are our eight tips to overcome your fear of rejection. 

Know That Everyone Gets Rejected At Least Once

Listen to any motivational speech from a successful person in society and I bet they will tell you about their failures and rejections. It is a part of life, just like falling off your bicycle as a kid. Knowing that every successful Product Manager experienced rejection may not make it hurt any less, but it can help you fear it a little less. It is an inevitable part of life. 

Acknowledge Your Feelings

Acting tough and unbothered is not an effective way to deal with fear of rejection. If you never acknowledge how the rejection made you feel, you will not be able to address it properly. Admitting to yourself that rejection hurts is a great step in conquering your fear of it. 

Get to the Root of the Fear

Are you really afraid of being rejected by a potential employer or are you actually afraid of being unemployed and financially unstable? It is likely the latter. Realistically, rejection from a job application will come in the form of an email and we all know there is nothing too terrifying about that. Think hard about what it is you’re actually afraid of and then create a plan B that makes you feel secure in case of rejection. 

Learn From Your Rejection

Getting rejected from a job you applied for is not always your fault. Depending on the size of the company, they likely had hundreds of qualified applicants to choose from. Either way, a little introspection never hurts. 

Take a once over of your resume and look for typos or places where your skills may be lacking. Think back to your interview; were you visibly nervous and expectant of rejection? If so, use that as the driving force to push back that fear and enter the next interview with confidence!

Remind Yourself When It’s Not That Deep

If you are highly sensitive to rejection, it may be easy for your mind to rattle off a long list of worst-case scenarios that all start with being rejected from one job. Realistically, if you are rejected from one job that simply means you are one rejection closer to the job that is right for you. Take a deep breath and adjust your perspective, there are so many PM positions available just waiting for you. 

Practice Positive Self-Talk

What you say to yourself matters. If you are expecting rejection and telling yourself that you will not get your dream job odds are, you won’t. Your future employer will catch on to your self-doubt and decide that they doubt you too. Telling yourself that you will get the job doesn’t always mean you will, but it certainly improves your odds because you will be more confident in your interview. If it still doesn’t work out, your positive attitude will make the rejection easier to handle. 

Surround Yourself with Acceptance

You are not the only person who believes in you. We believe in you, too! While you are learning how to deal with the fear of rejection, lean on those who accept you. Your friends, family, and Product Gym community can lift you up and reinstill that confidence you need to get the next job that comes your way. 

In fact, there are many things that you can learn from your past failures. Practice makes perfect. What didn’t work in one interview will serve as an important lesson in your next interview. What made you feel inadequate about yourself in one interview will serve as fuel for your next interview. As you practice, you will get better and better at nailing the job application process. And luckily for you, there’s a whole community of people just like you, whom you can learn from and receive encouragement and moral support from.

Go For It Anyway

This is by far the number one way to get over your fear of rejection: When you are afraid to go for something, do it anyway. The best way to conquer any fear is to face it head-on. The real thing is rarely as scary as we believe it will be. Don’t let fear hold you back from being the Product Manager you’re capable of being.

Moving Past Your Fear of Rejection

Take what you have learned about fear and apply it as you move forward on your product management job hunt. Remember, you’re not the only one who is fearing rejection when filling out that job application. Together we will get you into the position that is meant for you. If you’re looking for a community of people just like you to keep you going even when times get tough, Product Gym is just the place for you to be. Schedule a free coaching call with our in-house expert team and we will be happy to share more about our community and the types of support you will receive on a daily basis.