Managing Your Fear of Rejection In Your Job Search

Rejection is one of the biggest fears circulating in the legal field. We all hate it – and that’s perfectly natural. But it’s not okay to be afraid of rejection; so much so that it paralyzes you.

Interpretations Gone Awry

One of the most common misconceptions about fear is the assumption that rejection has happened before it actually has. It’s bad enough to fear rejection, but it’s even worse to interpret rejection when there is none.

Example: You move mountains to make a job interview on 24 hours’ notice. You prepare yourself and all goes well. During the meeting the potential employer says, “I look forward to working with you,” but then proceeds to ignore your follow-up phone calls. More than 90 percent of attorneys interpret the lack of response as a rejection.

Not so fast.

More than likely, the potential employer is very busy and doesn’t have time to return your phone calls. Or, priorities have shifted and hiring you took a back seat to more pressing matters.

Develop a Thicker Skin

Walk into any established law firm and you’ll find that its top producers possess a thick skin. They do not take rejection personally. Instead, they choose to learn from their failures. In fact, the best rainmakers have experienced more rejections than the average professional makes attempts.

None of us is perfect. We make mistakes. We experience let downs. We fail. But learning from each experience is immeasurable if absorbed with a learning attitude – not fear.

Objection is Not Rejection

One final word about rejection. Do not mistake an objection for someone rejecting you. A potential employer or client may object to your asking salary or fees. If you hear this, don’t fold up your tent and walk away. Shove your sensitivity to the side and circle the conversation back to a negotiation about money. In reality, an objection leaves the door open for a win – not a failure.

Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

This post was written by .

Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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