Most of the time when we apply for freelance, we don’t hear back from the person hiring if they didn’t think we were a good fit. Sometimes, though, the potential client actually does get in touch to let us know that we won’t be working together on the project.
I used to think that it would be better if they didn’t get in touch at all. After a certain amount of time has passed, my attention has move on to other things and I’ve forgotten all about the job in question. There have been a few jobs that I have applied for that I really, really wanted to get that I didn’t. And when you get the word, it may sting slightly or it might throw your confidence off for awhile. (I actually cried over one “Thanks but no thanks” e-mail I received. Then I briefly thought about running off to join the Foreign Legion and forgetting all about this freelance writing thing…..)
Over time, I have learned to have a better perspective about all the jobs that I didn’t get. I started thinking of them in baseball terms: not a strikeout, but more like a foul ball. I didn’t get in, but it doesn’t mean that I totally suck. After all, the person doing the hiring was courteous enough to take the time to let me know.
I make a point of responding to these e-mails to thank the person for taking the time to consider me. I let them know that they can get in touch with me if their needs change. If I’m feeling particularly bold, I ask them if they know anyone else who may be looking for a writer .
This tactic has worked. I’ve gotten hired months later for a different project and I have received good job leads from people who didn’t hire me themselves.
Let me finish off this post about dealing with rejection by sharing a portion of an e-mail I received recently to let me know that I didn’t get the gig I had applied for:
Although you did not make the pool, let it not be said that it is in no way a criticism of you as a writer. Writing is subjective and it is very much a matter of the right piece at the right time.
Besides, nine times out of ten the editors are morons. I should know.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.