Two recruiters sit at a table at the Champlain College Career Fair

Dealing with Job Search Rejection

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

If it hasn’t happened already, it will. You’ll apply for a job and ace the interview and then get a call saying you didn’t get the job. That rejection, if you’re not prepared for it, could send you reeling. Here are some tips for dealing with rejection so you can get back to focusing on your job search.

  1. Have a Plan B. When you’re searching for a job, ideally you never put all your eggs in one basket. That’s to say, you don’t apply for one job thinking it’s a sure thing. Anything can happen and a position you seem the perfect candidate for could just as easily go to someone else. Apply to several jobs at a time, bolstering your chances and ensuring you always have a Plan B.
  2. Get Feedback. If you don’t get the job and have no real clue why, it’s okay to call up the hiring manager who interviewed you and ask what you could have done better. That feedback could help you make changes that make all the difference during your next interview.
  3. Don’t Dwell. It’s easy to get caught up in a rejection. After all, a company went with someone else, and that can be hard to accept. But dwelling on it will only take your attention away from your job search. Try to think about the times you were successful, and understand that you will be successful again someday soon. Rejection happens to everyone.
  4. Consider Your Strengths. Instead of dwelling on what you did wrong, think about what qualities you bring to the table. Maybe you’re extremely passionate, trustworthy, or just really good at identifying a company’s needs. Even if you were rejected from a job, it doesn’t mean you don’t have strengths; it just means you need to find a way to sell those strengths better in your next interview.
  5. Adjust Your Attitude. Understand that attitude has an effect on your success in your job search. If you’re down on yourself, it will show through in an interview and in the writing of your cover letter. You have to believe you’re a valuable candidate if you want to sell others on the idea too. Rejection is simply a learning opportunity and reality check wrapped all up into one: you are human and there are always things you can improve on. Accept this and keep moving forward.
  6. Don’t take it personally. This is a tough one, believe me, I get that. As a writer I face rejection all the time and writing is personal in nature. But the thing is, who gets hired for a job is rarely a personal matter. It’s business, and sometimes what’s right for the business ends in rejection for you. Think of it this way: if you weren’t hired, it meant you weren’t a good fit for the company, which means you wouldn’t have enjoyed working there anyway. You’re better off continuing your job search in the hopes of finding a company you are a good fit for.

The bottom line is that rejection is hard but it’s also universal. It’s something we all contend with and it makes us stronger, better-rounded people and job candidates. You will get through it!

Sources: Career Cast, Career Thought Leaders