How to deal with job rejection – and move on to greater success


Job hunting can feel like a full-time job, from perusing job boards and sending out resumes to writing countless cover letters and going for interviews. But hearing “no” at the end of it all can be crushing. So what can you do to turn this negative event into a positive outcome?




Adopt a positive mindset

First take the time to accept the rejection and rebuild your confidence to try again. But be careful to avoid using this as an excuse to be stuck in a rut. Stewing in negative emotions risks prolonging this recovery period, which may cause you to lose momentum and motivation.

It’s important to keep things in perspective after receiving a rejection. Although it’s a hard fact to swallow, the reality is that you’re not going to get an offer for every job you apply for – no one does! But this isn’t a bad thing.

Use the learning to help you prepare for your next interview. Also use this chance to pinpoint your strengths and apply for positions that you’re better suited for. The upside is that you’re now open to other, possibly better, opportunities. 

Assess and re-evaluate 

Reflection is key: Think about what went well during your interview, what didn’t and why. Were you truly qualified for the role? Did your passion for the job come across? Also reflect the questions posed by the interviewer and how you answered them. How can your responses be improved?

Remember that the main objective of an interview is for the interviewer to discover the person behind the resume. Did you speak up with confidence and ask insightful questions? Were you confident and able to communicate what you could bring to the role?  

Even beyond the interview itself, asking hiring managers and recruitment consultants for feedback is a good learning experience. Although these conversations may initially be uncomfortable, getting honest, specific feedback about why you weren’t offered the job will go a long way to preparing you for future application processes.

Getting back on track

When you’re ready to restart the job-hunting process, maximise your job search activity such that when one rejection occurs, you have other opportunities waiting in line. This also softens the blow of disappointment and frustration.

Pursuing multiple possibilities simultaneously will help you figure out the kind of role that you really want and are best suited for. Besides being time-efficient, it’s good sense to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket and being overly fixated on one option.

It’s also time to put into practice what you’ve learnt from previous rejection experiences, such as applying for roles you’re best qualified for and impressing the interviewer with your confidence.

Finally, remember that rejection is temporary. Going through the ups and downs of the job search process will help you become more resilient, adaptable and experienced as well as position you as a stronger and more self-aware candidate in the future. 

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