You got rejected from a job, now what?
Rejection in any capacity is hard but getting a job rejection can be especially tough in a competitive job market. As a result, you might feel angry, sad, or unmotivated. Processing emotions like these don’t make for the best mindset to continue a job search. However, job rejection is all a part of the job-searching process. So, it’s important to know how to deal with job rejection and then move on to search for future career opportunities.
- Refocus and reset your emotions – Take a second to realize that you aren’t the only person this has ever happened to. A recent survey finds the average job-seeker gets between 6-10 rejections for every 10-15 jobs applied for. Depending on what the actual situation is when you receive a job rejection, it’s important to process whatever feelings you experience. Just because you receive a job rejection doesn’t mean your professional experience or qualities are bad. It means you’re either underqualified or overqualified for the job you’re applying to.
- Send a thank you email – It might not be the easiest thing to do and might sound odd following a job rejection, but you have to think long-term. How you treat people along your career journey can impact your trajectory. Sending a thank you email is a great way to build your network and learn more about improving yourself for future opportunities. This will also leave a lasting impression on someone involved in the hiring process. And who knows what openings there will be down the line you might be qualified for.
- Evaluate changes you could make – Think about how the interview process went. Ask yourself how well you answered the questions and how you presented yourself. Is presentation something you struggle with? Could you prepare better for possible interview questions before the next interview? Think of the stages you felt the most uneasy about and work on improving those. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Think of it as a learning process instead.
- Understand what you couldn’t change – There are things in your control throughout the job-searching process. However, job rejections aren’t always a direct result of something you did. Sometimes things are outside of your control. For example, company politics might play a role in your rejection if you’re an external candidate going up against internal candidates. What about hiring freezes, budget adjustments, or a worldwide pandemic? Some things are entirely outside your control, so cut yourself some slack.
- Focus on your strengths and highlight them – A job rejection doesn’t mean you don’t excel in certain areas of your career. Think about how the interview process went and what you did well. If you’re not comfortable evaluating yourself, ask for feedback. Instead of focusing on the negatives, figure out what you did well and learn how to highlight those qualities better when other job opportunities present themselves.
- Get back out there – Most importantly, restart your job search and apply again once you’ve walked yourself through the above steps. If the thought of job searching is overwhelming, look through the job application you filled out previously and see what information you can take from those to expedite future opportunities.
Job searching is hard. It can be tedious, time-consuming, and stressful. Add job rejection on top of that, and it can be exhausting. Give yourself the time to process the rejection, prepare for future opportunities, and get yourself back out there.
What did you do when you faced a job rejection? Join the conversation on LinkedIn. Also, check out What’s Networking Look Like in 2023?