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How to Deal with Rejection from a Job

If you’ve recently been rejected by an employer you really wanted to work for, it’s easy to feel sad, frustrated, or hopeless. Rejection is part of the job-hunting process, though.

In fact, on average, successful job applicants apply for 10 to 15 jobs and receive between 6 and 10 rejections before finally finding a good fit. 

While rejection is common, that doesn’t make it any less painful. Figuring out how to deal with rejection from a job is tough, but these nine tips can help.

1. Remember That It’s Not Personal

It’s normal to take rejection from a job personally — after all, it’s something that personally affects you.

Keep in mind, though, that this rejection isn’t about you as a person. It just means the hiring manager found someone who’s a better fit for this particular position.

2. Send a Thank-You Message

The last thing you might want to do after receiving a rejection from a job is to say thank you — but send that message anyway.

Let the hiring manager know that you appreciate their time and consideration. Doing so shows maturity and professionalism and leaves a positive impression. It may even cause the hiring manager to think of you the next time a position becomes available.

Here are some tips to help you write an effective thank-you message:

  • Start with gratitude: Thank the interviewer/hiring manager for their time and consideration. Mention that you appreciate them informing you of their decision.
  • Acknowledge (but don’t dwell on) disappointment: You can briefly state disappointment, but keep it professional and avoid negativity.
  • Highlight positive aspects of the interview: Mention what you enjoyed about the interview, like the company culture, team, or specific aspects of the role. This shows your genuine interest and reinforces positive associations.
  • Express interest in future opportunities: You can also politely express interest in future relevant openings at the company. Be clear that you understand they may not have anything now but want to keep them informed.
  • End graciously: Wish the hiring manager and the company well in their future endeavors. Then, sign off with a professional closing.

3. Seek Feedback

It also helps to ask for feedback on your interview, assessment performance, etc. Find out what you can improve upon so you can shine brighter next time.

While some hiring managers may be too busy to offer individualized feedback, sending a message asking for it never hurts. The worst-case scenario is that you won’t hear back from them or will be told no.

4. Take Time to Reflect

Whether you receive feedback or not, spend some time thinking about how your interview went. Reflect on what went well, where you feel you can improve, etc.

Be brutally honest with yourself during this reflection (but don’t be unnecessarily harsh, either). Make a list breaking down the highs and lows of the interview, then think of ways you can use that information during your job-hunting process.

For example, say you found out that you were rejected because another candidate had more experience. In that case, you might decide that you need to apply for more entry-level jobs that have less stringent experience requirements. 

5. Celebrate Your Strengths

Remember that you are a valuable person with a lot to offer your next employer. Spend some time celebrating your strengths and hyping yourself up. 

What are you good at? Did you make it to the final round of interviews? Did you excel at a specific portion of the interview, such as the written assessment?

Focusing on your strengths will help you recommit yourself to your search and avoid spending too much time wallowing.

6. Don’t Lose Momentum

It’s tempting to throw the towel in when you get a rejection email or phone call, but don’t let that stop you. Use the information you’ve learned to keep applying for jobs and searching for your perfect match.

Remember that it can take anywhere from 21 to 80 job applications, on average, to get just one job offer. The average corporate job opening also receives approximately 250 applications! 

7. Remember That You’re Not the Only One

Remember that you’re not alone in dealing with rejection right now. Plenty of other people — dozens or maybe even hundreds — also got the same message you did, and they’re having a similar experience to you. 

8. Refine or Broaden Your Job Search

Based on the information you’ve received, you may want to re-evaluate your job search and switch gears a bit. Refining or broadening your search can help you find a better fit and increase your chances of hearing a yes.

For example, maybe you’ve applied primarily for companies in one specific industry. Maybe you need to shift your focus and look for job ads from companies in an industry that has more openings right now.

Similarly, you may also want to consider positions adjacent to the ones you’ve been applying for. Maybe you’ve been looking exclusively for administrative assistant jobs, for instance.

Consider broadening your search to include executive assistant, virtual assistant, scheduling manager, and coordinator positions. There will likely be a lot of overlap in the skills required for all these jobs, and casting a wider net could help you finally find the perfect fit.

9. Build Your Skill Set

You may also learn through this rejection process that you need to develop some new skills. Consider signing up for a course or doing some more research into a particular topic so you can stand out more in the future.

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to go back to school full-time or take out loans to strengthen your skills. There are many free and low-cost courses available online — check out Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let rejection stop you from pursuing your dream job. More often than not, it takes time to find the right position.

Keep in mind, too, that you can increase your chances of getting hired by giving your resume a makeover. A refreshed resume will help you stand out and showcase your greatest strengths.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to updating your resume? We’re here to help.
Reach out today to learn more about our services or book a consultation.