This article was written by freelancer Rebekah McVey
Regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, rejection never feels good. You did everything you could to prepare for the interview but you just weren’t what they were looking for. That email ‘we regret to inform you…’ can cause an emotional avalanche if you let it.
Let’s face it, job rejections are a bit like those relationships that never materialised. It might never have been official, but the pain still feels real. You got your hopes up and maybe even fantasised about what your first day in your new job would entail. The very thought of it may have put a smile on your face.
A pang of disappointment strikes you when you realise your hard work didn’t pay off this time. Sometimes this is expected, other times it takes you by surprise. Either way, it is never a pleasant feeling. It feels like every second you spent researching the company or practising interview questions was all a waste of time.
Like those unofficial relationships, you’re back to square one again. People always say there are plenty more fish in the sea when a person breaks your heart and the same mentality applies for job hunting. There’s always a lesson to be learned and it will make you even better when you seize the next opportunity.
1. Don’t dwell on it
As Albus Dumbledore said, “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” While this was said in a completely different context, the same meaning still applies. After receiving a job rejection it’s easy to fixate over things you should or shouldn’t have said in your interview but this won’t get you anywhere.
Feeling disheartened after a job rejection is something 21 year old Jessica, a Business and PR graduate from Manchester, is all too familiar with. She had three interviews last year with the same organisation before being informed she hadn’t got the job. Knowing she was graduating from Liverpool John Moores University, there was pressure on her to find some sort of employment.
“I just kind of bounced back from it, I thought there’s no point moping around as I was under pressure to secure a job”, she said. “I felt very upset for about a week or so, but after that I just took it as ‘everything happens for a reason’ and distracted myself by searching for similar jobs.
“Telling myself that it wasn’t meant to be helped me to get over the rejection and stopped me from being angry at the organisation for their poor communication about the whole thing.”
2. Don’t give up
TMI Resourcing is a recruitment agency based in Manchester. A spokesperson for the organisation commented on the importance of persevering after a job rejection. They said: “Don’t fear rejection, but learn from it. We are hard wired to focus on the negative in life, but rejection should not be taken personally and we shouldn’t dwell on it.
“Feelings of inadequacy usually follow after rejection. Instead, ask the questions of why and look to solve them. For example, if you’re a designer and your portfolio doesn’t make you shine, use your spare time to work on it to showcase your skills in the next opportunity; and there will always be another opportunity.”
On a first date with someone new, you wouldn’t talk about every failed first date you’d ever experienced nor would you let it show that it brought you down. We don’t often welcome rejection with open arms but sooner or later we are expected to pick ourselves up and move on.
3. See the opportunity
Not only are job rejections a learning experience but they can also be a blessing in disguise even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
TMI Resourcing said: “Focus on the positive; you got so far in the process and your CV got through out of many applications. You may have had the chance to meet the CEO and have now experienced a high level interview.”
In Jessica’s case, the initial job rejection she received allowed her to land another job that she now really enjoys. Looking back on the experience she said: “I ended up in a great position which was more suited to me, I’d have never pushed for this job if it wasn’t for the rejection to the other.”
“I also learned a lot from the number of interviews I had – so now I have some tactics to take to my next one should I ever interview for another role.”
4. Be the best version of yourself
Regardless of how many job rejections you receive, this doesn’t mean you’ll never find employment. Most of us can say we’ve taken job rejections to heart at some point but see it as an opportunity to grow and improve rather than take it personally.
TMI Resourcing said: “Push for feedback post-interview and address any issues. Whether this would be from the recruiter or the interviewers themselves, ask them to provide details, positive or negative, to show you are committed to self-development. When received, take it in with an open mind. You are not alone in this feeling; it’s what you do about it that counts.
“Rejection is a part of everyday life, and although it’s very disappointing and disheartening to fail to secure the position of your dreams, candidates should dust it off their shoulders and take as much action as possible on the feedback, in order to raise the likelihood of receiving an offer for another position.”
When the next opportunity strikes, focus on being the best possible version of yourself. Apply any given feedback from the previous interview and don’t give up on that end goal. Always remember, don’t be bitter – get better.