How to handle job rejection - and move on to greater success

employer being turned down for a job at an interview

Being turned down for a job can be devastating. Chances are you’ve put in a lot of time and effort into the job process, from consulting different job boards on the look-out for that great new opportunity, to sending out your cv, writing countless cover letters tailored for each job and finally getting to present yourself. Hearing “no” at the end of all this work can severely lower your confidence and hinder your determination to keep on looking for a job.

Follow our three tips to turn this negative event into a positive outcome and kick your job search back into gear.

1. Adopt a positive mind-set

It’s easy to take a rejection personally and blame yourself, your resume or even your personality. Try not to read too much into your rejection, there are many factors at play behind each hiring decision. You could drive yourself crazy replaying the scene over and over again, trying to find a reason why you were rejected. But stewing in negative emotions can cause you to lose momentum and motivation.

It’s important to keep things in perspective. The reality is that you’re not going to get an offer for every job you apply for – no one does!

Use each interview as a learning opportunity to help you prepare for the next one. The upside is that you’re now open to other, possibly better, opportunities. 

2. Learn from your experiences

Think about what went well during your interview, what didn’t and why. But be careful not to focus too much on the negative, which may cause you to lose momentum and motivation. Focus instead on learning what your strengths are and use this to identify new opportunities that you are perhaps better suited for.

The main objective of an interview is for the interviewer to discover the person behind the resume. Remember to communicate what you could bring to the role, and don’t be afraid to ask hiring managers or recruitment consultants how you can improve for the future. Although this may initially be uncomfortable, by getting honest, constructive feedback, you’ll be able to position yourself stronger in future job processes.

3. Keep your job search moving!

Candidates often put their job search on hold while waiting to hear if they have landed a job. However, pursuing multiple possibilities simultaneously will help 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.

If you need to restart job hunting, it’s important to work hard at keeping your morale and motivation levels up. Maximise your job search activity so that when one rejection occurs, you have other opportunities waiting in line. Remember to approach each new process with a fresh perspective and a positive attitude. Tailor your CV to best match a new job and fully research and prepare for a new interview.

More advice:

Preparation is the key to any successful job interview. Follow our best interview tips to best prepare for your next interview. 

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