4 Ways To Cope With Job Search Rejection

4 Ways To Cope With Job Search Rejection

I’m often asked how best to cope with frequent rejection when searching for a job. My advice is always to not take the rejection personally – instead see what you can learn from the experience and don’t give up.
Harry Potter and the Philoshopher’s Stone was rejected by the first dozen publishing houses to which it was submitted. Let J.K. Rowling be an example to you of how continued enthusiasm can propel you to success. She never lost the desire and belief that she had in her ability, and as a result she went on to become recognised around the world and is worth an estimated $1 billion.

1. Don’t take it personally

Consider the factors that lead to your rejection. Perhaps you and the position you sought simply didn’t match up, or maybe a potential employer felt you lacked one or two of the key skills, or a measure of experience.
This doesn’t mean that you ignore the possibility that your attitude or actions might need some improvement. However, it does mean that you should focus on the changes you can make while accepting the circumstances that you can’t.
If you are struggling to make sense of continued rejection in your search for jobs then consult a reliable family member or friend. Talk to people you trust to be insightful and honest. As the saying goes: “Your best friend isn’t the one who always agrees with you”.

2. The importance of a measured response

It’s useful to consider the difference between reacting and responding to a situation. ‘Reacting’ is the term I use to describe an irrational and hasty attitude to rejection, whilst ‘responding’ signifies a more measured and positive approach.
When reacting to rejection, it’s easy to apportion blame to others, to rail against the world and its failure to act on your behalf. This gets you nowhere, and indeed damages your attitude for future occasions.
I always suggest people should respond to rejection– to consider what has happened and then work to improve their chances on subsequent occasions. This also helps you to keep a positive focus, especially if more than one rejection has to be faced.
One warning – I’m finding increasing occasions where someone has responded to rejection with negative postings about that potential employer on social media. This can easily come back to haunt you in the future, so keep such thoughts to yourself! This is one of several useful points you can find on blog about response following interview : “The Best And Worst Things You Can Do Following Your Interview”.

3. Seek useful feedback

Considering the situation behind any rejection helps you to recognise and move past those circumstances that were beyond your control. These might include timing, budgets, altered circumstances, changing needs, and the like. While for legal and other reasons your request may be declined, it is worth asking for some feedback so that you can reflect and then improve upon the weaknesses that that employer has identified.
Upon being notified that your application for a job has been unsuccessful, get in contact with either your recruiter and/or the employer. A well-structured email with a few choice questions will be most likely to garner a constructive response.
When seeking feedback, remember candid advice may at times be hard to take, but more often than not it can help you resolve any issues which you have previously failed to pinpoint.
Resist the temptation to overwhelm the recruiter or employer with messages and try not to come across as frustrated or argumentative. It’s a small world and you may encounter that person or company again – therefore you need to build as many strong professional relationships as possible at this point.  Make sure you thank the person providing feedback, indicate that you will take their comments on board and ask to be considered for any relevant opportunities in the future.

4. Refocus

After assessing the reasons for your rejection, it’s important to refocus your energy onto the next steps of your job search.
Failure to properly refresh your attitude after rejection will only hamper your chances of securing the perfect role for you, or as Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. Don’t handicap yourself by losing focus of the end goal.
It’s also worth seeking out training and volunteering opportunities, particularly for those key skills where your self-analysis tells you that you can build up a greater skill level. Both of these actions help you build a positive self-appreciation of what you can do.
Return to your job search reinvigorated and refocused and then take the time to make sure you apply for the right jobs. Some people will try for anything, even where seriously under-qualified. This is one way in which rejections quickly mount up.

A final thought

Very few people go far in life without feeling the ache of rejection; it is how you cope with it that helps decide how well you eventually succeed. Don’t over think every single rejection you encounter. React to rejection in a measured and proactive manner, and you will give yourself the best chance of achieving personal growth and obtaining that ideal job.
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Susie Timlin
Chief Operating Officer, UK Government Investments
Susie is Chief Operating Officer (COO) at UK Government Investments (UKGI). UKGI’s purpose is to be the UK government’s centre of excellence in corporate finance and corporate governance, working across government on some of its most interesting and complex commercial tasks.
In her role as COO, Susie works to ensure that the business has effective operational management, optimal organisational design, and that UKGI are able to hire, develop, manage and remunerate their people in the best way possible.
Prior to joining UKGI, Susie was Global Director for People and Culture at Hays Talent Solutions.