Job searching can be tough. Especially when you’ve been looking for a long time without much success.
So when you’re in this position, how should you deal with job rejections?
Karin Singh outlines her thoughts on how to deal with job rejections in a guest post (see Guest Authors if you would like to write a guest post).
Karin’s biography can be found at the end of the article.
Note: Additional comments have been added by the Job Search Bible. They always start with ‘JSB’ and can be found in square brackets [like this].
Being rejected is just a part of life, many people get rejected throughout their lives, not just when it comes to career-related matters.
The important thing to consider is to learn from past experiences and to find out what could be done differently next time in order to get accepted.
There are two situations in which you might receive job rejections:
- After sending your application (pre-interview stage) and therefore not get invited for an interview;
- After going to a job interview but then not getting the desired job.
Case 1: You send your resume / CV and cover letter but you don’t get any responses
If you are trying to apply for different roles and all you get back are job rejections don’t feel disappointed. The reason for that could be that you might have to improve your cover letter and your resume / CV.
It’s a sign that it does not get the attention that it deserves, you didn’t promote yourself as effectively as you could have, or simply other candidates had better skills, qualifications, experiences or connections.
One should ask themselves certain questions when applying for the next job:
Do I have the experience, skills, and personal specifications that the company is looking for?
If there is something that you are not able to offer that the company is asking for, you should consider other jobs and apply only for those where you strongly match the profile.
There are lots of other candidates who will meet all the necessary requirements, your chances would be low.
Don’t waste your time or the interviewer’s time.
[JSB: Your job search will be much more efficient and ultimately successful if you focus your efforts on making strong applications for a smaller number of roles, rather than low quality applications (i.e. generic applications) for a greater number of roles.]
Was I able to highlight in my cover letter and resume / CV what would make me a great candidate?
If in your cover letter all you wrote was “Please find attached my resume / CV with all the relevant details” then don’t be surprised that you did not hear anything from the company.
They might have not even looked at your resume / CV because they thought this is just one out of many, there is nothing special about this candidate.
- The one resume / CV mistake that gets noticed immediately by employers
- Job search tips that really work
- Resume format – everything you need to know
Case 2: Your application got accepted, you went to the interview, but you did not get the job
You receive a letter saying:
“We are sorry to inform you that you were not successful on this occasion. We wish you all the best for your career.”
In that case you also need to think about what you did well but also what you could have done differently. You need to be able to assess yourself and find out where you could have done better.
Again you should ask yourself some questions, such as:
- Did I turn up on time?
- Was I friendly to everyone in the interview / company?
- How was my body language? Did I feel relaxed and confident or nervous and stressed?
- How well did I answer the interviewer’s questions?
- Was I able to sell myself the best I could at every stage during the interview?
- What questions did I ask the interviewer?
- What impression did I leave at the end of the interview?
- Did it look as if I would fit well in the company’s culture?
[JSB: This is a useful exercise to perform even if you were successful in an interview, but have another round of interviews to come. This self-assessment will help you understand how you can improve your performance for your second interview.]
So what should you do?
It might be highly unlikely that if you ring them up and ask them for the real reason of your rejection, that they would tell you. It would be very beneficial for the job seeker because they could learn from it, but unfortunately in real life it often doesn’t happen like this.
However, no matter whether you face scenario one or two (as described above) it’s important not to take it personally, but to consider that in most of the cases it is about a job.
Sometimes you might have the same skills, experiences and qualifications like any other candidate but just might not fit in the team or the corporate image somehow.
Or the candidate who got the job had connections with the hiring manager or with someone else from the management team.
Considering that nowadays the job market is very tough and competitive a candidate has to really bring something of real value to the company in order to be selected.
No matter how many job rejections you might have to deal with, it is important to remain confident at all times and not feel pity for yourself, that will hardly help you in your job search in the future.
My personal experience always taught me that even job rejections can still have something positive to be gained from.
I consider job rejections often as a gift because I learned to see them as opportunities to find something better.
No matter how disappointed you are when again one of these rejection letters lands into your letter or email box, start seeing it as a sign that something better, more suitable and more satisfying might be waiting for you at another company.
[JSB: Another good piece of advice is to turn a job rejection into an opportunity within the same company. If a company has gone to the time and trouble of interviewing you, perhaps multiple times, they have already invested in you.
They may also really like you, it’s just there was someone slightly better for this role than you.
Always ask if there are other suitable opportunities in the company that would suit your profile. After all, you’re already ‘in’ with the company so you’re starting out in a much better position than if you were applying cold.]
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a public speaker, Kindle eBook author and an eLearning course instructor at Udemy (teaching German for Travelers and Social Media Etiquette).
She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and 17 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India. She loves to create online content in all its different forms.