This is a concept that everyone can become all too familiar with at some point in their life. Job rejection is not exclusive to your early twenties, so it’s something we should all learn to deal with, and the earlier the better. I’ve faced a lot of it myself so I wanted to put together a post on how to deal with job rejection and my personal experiences on getting over it.
Whether it’s an automated email received after the second stage of a graduate scheme application; being ghosted after being offered a job and waiting for an email to confirm; not hearing anything at all after spending hours on your CV; or a politely worded “we’ve gone with someone who has more experience” – it always hurts.
So how can we make sure that job rejection doesn’t always sting us so much? Here are some of the things I do that you could try too.
Know that it’s okay to be upset
It’s really easy to set our hearts on a particular job. We spend hours crafting the perfect CV and cover letter for it, and sometimes have to do tasks related to the role and think wow this is really fun I can’t wait to do it full-time. So it hurts when we get told no.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re feeling upset or frustrated about a job rejection. The only way to combat this really is to originally not get too invested in a role before it’s yours – but that’s hard. The further along the application process you get you convince yourself that it’s yours but until you’ve signed that contract it’s best to still think ‘ok this might not work out‘.
Everyone deals with these feelings of sadness in their own ways, whether they want to spend a few days feeling rubbish or if they try to convince themselves they didn’t want it anyway. Our response to things like job rejection will always vary.
Rejection is redirection
This quote always springs to my mind when thinking about how to deal with job rejection. We might have been given this sign that a particular job at a specific company isn’t for us (for now, who’s to say it won’t be in the future) so it’s important to take that as that it wasn’t meant to be.
Rather than seeing rejection as a failure or as a sign to quit, view it as a sign that this specific opportunity wasn’t meant to be and your path will take you somewhere else. It’s okay to be upset about it but take the time to pick yourself back up and see it as a “as one door closes another one opens” situation.
Analyse your approach
If you’re getting lots of job rejections, it’s a good idea to take some time to reflect on where you’re getting stuck. If you never or rarely hear back after submitting your CV and cover letter, that could highlight that you need to switch things up or tweak a few things on those documents.
However, don’t overanalyse the situation. Don’t sit and think about whether your wording to an interview question was what lost you the job, or if your internet connection cutting out on Zoom cost you it. It’s easy to dwell on these small things, but look at the bigger picture and strengthen your approach for the next time.
If you’re struggling at a particular stage, there is help out there. If you need help with your CV, head to Gradvance and schedule in a consultation. If you’d like to practice psychometric testing, take a look at the free tests on Graduates First. If you’re feeling really frustrated and lost, you could even consider investing in a career coach.
If you want to keep better track of which stages you often get to, you can download my job application tracker here.
I think the most frustrating thing that graduates encounter when searching for jobs is not hearing back at all or getting a generic “no”. I do get it, if a job receives over 1,000 applications (which many are at the moment due to the job seeking graduates to position ratio), then they probably can’t individually reply to every single person that didn’t get it.
For many companies, especially larger corporations that are hiring, they will use what’s called an Application Tracking System to sift through initial applications. These tools scan through documents in search of ‘keywords’, and in this case the keywords are the skills and experiences that match the job description. So if you’re applying to bigger companies and aren’t hearing back, it could be that your application isn’t tailored enough to the job description or company itself. This also means that it isn’t personal, they haven’t rejected you for you, you may just need to use more relevant keywords.
If you have been to an interview or assessment day and haven’t been given the position, write a kindly worded email expressing your gratitude for their time and to let them know that you’ll keep an eye out for future positions with them. Then ask for specific advice to see if they can offer you any tips. Whether it’s two sentences of feedback or a long paragraph, anything is helpful.
Applying for jobs will come with rejection, no matter your age or how qualified you are. At the minute, any of us that are applying for roles are up against a lot of other candidates also in our position.
Don’t worry if things aren’t working out or if you’re facing a lot of rejection. Just make sure to improve on the areas where you’re getting stuck and it’ll only be a matter of time.
If you’ve been out of a job for a while, consider starting a new hobby that could also bring in some money too. This is a great way to keep you going, and could also be something to add to your CV or talk about in an interview if you’re asked about the gap in your CV in 2020. If anyone is interested in starting a blog, for example, you can find my resources for blogging here.
Do you deal with job rejection in a different way to this? I’d love it if you could leave a comment below which may help someone else get through a tough time.
If you’re struggling with your graduates careers, make sure to check out my posts on jobs here.