May 22, 2024


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6 Ways to Deal With Job Rejection | On Careers

4 min read
6 Ways to Deal With Job Rejection | On Careers

In today’s job market, job candidates and interviewees need to be prepared for rejection when applying for positions.

Image of businesswoman looking thoughtful while working on a laptop in office.

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“Most of the time it seems impossible to find a job,” says Caroline Reidy, managing director of The HR Suite. “It can be quite an overwhelming process, and if you are getting rejection emails, or worse, being ghosted, it can very easily start to feel like you are never going to get a position.”

Reidy says that even if you do get an interview, many companies now require multiple rounds, which can make the whole process even more difficult.

The hardest thing about constant job rejections is the feeling of powerlessness that may keep expanding, says Peter Dudley, executive and life coach with Gray Bear Coaching LLC. “You work hard to show your best self, and then time and again, they pick someone else even when you may be overqualified for the job.”

Dudley also says that today’s job market is deceptive. With a few clicks, you can find job listings anywhere around the globe, but so can candidates anywhere in the world. “The job you want is most likely flooded with hundreds – if not thousands – of applications, so the hiring manager may never even see yours,” he says. “More applications means more rejections.”

In light of this environment, job seekers can take proactive steps to deal with job rejection. “It really is just a case of pushing through,” Reidy says.

Here are six ways to manage repeatedly hearing “no” from employers without going under. These strategies can help you not only stop being discouraged by job rejection but also bounce back from job rejection more quickly.

Don’t Take It Personally

It may be hard not to take rejection personally, but that’s what you have to do to keep going,” Dudley says.

“To the company, it’s not personal at all,” Dudley says. “But to the applicant, it doesn’t get more personal.”

Because of this, let yourself feel the sting for a moment, then let it go. He says, “It’s impossible to move forward if you’re dragging the weight of the last rejection along with you.”

Let Yourself Feel Down

It’s okay if rejection makes you feel deflated and exhausted with the whole process, Reidy says. “Understand that sadness is a normal and healthy emotion and an understandable reaction to rejection,” she says.

Instead of losing confidence or becoming self-destructive, Reidy advises rejected candidates to consider expressing their feelings. “Our self-esteem is harmed by rejection and having a good cry can help you feel better,” she says.

Treat Yourself to Something Uplifting

Balance out the bad news of not receiving a job offer with a positive experience to keep you moving forward, Reidy says. “Following each rejection, treat yourself to a night out or something nice to eat,” Reidy says. “It’s OK to sit in your sadness, but it’s important to pick yourself back up and try again and again.”

Seek Some Motivation in Each Rejection

On a related note, finding ways to stay motivated when dealing with job rejection can also help. As an example, Dudley says that he knows writers who would keep every rejection they received like a badge of honor that would spur them to not give up.

“This can motivate people to keep going, to try harder or just to minimize the pain of the most recent rejection by seeing it as just one more in the pile,” he says.

Create Something or Engage in Play

One of the best ways to regain your sense of agency is to create something, Dudley says. He says that as a writer, working on a poem or story reconnects him to his personal power. “For some, it’s working with their hands or exercising or playing music,” he says. “For others, it’s volunteering in their community. This reminds you that you’re not just your resume and job. There’s a lot more to you that matters.”

Keep Track of Your Daily Accomplishments

As a final strategy to deal with job rejection, Dudley suggests writing down your accomplishments each day. He does this himself as a daily practice because it helps him stay focused during the down times. “I keep a document open on my computer all day long and record both the big things and the little things,” he says. “It reminds me that things go in cycles. I have had incredibly productive days, and I will have them again.”


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