Job Search Rejection: How to Bounce Back and Move Forward

job search rejectionAfter weeks of searching for job openings, sending your resume to multiple companies, and experiencing job search rejection — you finally get asked to interview for what could be your dream job.

“This could be THE ONE,” you say to yourself.

You arrive on time, dressed smartly, with resume in hand ready to impress the hiring manager. Once the interview is over, you pat yourself on the back to reassure yourself that it went well. Then, as the endless hours and days go by, dread starts to set in until one day you receive the bad news that you didn’t get the job.

We regret to inform you that you didn’t get the job. The words sting as you read the rejection email, you hit delete and begin another round of self-pity and frustration. Maybe a hot fudge sundae or a few drinks with friends will make you feel better? Or maybe their well-intended questions about how the job search is going is apt to make you feel more rejected and worthless?

Recently Jobscan polled our members about their experience with job search rejection and what they learned from this.

Get Back Out There, Immediately

The longer you hang your head in shame, the harder it will be to make your goals a reality. That’s what Eugean Francisco said about his experience of being rejected for a teaching job he spent months pursuing. He was sure he could get any teaching job he wanted. However, once he started interviewing with the handful of schools in his state that had available positions in his area of expertise (Art), he quickly found out this was not the case.

Janet said, “Accept that it’s a numbers game.  It’s easier not to take the results personal, and realize it’s just a matter of going on enough interviews.  I’m told it takes approximately 6 interviews.”

When one private school offered him a teaching job, he was overjoyed. But then, just days before he was to start work, he received a phone call from the dean of the school who said enrollment was low so they had to withdraw the offer of employment. This sent Francisco into a tailspin of depression that lasted much of that summer. He says, “instead of allowing the rejection to take me down to that level, I should have just let things go and focus on finding the next opportunity. Instead, I internalized things and this set my career back by months.”

Find Some Support 

A job search is never something you want to do on your own. Not having a job is considered to be one of the more difficult experiences in life. According to Psychology Today, periods of unemployment can take their toll on a person and can cause physical as well as mental turmoil. It’s common to experience low self-worth, feelings of failure, and hopelessness after job search rejection. This can be especially true for men who are conditioned by society to be the primary breadwinners.

Joe said, “If you apply to a job online, your chances of being selected for an interview are much lower than if you ask a friend or former colleague at the company to ask someone in HR to look at your application.”

It’s critical to seek support from a network of friends, family, and other job seekers to help maintain clarity and well-being during a job search and any subsequent rejections that may occur. Join a career network and start gaining more insight about companies you apply to. Finding a good career coach can help increase confidence levels. Even working with a resume writer or job placement service can help restore previous feelings of hopefulness.

Alex told us, “Don’t get discouraged if you get denied for a position. Take time for yourself, be around friends and family, and get proper sleep/exercise!”

Use Job Search Rejection as a Learning Opportunity 

Sure you didn’t get the job this time. But that is not to say that there isn’t a valuable lesson to be learned. Consider the information that is on your resume and cover letter: are they representing your complete value proposition? Is the resume format outdated? Did you leave something out when speaking with the recruiter? Do what 99% of job seekers don’t do and reach out to the person who interviewed you to gather some feedback.

Send a professional email message or handwritten note to thank the hiring manager for taking the time. Also ask them to keep you in mind for future career openings.

Tess, a staffing manager with Adecco International shared how when one candidate took the time to send a professional thank you card, even after getting turned down for a job he wanted, she saved on her bulletin board for a few weeks. Later, this simple gesture impressed her so much that it reminded her to call the candidate back for a more suitable job that came in. She was also able to offer critical feedback so that the candidate succeeded in landing the job.

Maria advised, “When I didn’t have any job offer after a long time I started remembering past small victories related to work! That gave me confidence and strength to continue.”

Keep Your Chin Up

Lastly, and most critical — take heart that people experience job search rejection often while seeking jobs they want. It’s just a matter of chance sometimes, and there are only so many jobs to go around for good people. Never internalize this rejection or think that you are not good enough. Just keep moving forward and become even more determined to find the job that’s meant for you.

Wilson said, “Be disciplined and don’t stop believing that you can find a job you really want and love.”


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jobscan Blog!





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