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Three Smart Ways to Respond to a Rejection


Being turned down for a job opportunity can sting on multiple levels; it can feel like a personal rejection of your hard earned credentials, a dismissal of the effort you invested in your application, and even an indictment of your skills. Bouncing back from a “no” can be hard, since the experience may undercut the confidence it takes to reach out to employers, but you owe it to yourself to shake off the disappointment and self-doubt and keep moving forward. Here are a few moves that can help.

Get some Perspective

First, ask yourself when the rejection occurred. If you were dismissed at the resume stage (and were never called in for an interview), by no means should you take this personally. In the internet age, a single job posted online can attract dozens or even hundreds of resumes in one day. Most of the time, reviewers don’t have time to read all of these resumes and interview all of these candidates. Chances are, you’re as qualified as anyone else…But the math just wasn’t working in your favor this time. Onward.

After the Interview

If your rejection took place after at least one round of personal interviews, this is a different story. In this case, there may actually be a chance that something went wrong or you were simply bested by someone who had a few more credentials to offer. If you have the ability to let this go, by all means, do so. But if you just can’t sleep and you can’t put this matter to rest, politely contact the employers and ask for feedback. Don’t expect a response, but realize there’s no harm in asking.

Never Wait by the Phone

And we mean never. Even if you feel like your target position is a lock, and it’s perfectly perfect for you in every way, don’t freeze your job search while you wait to hear back from these employers. The more offers you collect, the more leverage you’ll have at the negotiating table. And as long as you stay in motion and keep submitting, sending, reaching out, arranging informational interviews, gathering leads, and moving forward, an individual rejection won’t hurt as much. Keep plenty of irons in the fire and never stop moving.

Above all, be kind to yourself. Rejection is never fun. It happens to almost every single person who steps onto the job market, but this fact may not do much to ease the blister a “no” can leave on your self-confidence. Just keep in mind that blisters heal, this moment will pass, and when you land the job that’s right for you, you’ll never look back at this one again. For more career development tips, contact the job search team at SCP.


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