Turning Job Rejection into Career Strength

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We’ve all been there before, interviewing for a job that we would love or feel perfect for, only to get that dreaded email back from the employer saying they decided to go with another candidate.

When job hunting, there could be nothing worse than getting another rejection email, or worse, not even hearing back from the interviewer. Here are some steps to walk you through the rejection and move you closer to a successful interview.

Reflect On Your Application
So you interviewed for the job and you didn’t get it. Now what? You can choose to do one of two things: be angry, upset, and give up, or take this as a learning opportunity and grow from it. Look back at your application, the job description, and your interview. Identify missing qualifications or experiences that would have helped your application and think of how you could’ve improved your interview. Doing this will allow you to improve your chances of getting a job instead of dwelling on the negative.

Ask for Feedback
It’s natural to feel offended and send that rejection email or voicemail straight to the trash. But you could also choose to respond positively. Be polite and ask the employer for feedback on how you could’ve improved. If the employer is willing to provide you with this, you’ll hopefully get an idea of what you were missing that the successful candidate may have had.

Not sure how to pen this email? Here’s a sample:

Dear [NAME],

Thank you so much for your time and consideration for the role of [INSERT ROLE] within [COMPANY]. I really enjoyed meeting with you and was hoping that you could provide me with some feedback or areas of improvement that could help me in applying for future roles.

Thanks in advance.

[SIGNATURE]

Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket
This may seem like a no-brainer, but we have all been guilty of finding that amazing opportunity online, applying for it, and waiting for an interview and job offer before we continue to apply for other roles. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make when job hunting. Have alternatives and a back-up plan and don’t count solely on one opportunity. In my first job hunt after graduation, I must’ve applied to over 100 jobs before I landed a job offer. So put yourself out there and keep looking, even if you’re confident about the roles you’re applying or interviewing for.

Keep in Mind-It’s not Personal
You have no idea what the competition was like and job hunting is competitive, so don’t take it personally! Take the feedback you receive to improve and move on. You can’t change what you don’t control — you can only control your response to it. Plus, just because you may not be the right fit for that one role in that one company, doesn’t mean you won’t be right for another position down the road at the same company, or a new one elsewhere!

Figure Out Your Next Steps
After being rejected, it’s time to figure out your game plan and next steps. Where should you go from here?

  • Update Your Skills: Make a list of the qualifications you currently lack and strategically search for volunteer positions and courses that can give them to you.
  • Polish Your Resume and Cover Letter: Consider visiting your campus career centre or having a respected friend look over your cover letter and resume to make it even better.
  • Practice Interviewing: Contact a former supervisor and ask them to hear you answering top interview questions. They might have key pointers on how you can become a stronger interviewee!
Remember, not receiving a job offer isn’t the end of the world — it just means that one particular opportunity wasn’t right for you. The most important thing is to stay positive and keep moving forward!
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