Dealing with Rejection in Your Job Hunt

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published On: 29 Jan 2018

Image Courtesy of Flickr User Caro Wallis

One inevitable feature of every job hunt is rejection. For every person that gets hired for a role, dozens face refusal.

However, it’s important not to get discouraged when dealing with rejection. You have to keep looking for that ray of hope, and know that the perfect role is still waiting for you.

So when rejection rears its ugly head, follow these steps to keep yourself motivated.

Focus on the positives

Negative thinking leads to negative results. The first thing you should do after a rejection is consider what you did right, not what you did wrong. Make a list of what went well and what you learned from the experience.

When you apply for the next role, use that list as a guide and see what else you can add to it this time around.

Don’t take it personally

There are lots of reasons why an employer chooses not to hire someone, and many of them are completely out of the candidate’s control. The company may hire internally or choose someone recommended personally. Maybe another candidate just had the exact experience or specific skill that they were after.

Remember: blaming yourself for a rejection only hurts you, not the employer. The best way to prove that they made the wrong decision is to keep moving forward and apply for more roles.

Request feedback

Regardless of how far you got in the application process, you should ask for feedback if you’re unsuccessful. There is always a chance that you’ll get a form letter by way of response, but it’s still worth asking, especially if you think you’ll have a chance to apply to work for the same company in the future.

If you do get feedback, take it gracefully. This is not an opportunity to argue yourself into the role. It’s an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and start thinking about how you will improve in the future.

Try a new approach

If you find your current job search method isn’t working, it may be time to try something new. This can mean looking on a different job board, redoing your CV, or just taking more time to prepare for your next interview. If you’re not sure what to change, look at some of our Careers Advice articles for helpful tips.

Rethink the breadth of your search

Many job hunters fall into the trap of either thinking they’re qualified for everything – or worse, not applying to things that they would actually be perfect for.

If your job hunt is too broad, maybe try narrowing it down; using a niche job board is a great way to refocus your search. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to look at roles on the edges of your specialism that might lead back to more relevant opportunities in future.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Even if you think you’ve found the perfect the role, and even if you’re prepping to interview for it, you don’t want to lose momentum with your job search. You never know when you might find something, and you shouldn’t wait to hear back about one role before applying for the next.

Get out of the house

Searching for a new job can be lonely and often takes as much time and effort as doing an actual job. Try to find ways to get out of the house and socialise. Volunteering is a great way to do this, especially if you’re unemployed during your search. It can add valuable experience to your CV and shows your determination to work in a particular profession.

Stay motivated

This can be the hardest item on the list, but it’s also the most important. Remaining optimistic in the face of rejection is tough, but essential for future success. Remind yourself that you’ve come this far, and now you’ll have even more experience to use when the next opportunity rolls around.

Image: Caro Wallis