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Rebounding from rejection

When you've put a lot of work into a job application and/or job interview, it can be pretty gutting to get that rejection email or phone call. This can be particularly upsetting if you honestly thought that it was your dream job, made connections at the organisation, and had pictured yourself in the role and what your new life would look like.

Whether you are rejected after an interview or not even offered an interview - it's going to hurt. And the reality is that this is going to happen at some stage during your career progression.

So how can you deal with rejection and then move on? Here are some strategies to consider:

Understand your mindset

  • Acknowledge that you are upset and how it is making you feel. Explore these feelings and why you are feeling the way you do. The human mind dwells on negatives, making them seem a bigger deal than they are. Talk it out with a friend.

  • Be compassionate towards yourself, particularly if you did your best application and interview. The role or organisational fit might not have been good - or there might have just been someone else that fitted better. Try not to get hung up on it and take it too personally.

Be proactive

  • Rather than stew on what you did wrong in your application or interview, try to get some feedback from the organisation. This is particularly if you had an interview for the role. Try to make a time for a quick chat with the hiring manager.

  • If you do get some feedback, make sure you act on it (if it's something you can actually work on improving). Perhaps seek interview coaching if it was interview related, or up-skill in an area that was perceived as lacking.

  • Send a follow up email thanking the panel for their time and expressing your disappointment in not securing the role (in a pleasant way!). Keeping a relationship with the organisation can open up future job possibilities. (It's quite common to be rejected then called a month later with a job offer for a similar role.)

  • Connect with the people that you met at the organisation on LinkedIn.

Take control

  • This might sound a little crazy, but you can use rejection to fuel success. Check out this article from on Why you should love rejection. Harnessing rejection to fuel your passion and ultimate success? Sounds good to me.


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