How to Handle Job Rejection

“We regret to inform you…”

Five of the most disheartening words we’ll see or hear, and we know how it ends. Foetal position, screaming ‘WHYYYYYY??’.

No, just me?

But in all seriousness, we’ve all heard that soul-destroying ‘you’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion’ more than once. Yes, it’s all a part of the process, and yes what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but at the time it just plain hurts. How you choose to react to and use these defining moments will be, well, defining.

If you can’t learn to keep it in perspective and you continually take it as a personal hit on your personality, interview technique, or your skills and capability, you’ll fall into a vicious pity cycle that only results in low self-esteem, mounting negativity and ultimately, more and more failed attempts.

One of my favourite quotes ‘There are no mistakes in life, only lessons learned’ is something I learned to take on board – case in point when I failed to get into the Queensland Police Service at the age of 21. I was devastated, but I took on their feedback with gusto, signed up for volunteer work for personal development and 3 months later found myself on a different career path altogether, something I wouldn’t change now. .

Remember, even the best of the best have experienced failure at some point.

  • JK Rowling had her Harry Potter manuscript rejected from 12, yes TWELVE publishers before it went onto become the multi-billion dollar brand it is today.
  • Walt Disney was told he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas’ by one of the first newspaper editors he worked for.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from her television reporting job as she was deemed “not suitable for television.” and
  • Michael Jordan said “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Helpful reminders next time you find yourself facing, let’s not call it rejection, but an opportunity to learn and progress.

So ask yourself….

Have you:

  • Displayed all of your technical skills, qualities and suitability for the role using thoughtful relevant examples?
  • Asked for feedback from HR in a respectful and humble manner?
  • Acted in response to this feedback, where the feedback reflected either a flaw in your application, interview style or a skill / qualification you may be lacking?
  • Connected with other people you trust who are going through, or have gone through similar experiences to de-brief and reflect on your accountabilities in the process?
  • Gathered your thoughts, kept a positive mindset by practicing gratitude regularly (write your thoughts down!) and used it as fuel for your next challenge?
  • Acknowledged any lack of preparation on your part and vowed to be well prepared and researched next time?

Don’t lay blame, don’t beat yourself up and most importantly don’t lose sight of the big picture. If you can take the positives and continue to look forward, this is character and resilience building at its best.

So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep pushing through – your job match is just around the corner.

If you’re coming up against rejection time and time again, it might be worth partnering with a certified resume writer and career consultant. Please reach out if I can help you through your job search. bec@barclayrecruitment.com.au

By Bec O’Connor