Never underestimate the influence of job application rejections

Written by Kathryn Hall


The journey to finding your dream career may not be a smooth affair and it is hard not to take it personally or feel discouraged when you are hoping for a ‘yes’ but hear ‘no’, especially when you have spent a long time preparing your application or for an interview.  

Rejection can often strike at the very core of your confidence and be viewed as a sign of failure, a feeling that many of my clients and myself have experienced, particularly as our world and the way that we live, work and play has changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Image by 은주 송 from Pixabay

Whilst it is perfectly acceptable and understandable to wallow for a minute or two you should use this as an opportunity to deconstruct your failures and extract all of the learning points thereby creating stepping stones to build on your core strengths, address development points and ultimately find a job that suits you best. 

As Aristotle stated “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” and with the right mindset you can turn rejection into a career development opportunity, keep your spirits up and provide you with SMART solutions for handling future applications.

The tips below may assist you in how can you overcome this and move things forward.

  • Ask for detailed feedback – a great way to learn is to request feedback from the recruiter.  Be humble not defensive when you speak to them.  Accept the feedback and learn from it.  You want the recruiter to remember you positively and reach out to you if another job opportunity comes up in the future that fits your skills, experience and abilities.
  • Review and reflect – if you can get feedback from the recruiters use this and your thoughts to truly reflect on why you weren’t successful, did you really give those awesome concrete examples during an interview? Can a recruiter see in your CV how you would add value to an organisation?.  If you find yourself constantly downplaying yourself take a step back and truly think about what makes you different and what you have achieve in your career so far? Ask your friends, family and network contacts for feedback too on what makes you different?
  • Identify learnings and build a personal development plan – what do you need to do differently?  What are your development needs? Can these be easily overcome? What can you do to fix any gaps in your performance so that they don’t occur next time?
  • Be philosophical – sometimes things are out of our control, other candidates might have better suited the needs of the organisation.  Remember that it isn’t just you that got rejected, the majority of people who applied for the role also didn’t get it. 
  • Be prepared to refine or change the direction of your career search – take a look at other similar roles in different industries or a change of career if the roles available don’t meet your personal needs and circumstances.
  • Build resilience – you need to try to develop a thick skin and recognise that things happen for a reason and that it might take time to find and secure your dream job.  Overcoming obstacles along the way will increase your chances of landing the right role, learn from it and get ready for the next role.

Remember, whilst a job rejection might seem like the end of the world, never let your inner driving force down, keep pushing yourself, learn more about yourself and improve yourself for the future. 

Mahatma Gandhi wisely said “The future depends on what you do today.” — Your dreams can and will come true, it might take you a while, but you will eventually get there if you plan the steps to achieve.

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