How to Leverage Job Rejection in Your Favor

Photo from StartupInstitute.com

Photo from StartupInstitute.com

There’s a well-known Japanese proverb that says, 

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

Job rejection is tough and, in the midst of it all, staying positive can be hard. But, rejection happens. It is part of the process. And, how you deal with job rejection speaks volumes about who you are and what you value as a professional. Thus, it’s important to be thoughtful about how you choose to gather yourself and move.

Job rejection can come down to a whole host of things: from business politics, to budget, and even to something as arbitrary as “gut feeling.”

The first thing you need to remember is, it’s not personal. The person doing the hiring has a responsibility to their company to hire the person they feel not only has the right technical skills and experience to fill the role, but is a good cultural fit for the company as well. If you feel you excelled in your interview and still weren’t offered the job, then that position in that company isn’t right for you at this time. Instead turn this into a learning opportunity. Use these five tips on dealing with job rejection to help you stay positive and position yourself for a win the next time around:

Open yourself up for honest feedback:

Follow up with the interviewer thanking them for the experience, and asking for feedback. This shows you have the ability to conduct yourself with dignity and that you’re focused on self-improvement; admirable qualities in an applicant. Reiterate your passion for the mission and culture. It’s possible that you were a close second, and reaffirming your enthusiasm following a rejection will showcase emotional intelligence. Should a similar position in the company become available, maybe it’s your name they will think of for filling it. A “no” today doesn’t mean it’s a “no” in the future.

Work the network:

If the company and position firmly align with your career goals, then network the interviewer and anyone you were introduced to during the interview process. It’s likely they know other people in the industry who may be hiring. LinkedIn is a great place to start—respond positively to the rejection, and there may be someone in their network they could recommend you to.

Ask yourself questions:

Reflect on the experience to extrapolate lessons for future interviews. What did you do well? What would you like to have done differently? What did you learn about the interview process? By asking questions, we focus on learning and growth and consequently move forward.

Always have a back-up plan:

Make sure you always have a back-up plan. Even if the job you applied for is your dream job and you can’t imagine working anywhere else, it’s important to have multiple applications in process to give yourself options, should your dream job not work out. These options will give you something to fall back on, and keep you focussed on job hunting.

Remind yourself of what you’re good at:

Finally, in the face of adversity, it’s important to remind yourself of what you’re good at. Job rejections don’t define you. Think about times you’ve both met, and exceeded expectations in the past. Use these anecdotes in your next interview to demonstrate examples of strength and success. These can be anything from leading a successful project, to remaining resilient in a tough job market.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STARTUP INSTITUTE & MONIQUE LEES

Monique Lees. 

Startup Institute provides immersive education for the innovation economy. Their full-time and RampUp programs help individuals toStartup-Institute-Global-Logobuild the skills, mindset, and network to get jobs and thrive at startups.