4 Ways to Effectively Respond to Job Rejection

By Marina Krivonossova on November 23, 2020

Have you ever spent hours creating the perfect resume and cover letter for a job you were interested in, only to receive a standardized rejection letter in response a few weeks later? Or worse — did you go through all that effort, only to get completely ignored by the company? This is the harsh reality most of us endure in the current market. Qualified candidates are plentiful, jobs are scarce, and the effort employers and recruiters direct towards interacting with applicants is declining.

Take the time to research what it takes to create an impactful job application (image via pexels.com)

However, despite job rejection being a regular occurrence for many people, it can still be difficult to cope with. People beat themselves up over rejection, wondering what they could have done to be better. They start to undervalue themselves, convince themselves there must be something inherently wrong with them, and often lose faith in the process. Does this sound like you? I know that I was in that boat for the longest time until I finally learned how to properly confront job rejection. Keep reading for four ways to effectively respond to job rejection: understanding why it isn’t the end of the world, how you can approach it, and how you can channel that rejection into fuel for applying for your next opportunity.

1. Sometimes, you might be getting rejected because you were never taught to apply for jobs properly. Unfortunately, the art of creating a worthwhile job application isn’t something taught in most schools. That’s why the first thing you should ask yourself is this: “Am I utilizing the best approaches that’ll help make me a stronger applicant?” Perhaps you’ve found yourself drowning in rejection emails, wondering why things aren’t going well. That being said, you might also be sending out identical resumes and cover letters to completely different positions with extremely diverse companies. There is no “one size fits all” approach to job applications, and you might be making that mistake. Be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter specifically to each and every position you apply for. If you’re using cookie-cutter templates, you’re ruining your chances of standing out. Some applicants fail to realize this from the beginning, but once they finally do, they end up putting themselves on the path to success. Also, look into online resources that provide readers with free information on how to go about creating a worthwhile job application. The Internet is a wonderful resource, and one of the best things you can do is take advantage of what it offers!

You are so much more than your job application (image via pexels.com)

2. You were not rejected — your job application was. Just because an employer rejected your job application, doesn’t mean they rejected you as a person. You and your application are separate entities, and your application is nothing but a compilation of experiences that you believed would make you a worthwhile candidate. Keep in mind that though you may feel like you are the right person for a job, somebody else might genuinely be a better fit. It could be a matter of them having a little more experience, living a little closer to the office, graduating with a GPA that was a little higher than yours, studying a major that was a little more relevant to that specific job than you did, etc. When employers review applications, they tend to look at who you are as a candidate — not who you are as a person. A piece of paper or two can’t convey your personality, your ambitions, your aspirations, and all the great things that make you unique. Understanding this is the number one step in rejecting the idea that job rejection defines you.

3. So many little things impact the candidate review process. I have personally spoken to recruiters and employers on LinkedIn, as well as interviewers in real life, about what kind of factors might impact the job selection process. The majority of them openly admitted that it depends on a lot of things beyond the application — factors that are outside the candidate’s control. Employers, recruiters, and interviewers might be more generous and kind in their review of applications on days they’re in a good mood. They might be more willing to give a candidate a shot if they have something in common with them personally (i.e. the same alma mater, coming from the same city, working for the same company a few years back, etc.) All of these factors are beyond your control as an applicant. Yet unfortunately, they can play an integral role in the decision process. So don’t beat yourself up — your application might have just fallen into an agitated person’s hands on the wrong day, or your competition for the job was people who were closer to the recruiter.

Just because you haven’t found the job for you yet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist — you just have to keep trying (image via pexels.com)

4. There are literally thousands of job opportunities out there. In the grand scheme of things, even if you’ve applied to hundreds of jobs and been rejected by all of them, there’s still an insane amount of job opportunities out there for you. The odds may have not been in your favor previously, but every next job application you send out could be the one to change your life for the better. When you’re surrounded by a sea of rejections, it only takes one “yes” to show you that your efforts have paid off. And if you stop trying — if you stop putting yourself out there, taking risks, working to prove that you’re a worthwhile candidate — you’ll never achieve success.

I used to be embarrassed to admit how many job applications I sent out before securing each and every one of my work positions. I used to be ashamed of the fact that my first job applications didn’t even include cover letters, let alone personalized ones. I used to hide from my friends and family the number of rejection emails that were flooding my inbox on a regular basis. But now, I embrace rejection. Every rejection, every ignored application, every failed interview — it all brought me closer to securing a worthwhile position that helped me progress professionally.

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