Job search rejection hurts, and it’s hard not to take it personally. But such job application rejection is common, considering how many job seekers you might be competing against for a given position.
According to employment and recruiting website Glassdoor, corporate job offers attract about 250 resumes each, and only four to six candidates get called for an interview. And of course, only one person ultimately gets the job, meaning the remaining 249 have to continue searching.
If you’ve been turned down for a job, how can you deal with that rejection and turn your job search around? These seven tips could help:
1. Respond in a graceful way
2. Don’t take the job-search rejection personally
3. Consider asking for feedback on your candidacy
4. Review your application materials
5. Hone your job interview skills
6. Work on fine-tuning your job search
7. Reconnect with your network
You worked hard to gather your materials, apply to a job and maybe even interview at company headquarters. But then you get a call or email that they’ve gone with someone else, and you get a sinking feeling in your stomach.
Even though you might want to express anger at the hiring manager, doing so will only hurt your chances of ever getting work at that company. Instead, thank them for their time and indicate your enthusiasm about working for them in the future.
You never know — another opportunity might come along in a few months that could be the right fit.
It’s hard not to take rejection personally, especially if you’ve been applying for a long time with no success. While it’s natural to feel disappointed for a time, dwelling in negativity won’t help you.
Instead, work on developing a resilient mindset, with confidence that more opportunities will come along. By adopting a positive attitude, you can motivate yourself to keep searching for the right position.
Curveballs will come your way, and it’s up to you to adapt and carry on toward your goals. While you can’t control an employer’s decision, you can choose how you react to these challenging situations.
Getting rejected for a job is already challenging, and asking for feedback on why you were rejected can make you feel even more vulnerable. But if you’re open to it, feedback from the hiring manager could help you improve your candidacy for next time.
So after thanking them for their time, consider asking for feedback on your candidacy and why you didn’t get a job offer. Not every employer will tell you, but you could potentially get valuable insight on areas where you can improve for next time.
If you’re applying to lots of jobs and getting rejected before reaching the interview stage, it might be time to review your materials. Look over your cover letter and resume to see if there are ways you can make them more impressive.
Maybe you need to work on customizing your cover letter for each position. Or perhaps you should reformat your resume to make it look more professional. You could also incorporate keywords from each job posting so that your application makes it past any tracking software that companies might use to vet resumes.
Do some research online so you can learn about best practices for resumes and cover letters. You might also consider finding a career coach or mentor who can help you put your application package together.
If you’re getting rejected after you’ve reached the interview stage, work on sharpening your interview skills. Pull together a list of common interview questions and prepare your answers.
Come up with specific examples of past successes, mistakes or other anecdotes that you can share with your interviewer. Try practicing your answers out loud in front of the mirror or with a friend.
Pay attention to your body language, posture and other non-verbal cues that can express confidence and excitement (or lack thereof). By putting in the time, you’ll be ready when the right opportunity comes along.
If you’re applying to the same types of jobs with no luck, you might need to fine-tune your job search. Perhaps you’re pursuing jobs that require a certain level of experience or background that you lack.
If that’s the case, find out if you can take a course or complete an online training to fill in the gap. Or maybe you’re applying for work in scrappy start-ups when you’d make a better cultural fit with a large team at an established company.
Another problem could be relying too much on big job boards, such as Monster or Indeed. On huge job boards, you’re competing with thousands of other candidates, meaning your resume might not get seen.
Using more specialized job boards or recruiting services such as Vettery could make your search more successful.
Never underestimate the power of networking to help you land a job. According to LinkedIn, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking.
Reach out to those in your professional network and let them know that you’re on the hunt for a new job. You can also be proactive about building your network, whether by attending industry events, using networking apps or reaching out to alumni from your college.
Going the extra step to make a personal connection after you apply to a job could also mean the difference between getting an interview and not. If you can connect with people at your target company on LinkedIn, for instance, you might be able to strike up a conversation that leads to an interview and, ultimately, a job offer.
The right opportunity could be just around the corner
Dealing with job search rejection is tough, and it’s hard not to get discouraged or want to give up. But throwing in the towel will guarantee you won’t find employment anytime soon, and a defeatist attitude won’t get the job offers rolling in.
Try to accept that rejection is a normal, if not inevitable, part of the job search process, and it’s not a personal reflection on your skills or your value as a person. In fact, getting turned down can actually help you identify areas of improvement and boost your chances of getting hired the next time.
Reflect on how you can improve your candidacy, and keep showing interest and enthusiasm to hiring managers. By remaining persistent and determined, you’ll move closer to the great job offer you’ve been seeking.