What to Do When You are Turned Down from a Job

It happens to nearly everyone at some point in their career: You are turned down for a job. Whether it is politely, rudely or by silence, it doesn’t feel good. In fact, it feels like you have hit a brick wall after all the work you put in. The important thing is to remember that it isn’t a dead end and to keep the momentum of your job search going. Don’t let it stop you in your tracks.

Whenever we receive a job rejection, no matter how it is worded, we tend to translate it in our heads to become: “We don’t want you because you are rubbish at what you do.” That’s rarely the truth of the matter.

More often than not, what a company tells you – whether it’s “We really liked you but you don’t quite fit for this role” or “Unfortunately, we had a lot of great applicants and that made it a tough decision” – is what they really mean. If you are not given a reason for the rejection, actively ask for feedback on why it didn’t work out.

So, if you are rejected from a job, really look at what the company is saying and use it to further your job search. Don’t just slump into self-pity; consider their feedback. If you hear from more than one company that you’re not a fit for the role you applied to, maybe you need to consider to look at different types of work going forward.

If it’s because they had a really strong field to choose from, you can take heart that they considered your application to be a strong one. However, it also means there is a lot of competition out there right now, so you need to think about how you can differentiate yourself. Can you undertake some independent study to add to your skills? Can you come up with a more creative way to apply to future roles?

Lastly, when you are rejected from a role, don’t consider it the final word (at least in the long term). Reply to the interviewer or hiring manager thanking them for their time. Be courteous and friendly and, most importantly, keep the relationship open. You may not have got the job this time, but if a similar role comes up at the company again, you already know someone on the inside.

 

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