How to Get over Getting Rejected from a Job

Four Parts:Managing Negative EmotionsDealing with the Stress of RejectionSeeking Advice to Make ImprovementsMaking Yourself Into the Ideal Candidate

Getting rejected can leave you feeling less confident and wounded. Getting rejected multiple times while searching for a job can even make you feel like giving up. However, what you have to do is face your emotions head-on and get back to the job hunt. You can do this by thinking positively, managing stress, seeking feedback, and doing your homework so that you can present yourself in the best possible light. Scroll down to Step 1 for more information.

Part 1
Managing Negative Emotions

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    Acknowledge your emotions. Getting rejected can be a real blow to the spirit. Bottling your feelings up can make the rejection even worse. Unacknowledged feelings have a tendency to fester and make you feel even more low, even if just subconsciously. Admit to yourself that you are feeling disappointed, upset, and less confident.[1]
    • By admitting those feelings, you can start on the path to feeling more like yourself again.
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    Talk to a friend or family member about what you are going through. Sometimes voicing your thoughts and feelings about something you have experienced is all you really need to feel better. Talking to someone you trust about your feelings concerning being rejected during your job search can help you to air out your emotions and come up with a game plan for how to take what you are feeling and make improvements to your life.
    • Getting rejected can really bog you down and make you forget that there are tons of opportunities out there just waiting for you to seize them. Friends and family members are great sources of positive energy. They can help to remind you that you are fantastic and that things will work down in the end.
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    Distract yourself from dwelling on your rejection. Whether you get rejected once or multiple times during your job search, you are more than likely going to feel some negative emotions.[2] Don’t let these feelings bog you down because that will only make your job search harder. Instead, do things you love to get your mind off of the rejection. Put your energy towards a project you’ve been meaning to work on, or exercise to clear your head.
    • When you start feeling down, watch a great movie, read a book, or call up a friend to distract yourself from the stress and sadness that comes along with rejection during a job search.
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    Think positively. Do not let being rejected completely govern your perception of the world. It is very important to be positive in the face of rejection because that rejection could affect your self-confidence and may make you feel depressed. It is important to remember that you are a strong, qualified individual who will most certainly land a different job in the future.
    • Remind yourself that you are capable of achieving your dreams so long as you work hard to attain them.
    • Hang inspiring and motivating quotes in places where they can remind you that you are strong and that rejections should not shake your self-confidence.
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    Read biographies and autobiographies that will motivate you. If you are struggling to overcome your fear of being rejected again, read some motivational books about people who have gone through the same thing you are going through and have come out on top. These books serve as a good reminder that everyone gets rejected at least once in their life, and they have still gone on to do great things. So can you.
    • Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs, Sigmund Freud are just some of many people who have had their lives filled with rejections. For example, Thomas Edison made 1000 attempts at creating the light bulb before he finally got it right—but he never termed those 1000 previous attempts as failures.[3]
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    Speak to a therapist as a last resort if you are having a hard time processing your emotions. If you want to have a more in-depth conversation about what you are going through, or you are concerned you might be becoming depressed, you should talk to a therapist. Professionals like therapists and school counselors can help you sort through the emotions that you are feeling. It is especially important to talk to a therapist if you are experiencing feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or self-pity.
    • Therapists can also give you tools to help you cope with any future rejections or criticism that you experience.

Part 2
Dealing with the Stress of Rejection

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    Manage the stress caused by getting rejected. Getting rejected during a job search, particularly if you have been unemployed for awhile, can be really stressful. Because of this, it is important to remember to breathe and decompress when you start feeling nervous or panicked.
    • Stress can distract you from doing things that can help you find a job—like practicing your interviewing skills or editing your resume. Its important to overcome feelings of stress so that you can be more productive.
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    Get plenty of exercise. Not only will exercising get your mind off of your job hunt (and subsequent rejection), it will also release endorphins that will make you feel happy and more relaxed. Endorphins are chemicals that your brain puts out when you exercise that make you feel happy. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week to boost your endorphins during this stressful time.[4]
    • Sometimes just going on a walk can clear your head and help you to cope with feelings of stress and sadness created by rejection.
    • Try other physical activities like running, biking, swimming, hiking, rock climbing, and playing a group sport like soccer.
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    Spend some time doing yoga. There are some postures, which are referred to as asanas, in yoga that can actually help you to feel more confident and calm (though really, most yoga poses will leave you feeling great). Go to a yoga class and watch out for confidence-boosting poses like[5]:
    • Warrior I.
    • Warrior III.
    • Supported Bridge.
    • Wheel.
    • Tree with Back Arch.
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    Practice meditation. Spending some time meditating each day can help to keep you calm in the face of rejection while also helping you to control feelings of stress caused by that rejection. In meditation, the goal is to clear your mind and let go of all of the thoughts and feelings rushing about in your brain. This sense of calm is achieved by focusing on your breath and doing breathing exercises, which are called pranayama.[6]
    • Meditation can help to eliminate stress, restlessness, anxiety and negative emotions so that you can focus on positive thoughts and putting your best foot forward in the next steps of your job search.
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    Do things that make you happy. When you do things that make you feel good, you are much less likely to feel stressed. Getting your mind off the job search at least once a day can do wonders for your stress levels. Always make some time each day to do something that makes you happy.
    • Spend time with friends that make you laugh.
    • Take your dog on a hike.
    • Decompress with a great book or movie.
    • Do some gardening when you are feelings stressed out.

Part 3
Seeking Advice to Make Improvements

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    Think of the ordeal as a learning experience. Before seeking feedback, you must truly think of your experience with rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow as a potential employee. If you seek feedback while secretly thinking that your resume is flawless or your skills are perfectly honed, you will not allow yourself room to grow.
    • While it is important to remember that you are great, it is also important to remember that constructive criticism, or feedback, is an opportunity for you to make yourself even more awesome.
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    Send a thank you note to the company. One of the first things you should do after being rejected and coming to terms with the rejection is sending a thank you note to the company that rejected you. A thank you note shows that you really did care about the job and that you are still interested in working with them in the future. Your note should include[7]:
    • A part that involves thanking them for the opportunity to gain insight into their company.
    • A part that involves asking them to keep you in mind if there is ever another opening at the company that you might be able to fill.
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    Ask the company that rejected you for feedback. Sometimes the best feedback actually comes from the person who rejected you in the first place. Once you have found out that you have been rejected, contact the person and—without sounding defensive, angry, or bitter—politely ask them to supply you with feedback regarding your application or interview.[8]
    • When you receive this feedback, do not let it chip away at your self-confidence. Instead, take this feedback as constructive criticism that could ultimately lead to perfecting your skills and resume so that you can land your dream job.
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    Talk to an expert who can help you to rework your resume and sharpen your interviewing skills. Help from an expert may refine your interview technique or resume so that you can stand out amongst other candidates for a job. You can run an internet search of advice experts give regarding the application and interview process, or you can make an appointment with a career coach found online or in the yellow pages.[9]
    • If you are in school—be it college or high school—visit the Career Center (or similar institution) for help with strengthening your resume, learning about ways to write a great cover letter, and refining your interviewing techniques.
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    Seek the advice of family members or friends. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Ask a trusted peer or family member to look over your resume or cover letter and help you make it as good as it can be. Sometimes, you can be so wrapped up in trying to make your resume amazing, that it actually takes someone who is not obsessing over the resume to see where the weaknesses are. Similarly, you can ask a friend to help you practice your interviewing technique.[10]
    • Come up with a list of questions that often get asked in interviews (either through online research or your own experience) and have your friend pretend to be the interviewer asking you questions. Work together to come up with well thought out responses.

Part 4
Making Yourself Into the Ideal Candidate

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    Consider the qualities that employers are looking for in employees. Now that you have considered the feedback you have received, you should use that feedback to make a list of the characteristics and skills that you think an employer in your field would be looking for in an employee. Think about your own skill set and how you could expand it to encompass the things that a potential employer is looking for. Doing this will help to prepare you for your next go around with job applications.[11]
    • For example, an employer in the publishing industry looking for an online editor would most likely be looking for someone with specific skills like being able to edit both long and short form articles, recognize trending topics that could be assigned to writers, understanding how to set up a homepage.
    • They would also be looking for general skills like being able to stay organized on your own, an ability to motivate yourself and members of your team, a love of creating viral content, and a sharp eye for detail.
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    Talk to people in your field and expand your network. When you get back into the job search saddle after a hiatus due to rejection, it is important to do what you can to find the best possible opportunities to apply to. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to expand your network. Contact friends, acquaintances, head-hunters, and recruiters in your field that can help you to get a better sense about what employers are looking for in an employee.[12]
    • Talk to these people in your field about skills and characteristics that they think everyone in their field should have. Use these recommendations to expand your own skill set.
    • Ask them if they know of any job opportunities in that field.
    • Talk to them about their own connections who you also might be able to connect with.
    • Connect with them both in real life (perhaps over lunch?) and on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
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    Work on skills that you think could be improved. Part of considering your rejection as a learning experience is taking the opportunity to improve your skills. Perhaps the company that rejected you thought that you were qualified in many ways, but had wished you had more experience with a certain aspect of the field. Now is the time to get that experience.[13] You can sharpen your skill set by:
    • Attending workshops that can help you improve certain skills and make you more qualified in your field of employment.
    • Reading or watching tutorials online that help you learn the smallest details about a particular skill.
    • Talking to people already in the field about what skills they think are important in your field, and then honing those skills.
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    Do your research before applying to job listings. Sometimes it is best to limit the number of jobs that you apply to so that you can put all of your effort into making your application to your dream job as spectacular as possible, rather than making a bunch of applications to jobs you don’t really care about pretty good (but not spectacular). When you have a passion for the job you are applying to, it will show in your application, interview, and work.[14]
    • Really research the company you are applying to and spend a good deal of time portraying yourself in your resume and cover letter as the person that you think they would find to be the most employable.
    • Don’t just haphazardly apply to a bunch of jobs. If you do not take the time to really analyze what the company is looking for and tailor your application to those skills and characteristics, you are much more likely to get another rejection.
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    Make your social media accounts look respectable. While you might not think this a necessary part of shaping yourself into the ideal candidate, many companies actually look at your social media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, to get more of an idea about your character. If you have public photos of yourself doing a keg stand, smoking pot, or doing other things that might reflect poorly on a company, that company may be less likely to hire you.[15]
    • Do a clean up of all of your social media platforms. Delete photos, posts, and comments that might show you doing things that companies might find unprofessional.


  • Do not be afraid to ask for advice. Often, people are more than willing to give tips to others who are hoping to be a part of their field of employment.

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Categories: Job Search | Handling Rejection