How to deal with rejection

When you’ve set your heart on a job it’s hard to hear you didn’t get it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just applied, not been selected after an interview or lost your job, you’ll naturally be disappointed not to be the chosen one. 

The intensity of your sorrow and the speed you’ll get over it will vary depending on your personality, how much you wanted the job or what else is going on in your life but you’re likely to go through the ‘5 stages of grief’ before you can move on.

There is nothing wrong with experiencing those feelings and you will eventually get over it but the longer you take, the more time and energy you’ll waste, potentially missing opportunities to find something else. 

To start with, you’ll be in denial. I just can’t believe this is happening, I need to read this rejection email another 10 times to be sure. Don’t bother, you’ve truly been rejected, that’s a fact. Have a good cry and move on. 

Then comes the anger. Those bastards! That’s so unfair, I deserved this job. The reality is that you’re not pissed at them but at yourself for not getting the job but all this negative energy will get you nowhere. Turn your rage into action and start sending loads of new applications. 

Now that you’ve calmed down, you’ll start wondering if there’s still a chance. That’s the bargaining phase. I said bargaining not begging, it’s not time to sound desperate. First, try to get some feedback and, if it sounds like you did ok but there was someone else better, just let them know that if there is another opening in the future, you’d be interested. 

Although they’ve said they’d be in touch if something else came up, you’re not stupid and know they’re just being polite. Depression kicks in and you start to feel like shit. I’m so rubbish, no one will ever hire me. You’ll naturally be reminiscing about where you messed up. Go on, do it. Think about what happened and where you could have performed better. What questions did you stumble on? Was your CV really showing the skills needed for the job? Did you show enough motivation for the role? Identify where you’ve gone wrong and fix it for next time. 

You’re almost in the final phase: the acceptance stage… Yes maybe you could have done better and got the job, maybe there was someone else stronger than you. It still doesn’t make you worthless. This role just wasn’t right for you at this time, that’s it. 

Being rejected is hard and you will find yourself being negative and sometimes frankly ridiculous… I have cried on the phone while being told I didn’t get a job, refused to listen why I wasn’t ready for a promotion and just quit, contacted a recruiter far too many times after a rejection, considered changing careers when things didn’t work out… Not all at the same time. I have made all those mistakes so you don’t have to!

Just be aware of your feelings and refocus your energy to bounce back as quickly as possible. 

Realise that this was just practice to land your dream job. You’ve learnt and improved thanks to this rejection and you come out of it a better candidate. You WILL find a job you love. 

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