handling rejection in job search; job search rejection tips; dealing with job search rejection; job hunt rejection

How to Handle Rejection in Your Job Search

Negative feelings, such as shame and self-doubt, come out every time you receive it in your job search.

You’ve put forth your best effort—hoping to be noticed—not overlooked—for the position of interest to you.

You’ve taken your time in properly preparing your resume and cover letter for submission. You’ve waited a couple of weeks then followed-up on your materials.

Then, you don’t hear anything back.

You’ve been rejected.

handling rejection in job search; job search rejection tips; dealing with job search rejection; job hunt rejection
How to Handle Rejection in Your Job Search
Creative Commons’ Pixabay Photo Courtesy of Public Domain Pictures.

When you get to the interview stage, you prepare for the interview and seek to make a great impression on the hiring managers. From there, you get silence.

You’ve been rejected.

All of this is discouraging, and you take it personally.


Because you’re “selling yourself as the product,” how can you NOT take this rejection personally?

You can’t.

I understand those feelings of rejection in the job search.

I understand all of the time it takes to prepare application materials—only to receive silence. I understand those feelings of preparing to succeed in an interview and receiving compliments—only to receive silence, a rejection notice, or a rejection phone call afterward.

I’ve taken these rejections personally, so I know you do too. It hurts.

Doesn’t it?

You question the point of applying for jobs when you can’t get one. You question your ability to ever secure a good job.

You believe something’s wrong with you. You feel you’re the reason you can’t land a job.

Believe me when I say I know and understand.

Although faced with constant rejection and you take it personally, you shouldn’t respond to it personally. Instead, continue moving forward in your process.

How do you handle job search rejection and move forward?

Below, I’ll list 4 ways I’ve learned to keep pushing.

handling rejection in job search; job search rejection tips; dealing with job search rejection; job hunt rejection
How to Handle Rejection in Your Job Search
Unsplash Original Photo Courtesy of Volkan Olmez. Edited by Me.

Remember Who You Are.

In a previous article here on the blog titled, You Aren’t Them, I encouraged you to make corrections to distorted definitions of yourself.

If you’re identifying who you are by your lack of a job (or career), rejections will hurt all the more. Remember this: you aren’t just a job title.

Who you are goes beyond these things.

Side Tracking Moment: I’ll also say this: when you don’t seek validation from these things, you experience an unexplainable but great feeling!

Kick the Negative Self-Talk.

Upon receiving rejections, negative messages creep in mentally. Feelings of self-doubt and discouragement speak to you, and you internalize them.

They bring you down.

You feel worthless.

When this happens, however, you must remember something.

You’re worthy because your worth doesn’t come from a job or those in hiring positions. Don’t let any rejection take away this truth and fight against discouragement as it comes into your heart.

Also remember this: in the hiring process, other factors come into play—even interviewer biases in some cases—so don’t beat yourself up over why you didn’t get an opportunity to interview or why you didn’t get the job.

Consider the following advice from Jan Gordon of Quality Coaching in her article titled, Top 10 Ways to Deal with Job Rejection:

“. . . The decision to not hire you was based on the company’s specific criteria and needs which may or may not have anything to do with how you showed up at the interview. That you weren’t the perfect match doesn’t mean that you’re not an outstanding professional with excellent attributes and talents.”

The problem could’ve been them, so why stress yourself out?

Seek Constructive Feedback—If Possible.

For legal purposes, employers don’t like giving feedback, but it doesn’t hurt to politely ask for it if you’re seeking ways to improve your interviewing skills.

I’ve done it. When someone responded with feedback—even generic feedback—I responded with thanks, accepted it, and moved on.

I chose not to stay focused on those rejecting me for targeted positions. I learned it only wastes my precious time and energy.

When you know you’ve given your best in your job search efforts, you just have to keep it moving.

Keep Moving On.

As stated above, seek feedback and continue to improve where you can.

Comfort yourself by remembering some employer out there is looking to connect with you—although the wait is longer than you could’ve ever imagined.

Look forward to your YES!

Keep the faith, remain productive, and keep moving on.

From Me to You: Rejection is a part of the job search process so try not to react to it personally. Consider the above job search rejection tips and don’t lose your proper perspective.

Continue your search with a focus on companies of interest to you. If you haven’t already, then consider expanded alternatives and possibilities: related jobs and consulting work, for example.

And, most importantly, stay strong!

Disclaimer 1: I am not an HR or Career Professional by training. When I write on job search topics, I write from the perspective of a job seeker with experience in job searching.

Disclaimer 2: This article contains an outgoing link to the work of Ms. Jan Gordon on Quality Coaching.

P. S. What are your suggestions for dealing with rejection in the job search? Please share in the comment section below.


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