4 Things to Do When You Get a Rejection Notice
First of all, don’t panic. Take a step back and remember you’re not alone.
It’s true. Everyone experiences rejection at some point in their lives. Whether it’s from their high school prom date, their ideal college, or their dream job—no one is immune to the sting of being told “no”. The good news is that there are things we can take away from this experience that can actually help us in the long run.
1. Relax, review, and reflect:
It happened. You can’t change an employer’s mind at this point, so now what? The key thing to do after a rejection is to ask for feedback.
If the feedback you’re getting feels inauthentic and generic, don’t be afraid to request a more comprehensive and detailed assessment. After all of the work you put into the process, you are well within your right to find out where you went wrong. Once you’ve come to terms with the employer’s decision and had a chance to soak up all of that detailed feedback you asked for, it’s time to review and reflect on your part in this process.
What do you think went well? What do you think you could have done differently? Were you rejected because you were lacking a skill? Were you just not a great fit? If so, why? Could you have prepared more thoroughly? Did your resume accurately reflect what the recruiter and hiring manager were looking for?
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is the key to doing better the next time. There’s always room for improvement, so take these setbacks and use them to shine a light on the next application.
2. Establish a plan for what’s next:
Take a look at past rejections, performance reviews, and any other feedback you’ve received. Are there any underlying patterns or recurring themes? What areas, if any, do you need to work on?
Once you’ve identified the next steps, put them into action. Draft a plan for fixing the gaps in your performance and run with it. Maybe it’s as simple as taking some additional courses or participating in a training session. Perhaps you can ask a resume writer (hint hint) to help you refine your content and target the skills employers are looking for. If your interview skills were to blame, seek out a career coach (we do that too, by the way).
Whatever the issue, it’s manageable. However you choose to move forward, it’s important to be realistic about what you can actually change. You can’t gain an additional four years of experience in project management overnight, but you can take a course or pursue a certification. See? Turn those mountains back into molehills and tackle one thing at a time. Realistically.
3. Reevaluate your search:
Maybe this rejection was a blessing in disguise. Think about whether or not that role was really what you wanted to do? Better yet, was it the right role for you?
Review the jobs you’re applying for and honestly reflect on whether or not you see yourself in those roles on a daily basis. Take your feedback and your newfound motivation and refine future job searches. If you’re targeting jobs you desire to do but not jobs you can do, that could be the wall you’re running into. Are you perhaps looking at keywords that don’t quite match your ambitions and aspirations? Did the role that went with the job title not quite match your expectations? Did the interview make you realize that this is not quite the right sort of job for you? And if not, then what is?
4. Be resilient and be resilient again:
The modern job search is exhausting and stressful. The modern workplace is no different. In a world that is constantly changing, employers are always seeking to evolve and grow—and sometimes that means cutting back and saying no. Developing a resilient mindset is essential for long-term success.
See your setbacks as learning experiences. Take on the challenge of raising the bar for yourself, your jobs, and your career. Overcoming these obstacles will get you closer to the right role, so make a point of taking the criticism, feedback, and rejections and transforming them into valuable tools for tackling the next opportunity.
About The Author
Director of Writing Services
When she’s not buried in her 2021 reading list or rewatching Parks and Rec for the 17th time, Sara spends her time crafting custom content and developing compelling narratives that engage readers from start to finish. She’s a seasoned writer, Leslie Knope wannabe, and a job search expert with valuable insight into what works in the modern market. Connect with Sara on LinkedIn.