Rejection. No one likes it and it never get easier. This is especially true when you’re first finding your footing in the workforce. Did you say the wrong thing? Did you not dress appropriately? The list of questions that run through your head after an initial rejection are long and varied. But instead of focusing on what might have gone wrong, take a step back, along with a deep breath, and try focusing on how you can bounce back so the next time around you’re a little smarter and stronger with your strategy. Here are five ideas to get you started:
1 – Keep Some Perspective
Rejection doesn’t automatically mean there’s something wrong with your professional or personal attributes. What it does mean is that there are many factors that go into hiring; some of which are beyond your control. So, remember their decision does not determine your self-worth.
2 – List Your Successes
Take time to focus on the pros, rather than the cons. Obviously, the outcome wasn’t what you wanted, but you have a lot going for you in other areas. Make a list of your ‘wins’—anything you think helped you land the interview and keep advancing, so you can include it in future job applications.
3 – Pursue Your Passions
What was it about this specific job that grabbed your attention and made you pursue it? Write down all the aspects that appealed to you (e.g. company size) and use it as your criteria when applying for future jobs. For example, searching for ‘packaging developer in Chicago’ will turn up multiple generic listings. But if you targeted your search – ‘packaging developer with confections company in Chicago with flex-time options’ – you’re more likely to find the job you want.
4 – Expand Your Opportunities
Never put all your eggs in one basket. No matter how badly you want a specific job, if an opportunity for a different position comes up, check it out. It’s better to be able to field numerous job offers than being stuck with nothing. You never know when something might cross your path that you’d never considered, but would be an amazing fit. Learn how you can boost your employability here.
5 – Never Burn Bridges
In some industries, like advertising, people move around a lot and key players tend to know each other. So, if you didn’t land the job at Agency X, be professional, thank them for the opportunity, and stay in touch. Because next month, the person you interviewed with may be at Agency Y and have a position you’d be perfect for. Always leave a good impression that will give you an advantage for possible job consideration in the future.
Focus on the process instead of a quick fix.
Try looking at rejection as a way to make you mentally and emotionally tougher. You can start by adopting a resilient mindset. This approach allows you to meet challenges or setbacks constructively and focus on the opportunities created when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people stay positive and find a way to adapt to the curveballs thrown at them. After all, success and rejection will always go together, but if you open yourself up to the process instead of trying to control it, the job possibilities that present themselves could end up being better than the one you got rejected from.
Share in the comments how you’ve bounced back from rejection.