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How Responding to Rejection Can Strengthen Your Job Search

Over one hundred people apply for the average job. Since only one of those applicants will get that job, you can see why rejection is an inherent part of the job-search process. Searching for a job can be a demoralizing process. You will get a lot of no's before you finally get a yes; however, if you approach rejection strategically, it can make you a stronger candidate. We have four ways to make rejection work for you.

  1. Expect rejection. We’re not encouraging you to be fatalistic or self-sabotage. It is, however, important to understand that looking for a job is a long process that will involve some closed doors along the way. Keeping a broad perspective is essential to maintaining morale.

  2. Understand the message. Rejections aren’t personal. While it’s understandable to feel disappointed, take a step back and unbiasedly appraise what didn’t work. Was your experience not adequate? Were they looking for different skills? Did they just have plenty of qualified applicants? Having a clear picture of why an organization passed on you can inform what positions you apply for and how you interview on the next round.

  3. Respond graciously. What you do when things go wrong is one of the most important things about you. Thank your interviewers for their time and express your hope that you’ll work together in the future. Responding with class can make a lasting impression. You never know when you might interact with this person again, whether at this organization or elsewhere.

  4. Integrate the feedback. Once you’ve identified why you didn’t get a position, apply the lesson. Usually that will be subtle shifts in how you interview and apply. Sometimes it will mean drastic adjustments from your initial approach. Momentum is essential. Move forward; don’t fester.