3 Ways to Cope When You've Been Rejected From a Job One Too Many Times

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
June 23, 2024 at 12:29PM UTC

“This job rejection might be the straw that broke the camel's back,” a Fairygodboss community member wrote recently. “It wasn't even for a job I truly wanted, but it was one I knew I was qualified for and actually felt confident about landing (I'm usually one to doubt myself, but not about this role). Would love some words of motivation and advice for how to keep pushing on after rejection and rejection.”

Unfortunately, they’re not alone in feeling the sting of a job rejection. We’ve all been there and experienced the self-doubt that accompanies it. How, then, do you bounce back?

1. Understand that it’s not personal.

In many cases, it really has nothing to do with you. 

“It’s hard to know why we may be rejected for a role,” Julie Chatman wrote. “For example, the recruiter/hiring manager could have already had someone in mind and was using the hiring process as a compliance exercise. Sometimes, we are not the least expensive candidate.”

“As an internal recruiter for many years, I can assure you that not every situation is because you weren’t qualified or you were not the right fit,” another member agreed. “Many times, an internal candidate has been identified or a referral or a returning employee is hired and the job still must be posted and recruited for by law….[Don’t take] anything personally.”

2. Be strategic.

You can take a moment to be disappointed, of course, but then it’s important to establish a strategy for moving forward.

“It's hard receiving that news especially when you have pressing timelines and financial commitments that put your perception of that job as critical. Take a deep breath and know that you will make it through today,” Rick wrote.

“Assume a low percentage of what you apply for will work out.  Make sure you apply through avenues that have a higher level of success.  A referral or a recruiter will have higher success than an online application.  Network constantly.  Don't rely on one referral or one recruiter.  Get all opportunities going at once.”

Other community members suggested asking the recruiter for feedback. 

“The best thing you can do is ask for feedback from the recruiter (if you interviewed for the position). That could prove helpful for your next interview/application,” Anonymous said. 

3. Formulate goals and build skills.

It can be easy to lose sight of your larger goals when you’re coping with rejection. But it’s important to keep moving forward — and understand what you’re working toward. Take this time to learn something new and build your skills, too.

“The last time this happened to me I gave myself one day to mourn (ok, feel sorry for myself),” Ann Braun wrote. “Then I started focusing on learning a new skill and making a new goal. It was something hard that my company really needed and it took me the better part of a month to master it, but the management noticed, and soon after, I got a promotion! Any words of motivation I might give you will sound trite but in my experience, the opened window is always better than the closed door.”


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for coping with job rejection? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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