Tips for Handling Professional Rejection

E.C. Power
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You carefully selected your interview outfit, prepared notes, printed copies, and practiced your most winning smile. You went, you interviewed, sent your thank you note, and waited. Then the email comes. You didn’t get the job and now you want to get into your sweatpants and watch American Pickers until you decompose.


It sucks but, believe it or not, it is part of the process. Everyone has been rejected (and I’m not just talking about that hottie that ghosted you six months ago). If the thought of having company in your misery doesn’t help, here are some tips to keep you looking forward instead of down into that pint of Ben & Jerry’s. (Yeah. We see you.)


1.  It’s Not You, It’s Them

It wasn’t a love connection. For whatever reason, the dream job you planned to retire from in 30 years didn’t think you were a good fit for the company. That does NOT mean you aren’t a great fit for another company. You are still just as qualified, educated, experienced as you were before and those qualifications will make you the perfect fit somewhere else.

You will need to maintain some confidence, though, if you’re going to score that somewhere-else-job. Try to keep in mind that if they didn’t think you were a good fit for them, they probably weren’t such a great fit for you either. Who needs them? Not you!

2.  Get a Second Opinion
There is a chance that your resume/query/cover letter isn’t illuminating you in the best light. Ask a coworker/friend/reddit for a once-over (just be careful to omit any personal information if you’re going to the internet for assistance. Helpful creeps are still creeps.)

Maybe your old coworker will remember that enormous project you successfully repressed from… rather...that made you look like a rock star. Maybe your grammar-guru buddy will catch a typo that Grammarly neglected. Maybe a kind, not-creepy, internet stranger will know a word or two that will elevate your “hard worker” to “indefatigable dedication”. It never hurts to ask.

3.  Keep Grinding

Maybe, just maybe, you could use a little something extra. Turn to Google to look for ways you could make yourself look more desirable to prospective employers. Check your local college for a continuing education class in your field. Look for internships or entry-level positions that you could get in to build your experience. Find conferences and workshops in your area where you can hear fresh ideas as well as do some networking. (Don’t forget your business cards!—if you have them).

Continuing to expand your knowledge base, to update yourself on the newest techniques, or staying current on trends in your industry will show your future dream job that you are committed to your career.

4.  Grind It Til You Find It

If all else fails - absolutely kill it at your current job. Because - who doesn’t love a hard worker? At the very least, you’ll build up some good references. The paycheck doesn’t hurt either.


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