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How to Handle Job Rejection – When the Interview Doesn’t Go the Way You Hoped

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How to Handle Job Rejection when the interview doesn't go the way you hoped

Getting rejected from a job you’ve applied for is not the end of the world. I know in that moment, the moment you hear it over the phone, or in person, or via an email is like “Oh my god, I’m such a loser”, but you aren’t. I know this because I’ve been there, time and time again. Every single time, yes, there’s that sting and that self-doubt that I’ll ever amount to anything, but I eventually move on.

I also want to tell you that it’s okay to be angry, to be confused, to be whatever you are feeling in that moment or the days after. When you’ve taken the time to apply and go through an interview (or a second or even a third), you’ve invested in this potential position. It’s absolutely okay to feel.

But how DO you move on from rejection? Let’s talk.

  1. Archive the rejection email so it’s no longer right there in your inbox. Don’t delete it, but move it to a folder so when you open your inbox, your eyes don’t just immediately go to that subject line.
  2. Allow yourself to feel. Want to be angry? Then get physical – go boxing, go for a run or walk, dance around, clean the house. Do something to get out that energy. Want to cry? Go for it. You don’t suck, you aren’t worthless, you just invested in something that didn’t happen. Let yourself move on through whatever emotions you are feeling.
  3. Don’t stop applying. This one took some time to learn, but it’s true. It’s like not putting all your eggs in one basket. It might be your DREAM job, but keep applying to other desired positions. One rejection is not going to cause a domino effect but if you stop applying, you’ll never know.
  4. Follow up. Before you archive that email, send a thank you and follow up email. This is a great time to ask what or how you could improve, to ask them to keep your resume on file for future openings and to thank them for their time and consideration. Don’t burn the bridge – reinforce it.

You might have other ways to cope with job rejection (ice cream? cake? a drink?) but these are 4 things that I’ve done, that have worked well, and continue to push me forward.

If you’ve dealt with a job rejection, how did you cope? Was it a “one door closes, another opens” situation?

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