How to bounce back from job rejection

The new year is traditionally a good time to look for a new job. Many companies start advertising new roles and opportunities and it can be an ideal time to make a fresh start.

The UK job market has also been buoyant over the last few months and, from October to December 2016, unemployment declined to just 4.8%, the lowest it’s been in over 10 years. But what if you apply for what you think may be your perfect job and then get rejected? How do you deal with it? Here are our top 10 tips on how to bounce back.

Remember nothing is final

Louise Jenner, the dream job coach, says decisions are rarely final. “‘No’ can sometimes be short for ‘Not yet’. You have the option to follow up and see if you can resolve any doubts the employer may have had,” she notes. “Also, consider what you’ve learnt from the experience and know that your dream job is still out there waiting for you to come along and be brilliant.”

Move on

Try not to dwell on the rejection and move on. “Many employees are disillusioned at this time of year and make new year resolutions to progress their career,” Jenner says. “Recruiters know this and want to attract the best people so you can expect plenty of new opportunities to appear on job-sites.”

Keep busy by making sure you have the perfect CV for your next role

Be really clear about what you want to do and make sure you tailor your CV accordingly. “Refresh your CV and ensure it is up-to-date and not too long,” advises Jenner. “One page is plenty and you will also need to consider the design. Your CV is essentially an advert for your brand and must stand out from the crowd.”

Don’t take it personally

Getting rejected after an interview can feel a little bit like being dumped in a relationship; we feel hurt, unwanted and our confidence can take a bashing. So what can you do about it? Firstly, don’t take it personally, says Sharon De Mascia, occupational psychologist and director at Cognoscenti Business Psychologists. “If you are not chosen for a job it is because the recruiter has found someone who they believe will be a better match for the role,” she notes. “Try to be positive and use the experience productively.”

Make sure you’re better prepared next time

Think about the sorts of things you’d like to ask during your next interview –  everything from company culture to career progression. “A great question is: ‘Looking forward six months, what would I need to achieve in order for you to be really happy you hired me?”’ says Jenner.

Learn from it and get feedback where possible

“Learn as much as you can from it to enable you to be more successful at your next interview,” advises De Mascia. “Write down what you remember of the questions that were asked and how you responded. See if you can get any feedback from the recruiter that will help you improve your interview technique/performance.” If the recruiter doesn’t provide much in the way of feedback, you might want to consider asking a friend or colleague to go over your responses with you and offer some constructive feedback.

Remind yourself of your strengths and all that you have to offer

Read through your CV to remind yourself of everything that you have achieved in your career so far. “Write down four or five positive statements about yourself. For example: ‘I am good at getting things done’ or ‘I am a caring and supportive person,’” De Mascia advises. “Whenever you start doubting yourself, read the statements a couple of times. You will be surprised at how something so simple can make you feel more confident and positive.”

Handle it with style

“Remember that all interview experience is good so it hasn’t been time wasted and at the very least you have added to your network by meeting the recruiting manager,” says Richard Hanwell, associate director at The Sterling Choice recruitment firm. “Handle the rejection with pride and professionalism by thanking the company and individuals for their time and thus not discounting yourself for any further roles.” Remember also that if you weren’t right for the company, the company might not have been right for you.

Start planning for your future

One of the best ways to get over a setback is to start planning for the future, says Ida Banek, leader and founder of GRIT International career management company. “Planning for the future is always a great way to bounce back,” she notes. “Consider what you want from your career development. Decide whether you’re on the right path or if you are in need of a career transition. This might be the perfect time to shake things up and try new things. “

 Always look on the bright side (of life)

“Difficult though it may be, try looking at the positive side,” says Banek. “The act of being interviewed is never a waste. You always learn something from the experience which will help increase your odds for success further down the road. As soon as you make peace with this, you can return to your job search with renewed enthusiasm.”

Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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