Managing rejection

Managing rejection

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Rejections are an inevitable part of the job hunt process. How you learn from them and move on is what matters.

It's important to remember that just because you didn't get the job, it doesn't mean that you are not perfectly capable. More often than not, it just means the employer found someone who is either better suited to the role, or who they feel will fit in better with the company.

These four points will help you get over the setback and get back on track.

1. Follow up

The further on you make it in the selection process, the more likely you are to get feedback and the more detailed that feedback will be, but sometimes you will simply get no response at all.

You always have the right to follow up on rejections. The feedback that recruiters give you will help you reassess your skills, refine your interview or application technique, and re-evaluate your career choices. Just make sure you keep your request polite and professional, and use the feedback that recruiters give you to reassess your approach.

2. Identify weaknesses

Sometimes it is simply a lack of experience, and sometimes it is an inability to effectively demonstrate skills. Taking the feedback you received, as well as your own impressions of your performance, think about where you might be able to strengthen your application. Spend some time reviewing your Personal Brand and evaluating your Commercial Awareness. If you find yourself being repeatedly turned down in favour of others with more experience, it may be time to manage your expectations.

3. Reassess your approach

If you continue to get rebuffed early on in the process, perhaps at the initial CV stage, or at the telephone interview stage, it may be worth taking a step back and reviewing your approach. Take a day out of your application schedule and really examine why you're not getting anywhere.

With or without employer feedback, this is something graduates can do to improve their chances at getting over that initial barrier. It could be your CV layout, your telephone manner, or your tone in the covering letter. Consider trying a different tact.

4. Refine your search

You might have a picture of what you expect your chosen industry to be like. This could be from friends working in the sector, or from talking to recruitment teams at graduate fairs who have created an image of a particular industry. But you will only know how you fit in when you work through several applications and find out what these kinds of companies are looking for. The process itself should help you get a real feel for what it takes to succeed.

Refining your search can be key in stemming the number of rejections you receive. You might not be right for the role, or you may be pursuing an element of the role that is not quite how the employer sees it. Graduates need to assess what they actually want. Do you really understand what Recruitment is? Do you know the kind of Marketing position that is being offered?

If not, find out. This process will lead you to narrow your searches. Be careful to not let this reduce your scope and limit the applications you send out, but allow it to target more effectively the roles you apply for.

5. Stay positive

Be confident in yourself and confident in your ability to meet the challenges of each role. If you are unable to sell yourself to an employer in a positive way, the employer will have a tough time justifying employing you.

It's common enough for repeated rejections to lead to feelings of failure and inadequacy. But don't let yourself get discouraged. It can be difficult to keep plugging away when you feel like you are getting nowhere, but you need to view the graduate job hunt as an overall process. Try and take something positive from each rejection to make the next application you send off even better.

The ability to handle rejection well is a skill that will help you throughout life. Developing an ability to learn from setbacks will help you all the way through your career. So when you get rejected, keep working at it. Let the previous rejections spur you on to get that next application sent out.

Next: Taking risks