Here's what to do if you get rejected from a job

Lara Billington
Content Marketing Executive

So you've just been told the dreaded words: 'It's a no'.

After walking straight to the corner shop to buy a sharing bag of Doritos and a bottle of Echo Falls, you're now sitting in bed, crying into the bag of soggy crisps and wondering if you'll EVER get a job. 

Being told no never feels good and not much (other than sinking a bottle of cheap wine at 4pm) can take away the sting of rejection. But what you can control, is how you take the experience of rejection and use it to your benefit. In fact, how you handle one job rejection and what you learn from it, might be exactly what you need to secure the next job you apply for. 

So take some time to wallow in self-pity, then use these top tips to help you crawl out of bed, open your laptop and resume your job hunt with a new-found feeling of positivity. 



Always ask for feedback 

Use the experience to learn what you need to improve on. If an employer hasn't already offered you feedback, always send them a polite email asking for some. You'll never learn if you don't know where you went wrong - most of the time an employer will be happy to provide you with some pointers on where to improve. 

If you're angry about receiving a rejection, it's easy to see feedback and feel defensive. Try to listen to what the employer is saying (whether you agree with it or not) and take the advice on the chin. Ultimately, they're the expert and any feedback they provide can be used to your advantage. 

If you've been rejected at an early stage, say, straight after submitting your CV, you can surmise that your CV is the problem. Take some time to ensure that every CV you send off is tailored, concise and completely relevant to the job you're applying for. For some top CV tips, click here. 


Consider whether you're applying for the right roles 

If you're finding that you keep getting rejected from jobs, it might be time to take a step back and consider whether you're applying for the right roles. Do you have enough experience for a more senior role or are you better suited to something lower down, that offers progression? Do you actually have the skills the job requires? 

It's important to be realistic about what jobs you can do. This can be frustrating if you want to jump straight into your dream career, but it's often the case where you're better off starting lower down the ladder and working your way up. That way, you build up the right knowledge, experience and expertise instead of being thrown in at the deep end. 

Alternatively, you could build up your skills and experience before applying for permanent roles. Try getting internships or placements first and then you might fare better when it comes to applying for roles that require experience and offer more money and responsibility. 


Don't take it personally 

It can often feel like the decision is personal, particularly if you've gone through a thorough application process only to be rejected at the final hurdle. Don't forget that employers are looking at a wide range of factors when choosing someone to hire; the successful candidate might simply have more experience than you, or perhaps they've decided to recruit internally.

These are factors you can't change, regardless of how well you thought your interview went. You could have brought the interviewer a tray of doughnuts in and they still wouldn't have hired you. 


Remember that everyone has been rejected at some point 

The fact is, you're not going to land every single job you apply for and there's a (very) large chance you'll be rejected again in the future. No one has ever sailed through life with no experience of rejection.

In hindsight, rejection can often turn out to be the best thing - if you'd got a previous job, you would've never landed another job that you now love and which has brought you success.

Just look at J.K Rowling: her first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times before finally being published. The series has now sold over 500 million copies and she's one of the richest people in the world. That's not to say your job rejection will lead you to becoming a multi-millionaire, but you get the picture... 


Don't let rejection derail your job search 

It's inevitable that you'll feel disheartened and deflated following rejection, but try not to let it get in the way of the rest of your job search. If you head into another interview with the mindset that you'll be rejected again, you probably will.

The best thing to do is apply for every job with a positive attitude, give it your all and if that's not enough, it's not enough. They're the ones missing out on your incredible talent anyway, right? 

In the words of some unknown source, "pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again". 


So now you know not to fear rejection, why not kick-start your graduate job hunt by checking out the range of opportunities on our website