4 Ways to Bounce Back From a Job Rejection


move on job rejectionThis post originally appeared on The Daily Muse.

The resume that goes off into the online application ether.

The call for a second interview that never comes.

The rejection letter from your dream job that hits you like a ton of bricks.

No matter what stage you are at in the job search process, it’s likely that rejection has reared its ugly head in your direction. Being turned down for a role you really want is never fun, and it sure can tank your confidence.

And when you’re down in the dumps and vulnerable, disappointment can quickly spiral into a full-blown pity party. I often see clients who dwell on receiving a “no” from a prospective employer, beating themselves up and categorically slotting themselves as a failure all-around. But the truth is, thinking that rejection has ruined you not only feels miserable, it also holds you back from any future chance at success.

A better way to handle rejection? Operating with a resilient mindset. Resiliency involves meeting challenges or setbacks with a constructive approach and focusing on the opportunities created when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people keep a positive, adaptable attitude when thrown curveballs. To become resilient, you must understand that success and rejection go hand-in-hand, and that you simply cannot advance if you always play it safe.

If you’re stuck in a rejection rut, here are four ways to feel better—and kick your job search back into gear.

1. Realize It’s Inherently in Your Programming

Rejection weighs so heavily precisely because our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative events than positive ones. This “negativity bias” is exactly why we blow a “no” out of proportion and feel so disheartened.

You can counteract this natural inclination by reality testing—or thinking about the other circumstances that could have led to the rejection. For example, while you may think you were turned down because your resume wasn’t quite impressive enough, in reality the company could have made an internal hire or discontinued the job listing altogether.

Even if you know you were turned away because you weren’t the best fit for the role, be careful not to overgeneralize the situation—accusing yourself of being incapable of ever getting a job. Instead, change the story you tell yourself about rejection. Start to see it as a fresh opportunity to do even better next time. Think of it like the new year—each year we leave behind old regrets and resolve to improve ourselves the next year. Similarly, resolve to blow your next job interview out of the water!

  • meslan

    I know a guy that used it as a learning opportunity. He didn’t always get a response, but he always asked what would have made him a better fit for the job. One time, the person the prospective employer had hired did not work out and he got hired. They hired him because he had taken the time to get a certification in the area that they said he did not have enough experience. Even if he had not been hired by that company, it was good for the field he was in.