The art of coping with rejection

  • Armed with encouragement and support you can bounce back because the day the right job turns up could be much closer than you think
- DAVID SILVERBERG

Mar 20, 2017-

You’ve just had an interview for your dream job and you are convinced you’ve got it. And why not? After all, you gave an Oscar-winning performance and enjoyed a wonderful rapport with the interviewer. But a week later, you are completely crushed by the dreaded three-line rejection letter. Where did it go wrong, you wonder.

Judith Johnstone, author of Applying For A Job, reckons that if you have done everything right and still got rejected, then you are likely to be up against factors beyond your control. She suggests you might be victim to one of the following:

 You may have been the best candidate until the next one came along. The job may have been targeted for an in-house candidate even though it was advertised. You may have been the right person for the job, but your face didn’t fit. The recruiter may have asked the right questions but lacked the skill to make a proper post-interview assessment.

Johnstone reckons that one way of coping with rejection in advance is to be completely open-minded during the interview. “Don’t see the interview as a make-or-break situation. You mustn’t close down the possibility during the interview that the job hasn’t got the potential you hoped for.

“If you get a job that will make you unhappy you won’t stay. If you can’t stay in a job, your CV is going to show that.”

Once an interview is over, take time to think through how you performed and make some notes. Self-assessment may reveal that you need to improve your interview technique or the way you dress. So if a rejection letter does come your way, you won’t be too surprised and you’ll be equipped to do better next time.

It’s of crucial importance not to take rejection personally. After all, an employer can’t really tell how good you’ll be at a job unless you’re given a chance to do it. As Johnstone says reassuringly “a successful candidate may excel at putting themselves across, but when it comes down to doing a job, they may not be quite what they’re cracked up to be”.

A knock-back can be devastating if you are having difficulty securing interviews, let alone a job, especially if you have been job-hunting for six months or more. If this sounds familiar, get help from a careers adviser who can help you to figure out where you’re going wrong. Perhaps you are trying to find work in the wrong field. “This is an easy mistake to make when you start your job search because you tend to concentrate on finding jobs that match your skills and qualifications,” explains Johnstone. “But the right job depends on your personality as well.”

A question worth asking yourself is whether you have read the job ad properly. “It’s amazing how many people don’t,” says Johnstone. “If you fail to match your skills to what is being looked for or send in a CV and covering letter when they want you to fill in an application form, your rejection will take approximately 10 seconds.”

Continuous rejection is enough to make you want to hide yourself away from the world. But don’t, says Sue Gatenby, deputy director of the Careers Advisory Service at the University of Reading. “Seek help and encouragement by talking to friends, family, peers as well as careers advisers.”

Armed with encouragement and support you can bounce back because the day the right job turns up could be much closer than you think. Jeanette Hurdle, a graduate of Leeds University, persevered following a truck-load of rejection letters and now has the job she always wanted. 

Her rocky road to success began after she mastered the art of filling in application forms, thanks to courses run by her university careers service. Along the way, Jeanette couldn’t believe that the skills she developed from the courses, coupled with the seemingly endless hours spent applying for jobs in marketing and publishing during her final year, were failing to result in a job. “I applied for about 10 -15 graduate recruitment schemes and sent off loads of speculative letters to publishing companies,” recalls Jeanette. After spending the summer working in a shop she embarked on a six-month publishing course. “I started applying for jobs again and applied for 20 jobs and had six or seven interviews before getting my first job as a publicity assistant with Harper-Collins,” says Jeanette, who left after a year to get a job as a press officer with another publishing company. She admits she found the scores of rejection letters “depressing and irritating”.

“A lot of people on my publishing course gave up to work temporary jobs. But I kept going. To stop is the worst thing you can do. Just keep plugging away because you will get a job eventually.”

- The Guardian

Published: 20-03-2017 09:03

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