Opening your email inbox to find a rejection letter is every job seeker’s nightmare. This can be especially frustrating after feeling like you nailed your interview. Many job seekers don’t even get to receive their rejection in the form of a concise email; it often comes in the form of silence.
Of all job search frustrations, getting rejected from a position certainly tops the list. Learning to handle rejection during your job search is an art — without the proper approach, job seekers are likely to be faced with a variety of consequences.
Learn from these terrible ways of handling job search rejection to overcome disappointment and find success in your hunt for employment:
1. Forget Perspective. One sure-fire way to mishandle a rejection is to overlook the big picture. Getting turned down from a few positions during your job search is inevitable. Rather than getting hung up on the glaring details of the situation, look to the overall perspective of your job search, career and life. This is just one small bump in the road.
2. Let Your Emotions Take Over. With rejection comes a wide variety of internalized emotions. It’s important not to take this rejection personally. While you may be angry with yourself for not performing better in the interview or at the potential employer for not seeing how great you truly are, try your best to remain level. Allowing your emotions to consume you will only make the job search harder as you put yourself under unnecessary stress.
3. Forget To Ask For Feedback. Simply ignoring a rejection letter and not looking back might feel right at the time, but you could be missing a valuable opportunity for feedback. Instead of wondering where you went wrong, consider reaching out to the employer and asking for feedback. While they might not always be able to give you details, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Be sure your request is respectful and optimistic.
4. Refuse To Improve. Rejection during your job search can act as a driving force for improvement. Instead of cursing the employer for their inability to recognize your match for the position, break down the hiring process and see if there’s room for growth. The job search is often a learning process.
5. Don’t Stay Connected. The hiring manager may not have chosen you for the position, but you should still keep in touch with them. Focus on maintaining a relationship with this person by connecting with them on LinkedIn, shooting them an email in regard to relevant information, and even applying to another position when it arises. Never let a connection with a hiring manager go to waste.
6. Avoid Sharing Your Experience. Utilizing your support system will help ease many of the challenges you experience during the job search. Sharing your rejection with others might feel embarrassing at first, but speaking about your experiences and emotions will get it off your chest. Everyone has experienced some form of rejection, and this will allow you to receive a variety of advice and guidance.
7. Give Up. Rejection pushes many individuals to give up on the things they’re seeking to accomplish. Mishandling rejection during your job search may lead you to giving up on your search for employment — even if it’s only temporarily. Briefly quitting your job search might force you to miss out on a variety of opportunities. Keep applying for positions, customizing your resume, and working your network.
Successfully handling rejection can have a positive effect on your job search. Your ability to grow from the experience, remain optimistic, and drive connections might put you at the top of the list for the next opening.
Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.