How to deal with rejection in a job search


You've made it to the final round of job interviews, your references have been checked and things are looking good. Then you get the dreaded call informing you they decided to go with the other candidate ... again.

Even worse, you get ghosted.

If you've been in this situation a few times during a job hunt it can be hard to stay motivated.

"Getting rejected can be energy-zapping and frustrating when you feel like you are constantly on the job-search hamster wheel," said Alison Sullivan from job review web site Glassdoor.


Don't take it personally

Just because a company went with another candidate doesn't mean you aren't good at what you do.

"It's not personal," said Hallie Crawford, a certified career coach.

Sometimes you are competing against an internal worker or an employee-referenced candidate, which can be tough to compete with.


Ask for feedback

When you get the rejection call, thank the person for their time and ask for any feedback about the decision.

Maybe you were missing a certain skill or experience that you can work on that will get you across the hiring finish line next time.

Asking for feedback also shows you are interested in self-improvement and leaves a positive last impression with the hiring manager.

"It helps continue to establish a relationship," said Sullivan. "People move around a lot and maybe there is an opportunity in the future."

Not everyone is going to be willing to give you feedback, but you can still do your own gut check to identify areas you can work on.

"It's a journey and you have to stop and reflect along the way," said Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of human resources at job search site Indeed. "Take stock of what is working."

Perhaps your resume could include more concrete examples of your management experience or you didn't quite jibe with the hiring manager and you can work on building a better rapport during interviews in the future.


Continue to build new skills

Finding ways to enhance your skills can re-energize your job search while also giving you something else to bolster your resume.

Professional development doesn't have to be expensive or a big-time commitment. It can be as simple as watching a TED talk, reading a book or taking a free online seminar.


Review your search tactics

If you keep falling short of getting an offer, try reviewing whether you are applying to the right jobs.

It might be time to cast a wider net or home in on a particular role or industry to increase your chances of getting an offer.

"Sometimes we are trying to hit the wrong target," said Crawford. "You are close, but you need to adjust a smidge."


Lean on your network

A little pep talk can do wonders for getting back on the job hunt.

Spend some time with your career mentors or role models to get some momentum.

Attending industry events and other networking opportunities can also help get you back on track and keep you motivated.

"Continue meeting new people -- employee referrals are one of the biggest sources of hires," said Wolfe.


Hit the pause button

Don't hesitate to take a little break from the job search and be sure to take some time for some self- care.

"Take a few days to think about something else that makes you feel good," said Crawford. "Coming back fresh can be a really good thing. A lot of times people feel like they have to double down, but sometimes we need to take a complete break."

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