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What to Do When You Keep Getting Job Rejections

27 September 2021   |   by Explore Careers
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s one thing to ‘know’ that getting job rejections – either from applications or after attending an interview – is a part of the employment job cycle and another thing to keep experiencing it first hand!

While facing rejections in a competitive job market is something many of us experience, it doesn’t make it feel any better or as though you’re not getting anywhere no matter how hard you try.

It can be helpful to know that everyone faces rejection at some point when applying for jobs – no matter their skill or experience level.

So what can you do to turn rejections into a more positive experience and ensure you’re maximising the lessons learned from a job rejection to help you secure success next time?

5 things to do after receiving a job rejection

Turning a negative experience into a positive isn’t always easy, but you can use it to support your ongoing career journey with a growth mindset and proactive steps!

Here are five things to do after receiving a job rejection that can help you stay motivated and ready for the next challenge:

1. Ask for feedback

Wherever possible, try to secure feedback from any applications or interviews. It could shine a light on any errors you’re making. Mistakes that, until they’re pointed out, you might not know about. Seeking feedback can feel like you’re being criticised and, when you’ve tried your hardest, the last thing you want to hear is everything you’ve done wrong! But keep in mind how positive feedback can be – it’s a learning opportunity for you to make sure you get it right next time. Most employers will be happy to provide feedback, especially following an interview. A simple, polite email or telephone request should be all it takes.

2. Review your process

If you’ve applied for job after job after job and you’re just not hearing anything at all, good or bad, then it may be time to carry out a review of your techniques and application process.

Here’s what to consider:

  • Review your resume – If you’re sending out your resume, and no one’s biting, why are you still using it? Check your resume carefully, or ask a professional to do this for you.
  • Use the right websites – if you’re only using the same few websites over and over again and not hearing back, maybe it’s time to move on. Research agencies and websites that are tailored to your job goals.
  • Cut out the middleman – if you’re using generic recruitment sites, see if you can find out who the employer is and go to them directly.
  • Review your pitch – Find someone else who can cast a professional eye over how you’re selling yourself. A mentor is perfect for this sort of thing.

3. Check your skills match.

One of the most common reasons employers reject a job application is because they fail to see a match between the skills required for the job they’re advertising, and the skills listed on an applicant’s application. You need to explicitly clarify to the employer why you’re the right candidate, which means spelling out the skills you have and why they’re a match for the job at hand. Tailor your resume each time to demonstrate this!

4. Get outside support

When we’re applying for work, it’s easy to get caught up in our own worlds. When this happens, we can miss glaringly obvious issues with our applications. We can also forget all the great people around us who can offer their help. Whether it’s parents, grandparents, older siblings, teachers or careers advisors – get some outside support to help you maximise your chances. You’re never alone when going through this tough process, and building a support network will help you not only stay motivated but also cheer you on when you do succeed!

5. Keep track of your applications.

A job diary is a great way to keep track of everything you’ve applied for, note down login details for different sites, and keep a record of when you should hear back from any applications. If an advert says all applicants will hear back by a certain date, you can set a reminder to follow up. If you’ve sent out 10 CVs speculatively to potential employers, you can note when you’ve sent them and when you’ll be carrying out follow up calls or emails. Taking this positive action will help you feel proactive over what you’re doing, rather than just sitting around not hearing anything at all.

Remember: Don’t take it personally

A rejection isn’t an attack on you as a person or your character (unless you really messed up the interview in some outrageous way but let’s assume you didn’t!)

Rejections are a common occurrence in today’s job market, and most employers simply don’t have the time to respond to every single application individually. It’s important not to get disheartened or frustrated – seek feedback when you can and move on to the next opportunity.

Keep your focus on your main goal – finding your new role!


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