How you can turn a job rejection into something positive

Missed out on your dream job? Here’s what to do next…

Whether it’s the CV you sent to never hear back about, the second interview that never got booked or the rejection for your dream job after getting into the final stages, not getting the job can hurt.

No matter what point you are at in your career, it is likely you have (or will at some point) experience being turned down for an opportunity you wanted. The most important thing is how you decide to handle the situation. It’s perfectly acceptable (and normal!) to feel upset, angry, disappointed or even cheated, but there are always positives to be found – after all, there will always be another opportunity, and it could be even better.

So, don’t wallow in self-pity for too long. Take action and make a conscious effort to turn a negative into a positive.

5 things to do when you don’t get the job

1. Seek constructive feedback

Don’t just accept the rejection and move on without asking for feedback. You may not always get a detailed response, but when you do, you can use this information to improve in future interviews. It can also give you some clarification as to why you weren’t chosen.

Even if you don’t get feedback, or don’t feel that the feedback is helpful, you are showing the employer or recruiter genuine interest, maturity and a desire to improve, which could open up opportunities in the future.

2. Analyse and reflect

Be brutally honest with yourself surrounding your performance. Were you sufficiently prepared for the questions that were asked? Were there gaps in your skills or experience? Did you give clear and concise answers that properly conveyed your point? Use this to identify where you could improve and specific goals to achieve before your next interview.

3. Enhance your interviewing skill set

Consider speaking with a professional (e.g., career coach, recruiter) to enhance your skills when interviewing. Simulating interviews in a 1:1 setting can help identify areas you would not otherwise have been aware of.

You can also consider setting up a mock interview with a trusted family, friend or even colleague.

4. Network and build relationships

Don’t assume because you didn’t get the job that you won’t ever work with that company or the people you met during the interview process. Often, you will find new opportunities by making the most out of networking with people in your industry and can use this as an opportunity to build new relationships.

If you were specifically interested in working for this particular company, express your continued interest and follow up on future openings.

5. Stay positive and move on

Keep pushing forward and don’t lose determination. Rejection does not mean the end of the road, nor does it mean time wasted. Use this as a learning experience bringing you a step closer to success.

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