How To Deal With Rejection In Your Job Search

By Allison Elder on May 30, 2016

Much like rejection in romantic relationships, rejection during a job search can be hard to handle. Whether applying for summer internships or full-time jobs after graduation, most of us will deal with a lot of rejection before we find our best fit.

Here are my best tips on dealing with rejection and staying motivated during your job search.

Scatter your applications. While applying for jobs during the busy school year, it can be easy to let them pile up and apply all at once when you have free time. The problem with applying all at once: you might also get your rejections all at once.

It’s extremely hard to handle rejection and continue to feel motivated with so much negativity piled on. Try your hardest to scatter your applications, so the responses won’t pile up on you.

As soon as you get a rejection, send another application. When getting a rejection from an application or after an interview, your first instinct might be to wallow in the sadness and disappointment. If you let yourself spiral for too long, it’ll be difficult to return to the job search. Take a few minutes to be sad, and then immediately start to prepare your next application. It’ll reinvigorate your hope and it might even end up in a job.

Talk to friends. This one might seem obvious, but it can be difficult to talk to friends about rejection. Just remember: your friends are most likely going through the same experience. Share your experiences so that your friends can give advice and comfort.

Visit career services. If your university has a career services office, visit them. You can talk to them about your experiences, let them look over your resume, and get advice on what to do during job interviews. Even if you feel you’re not doing anything wrong during interviews, there’s always room to improve and become a better candidate. If you aim to improve yourself every time you’re rejected, it’ll make the process a lot easier as time goes on.

Take the little victories. If you got an interview, celebrate! Even if you didn’t get the job, you got a lot further than a lot of others. Every application and every interview is an opportunity to learn and improve. Soon enough, you’ll have a larger victory to celebrate.

Remember your worth. Sometimes college can feel like one long, extended search for a job after graduation and if you don’t succeed, you’ve failed. As important as finding a job is, it’s not everything. The job you get or don’t get doesn’t define you, so don’t let it. Even if you don’t get the job you’ve been dreaming of, even if you have to take a couple of months off after graduation, even if you have to continue living with your parents — life goes on. Keep applying, keep following these tips, and stay motivated.

Allison is a third year student at the University of Virginia majoring in English and Media Studies.

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