No… for now: Responding to a job rejection

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You’re in the market. You find the perfect job posting. You apply and interview, and then comes that generic—and all too familiar—“unfortunately, we have decided to move forward with another candidate.”

Here we go again.

You look to your friend, Ben, who cruised through the process with ease, as if quickly landing a position is an expectation. What you don’t know is that Ben was rejected seven times before his luck changed.

So keep your head up.

The reality: rejection is part of the job search. That doesn’t mean it can’t have a silver lining (starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper). When that email comes through, simply take a deep breath and turn negativity into possibility.

Step One: Stay composed. 

Hate Job

That traditional first grade lesson—“keep calm, cool and collected”—will come in handy in the real world. With rejection comes frustration, which is natural. As with all things, when you care about something, emotions come into play. But the best course of action is to keep them at bay.

Step Two: Follow-Up.

You’ve gathered your thoughts and emotions and reasons for rejection—if they provided any. Now it’s time to contact the recruiter or hiring manager. At this point, you can choose to either email, send a letter or call to reach back out. All three can have their advantages. What is important in this step is to gather useful feedback about your rejection and express your gratitude for the opportunity you were given. Now, what can you improve upon for future opportunities?

Step Three: Network.Social-Networks

Building a network with strong connections is key for future success. Don’t burn bridges and simply move on. A job rejection does not have to be the end of a relationship with a recruiter or hiring manager. Many more positions meeting your qualifications will likely arise in the future. Creating and maintaining a strong relationship will build rapport, and that could open the door to callbacks for future positions or leads with other companies.

The bottom line is that recruiters and hiring managers like to know there is a qualified, trustworthy and eager candidate ready to jump at the next position that comes available. Why can’t that candidate be you?

Remember, how you respond to rejection reflects directly upon your character as a candidate. Take a ‘no’ and turn it into a ‘not now’.

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