We’ve all been there. You found the perfect job, wrote a great cover letter and aced the interview...only to not get the job. It sucks! But instead of letting the rejection get to you, make these small mindset changes and get back out there.
Say Thank You
It seems counterintuitive, but the first the first thing you should do after getting a rejection email is send the hiring committee a thank you note. Tell them that, while you’re disappointed you didn’t get the job, you appreciated the opportunity to meet them and learn more about the department’s work. A response like this demonstrates your professionalism and ensures you don’t burn any bridges. After all, you never know what might happen in the future. There might be problems with their first choice or another position may open up in their department in the next few years. Sending a thank you note is a way to stay on their radar.
Ask For Feedback
In your thank you note you can also ask for feedback about why you didn’t get the position. Ask if there was something missing in your qualifications or what you could do to present yourself as a better candidate in the future. This kind of information can be especially helpful if this was your first time on the job market.
If the hiring committee sends you feedback, accept it graciously and do not push back with a counter-argument. Interviewers are doing you a favour by sharing feedback; they not obligated to do so. Keep in mind that not all employers will be able to give you feedback as some are legally prohibited from sharing this kind of information.
Reframe, Learn, Practice
Change the way you think about the job application process. Reframe it as a learning experience, rather than a test. Each time you write a cover letter and go for an interview it gets a little easier. This is especially true for interviews. Think about what went right and what went wrong in your last interview and how to you can improve. Ask your supervisor or mentor to conduct a mock interview with you so you can put these strategies into practice.
There Isn’t One Perfect Job
Don’t stay fixated on one job, even if it sounds like your dream job. Remember that it might only be perfect for you on paper and that there will be other jobs that match your skills and experience. In a similar vein, don’t stop your job search until you have received a written offer. Even if the job sounds perfect and you nailed the interview, continue applying for other positions. Having other options on the go will give you something to be excited about and soften the blow if rejection comes.
When you’re struggling with rejection, it can help to lean on your network for support and encouragement. They too have faced rejection in the past or might even be in the same boat right now. Talking to others can help you process the rejection and move past it. The people in your network can also offer valuable advice about the field, give you tips on your application materials, and point you towards new opportunities.
Start a Side Hustle
One way to keep your mind off rejection is to start a side project that will contribute to your jobs prospects. You could start a blog, join an advocacy group, or record your own podcast. Projects like this can increase your creativity and grow your confidence—plus give you a leg up on your next round of applications.