5 Ways To Make The Best Out Of Professional Rejection

Estimated reading time ~ 3 min
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It’s week three of your interview process and you’ve been ghosted. You’ve already sent the team a follow-up email and all you can do is wait. If you’re lucky you might get that dreaded email politely rejecting your candidacy. Otherwise, the hiring team might just stay in the ghost zone. We know it’s hard not to take all that personally, but in this case, context is your friend. The job market is competitive and that competition is tough: On average about 52 people apply to any given job per day, so if a job’s been posted for a month or two that posting could have received anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 applications! That’s a lot of candidates to sort through and typically only 20% of those applicants get offered an interview.

When demand is high, it can make hiring for a role a challenging decision for hiring managers especially when there are multiple qualified candidates on their rosters. Instead of feeling discouraged after a rejection from the job you wanted, use this moment as a helpful networking opportunity, stay in touch with the employer and build on your list of contacts. You never know when another opportunity, (that may even be a better fit) may pop up.

While you search for your next gig (and potentially sort through a lot of rejections) we’ve recapped 5 ways to cope and turn rejection into an opportunity for growth.

  1. Use every professional moment as an opportunity to network.

If you made it to the last round or even if you just made it to the first round, there’s probably something that you did that made you stand out. Instead of sending a routine thank you note, try sending one that asks for critical feedback on your performance throughout the interview process. While you can always ask for additional rationale on why you didn’t get the job, hiring managers may not always want to be forthcoming. Instead, you could consider asking the team why they thought you were a really strong candidate. You could try something like, “Thank you for the opportunity. Although I did not get the job, I’m curious to hear your opinion about what made me a strong candidate and what I could do more of in the future in case another opportunity were to arise.” The team might be impressed by your openness to feedback and dialogue and could remember you for future opportunities!

  1. Express that you’d like to stay in touch and eventually ask to go out for lunch or grab a coffee.

People appreciate genuine gestures in staying connected as long as it feels like it’s coming from an authentic place.You don’t have to reach out to every person that you interviewed with, but try to pinpoint which person on the team you felt most comfortable with and send them a personalized note. Keep it professional, but keep it genuine. Try something like, “I really enjoyed learning more about the team dynamics and hearing your experience working with the company. Even though it didn’t work out, I’m looking forward to keeping in touch and would love to get lunch sometime soon. Please let me know if you’d be interested, and happy to coordinate with you accordingly.”

  1. Attend networking events.

According to LinkedIn, 85% of people get their jobs through networking. There’s always a new event popping up filled with professionals ready to build authentic relationships. It’s important that you attend these events filled with like-minded individuals—you never know who you’ll meet and what kind of opportunities they have access to that you didn’t even know were out there!

  1. Reach out to others in your network.

A lot of times people either don’t want to ask for help or don’t know how to, but you’d be surprised how far doing so will get you. Although one person you reach out to may not be the connect, they may know someone who can help you. It’s crucial when reaching out to people, that you establish a healthy balance with the conversation that both builds an authentic connection with them and let’s them know what your intentions are. You don’t want to only reach out when you need something. Don’t let your professional relationships expire. Simply reaching out on LinkedIn can break the ice.

  1. Back to the drawing board.

There’s so many opportunities out there that it can get overwhelming to keep track of it all. Try making a tracking document where you can stay up to date with companies that you are interested in. Create a few columns like, “company name, role, contact, and application status.” Use this document as a reference for when you are job searching and make sure to regularly check out the opportunities listed and add new ones that peak your interest.

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