Log in

The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

8 Tips for Coping with Rejection

14 Dec 2015 11:38 AM | Anonymous

By Beverly Harvey

Whether you receive a rejection call, letter, email, or no response at all, it is important to remember that rejection is not a reflection of your self-worth. It most likely will take many rejections before you receive an offer.

Learning how to deal with rejection will keep you from sinking into a place of immobilizing despair that prevents forward motion.

Sigmund Freud said, “Sometimes when we are going through pains of rejection, it feels like a global conspiracy.” Those pains of rejection may include sadness, frustration, anger, uselessness, and unworthiness. The main reason people see rejection as pain is because they see it as loss of control and most everyone fears loss of control. Fortunately, there are things you can do that can help you handle rejection with dignity and purpose.

  1. Be aware of your reaction to rejection. Being rejected can feel like a violation of your expectations. This is why you feel offended when you are rejected. When the rejection is very painful or unexpected, it can be scary, making you feel as though the world you live in is unsafe and malevolent. When things do not go the way you expect, you may feel devastated and powerless, especially if you are very attached to a particular outcome.”

    Recognize your thoughts and emotions and realize that it is what you do in response to these thoughts and emotions that determines how you feel about yourself and your job search. You need to acknowledge the rejection, harness your thoughts, and realize that this is part of the process and you’re going to receive several rejections before you secure your next position.

  2. Talk to people you trust. Feelings of rejection may cause you to want to isolate yourself from others to protect yourself from further pain. However, this will only feed the negative emotions of rejection. So, be sure to connect with others—like your career coach, a job search group, a religious group, a mentor, or close friends.

  3. Don’t take it personally. It’s business. In most cases rejection in a job search is more about the company than it is about you personally. Many hiring managers are risk-adverse and fear making a mistake that will cost the company money. Therefore, they are extremely cautious. They reject candidates who don’t appear to be an undeniable perfect fit. While you may feel that you exceed the requirements posted in the job description, perhaps not all of the requirements were disclosed. Alternatively, there may have been an internal candidate that they wanted to promote into the position and posting the position was simply a requirement of the organization.

  4. Ask the interviewer for constructive feedback. Ask him/her what qualifications, credentials, or experience you were missing. If you still feel that you were 100 percent qualified, ask the interviewer what qualifications the selected candidate had that triggered his/her hiring. While it’s too late to defend your candidacy if you have the qualifications mentioned, it may give you some insight into what qualifications you need to articulate more clearly in your next interview.

  5. Avoid over thinking the rejection. Don’t beat yourself up. Realize you are not the perfect candidate for every position you may pursue and you may never know the reason why. Take a minute to reflect on the last time you hired someone: Did you spell out every single qualification and credential you wanted for the position? Most likely you only communicated the most important ones. Then during the interview, you drilled down on details and decided who would be the best fit. Chemistry plays a large role. The hiring manager needs to feel like you are someone that he/she could work with.

  6. Take action and move on—you can only control the controllables. Increase and expand your network and job search activities. Understand that your job search is going to take aggressive action and you don’t have time to worry about recruiters and hiring managers who don’t understand your value or are too consumed with doubt and fear to make a decision.

    The actor, Sylvester Stallone, stated, “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”

    Earl G. Graves, founder and publisher of Black Enterprise Magazine stated, “We keep going back, stronger, not weaker, because we will not allow rejection to beat us down. It will only strengthen our resolve. To be successful there is no other way.”

  7. Develop accomplishment stories to overcome any objections before they are raised. If you know there is an objection that employers will raise, develop a story to talk about before the objection arises that will overpower and dispel the objection.

  8. Keep a positive mental attitude. Log every accomplishment and contribution you have made to every employer in a journal. Record your greatest challenges and how you handled them. Write about a time when you were asked to take on a totally new role and explain how you handled it. Review and add additional details to these log entries frequently. This journal will help you concentrate on your value. It’s also a great resource for creating accomplishment stories for your interviews.

Stay in the
know on the latest trends

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, Career Trends Happy Hour, and you’ll receive the latest information on coaching, consulting, writing, leadership, and business development for career service providers worldwide.

Keep me up to date!

Hi, I’m Marie Zimenoff,

CEO of CTL...

I’m a passionate advocate for career industry professionals and a decades-long practicing career coach myself.

I’m so glad you’re here.

Contact Us

Career Thought Leaders Consortium

3115 E Lion Lane, Suite 160, Salt Lake City, UT 84121

Questions about CTL?


or call 855-333-5793.

Connect With Us


Copyright ©  Career Thought Leaders  · All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software