Dealing with a job rejection can be frustrating, especially when you have exerted all your efforts and resources into sending countless job applications and attending job interviews for weeks only to be rejected in the end.

Rejection is one of those painful things that we all face which can prompt mental health stress. However, it is important for us to process our emotions and turn these negative experiences into development and learning opportunities to become stronger candidates.

When you are resilient and have a positive outlook, you will feel motivated to practice and improve your interview skills so that you can do it better next time.

dealing with rejection at work
dealing with rejection at work

Rather than giving up hope, consider these tips to help you move forward. Here are 5 ways how you can stay positive after job rejection.

1. be persistent to get the job

One of the key things about finding a job is persistence. Job seekers tend to apply to 10 to 15 roles a day and have interviews lined up with two to three employers so that they have options. If we look at this from the employer’s viewpoint, they may be receiving 50 to 200 applications for a role, more if the job market is good for the candidates.

They may not have the time to respond to your application and if you are not shortlisted for the role, yours may go unanswered.

Instead of feeling dejected, reach out to find out why your job application was rejected so that you can figure out what you need to improve on. Sometimes, employers may ask you to come back in a year when the time is right.

asking feedback after job rejection
asking feedback after job rejection

2. don’t take it personally and learn from your experiences

Don't dwell on what happened or take it personally when you receive a rejection. You’re not alone in this journey, and there is someone out there who is experiencing the exact rejection that you’re facing too. After all, most employers can only hire one person for the role.

A job application rejection does not always mean that you are unqualified for that particular position. It could be that they decided to hire someone who has more experience than you, or that one of their existing employees took up the role as part of an internal referral programme.

Regardless of what the reason is, you should prioritise your mental wellness. Allow yourself time to process the rejection. If you are still very interested in the role, you can ask for feedback from the employer. As someone who is evaluating you, they may be able to identify strengths and weaknesses that you did not know about before. You could even ask them for recommendations on the type of jobs and companies that you should be applying for to develop your skills.

The ability to remain steadfast when faced with adversity is a sign of a great employee. If the employer is impressed with your capabilities to be up-front about improving yourself, they will remember you and may reach out to you in the future when there is a suitable job opportunity for you.

3. keep calm and move forward

Even if you are rejected from a job you really want, you should remain graceful and respectful. You do not want to burn any bridges, especially since you might cross paths with them for any future opportunity.

It is an important social etiquette to abide by, and would be beneficial in other parts of your personal life.

how to bounce back from job rejection
how to bounce back from job rejection

Companies may be overwhelmed with the number of job applications, and you should give them a week to respond to you before you follow up. It is good to stay professional in your follow up emails to the employer, as they may just be too busy with work to manage the hiring process.

Re-attach your CV in your email so that it is easier for them to evaluate your skills and experiences to get back to you quickly. If they do not respond to you two weeks after your follow up, then you should move forward to apply for other jobs.

If the hiring process ends up with a rejected application, you should respond graciously and let the employer know that you are keen to work with them again if the opportunity arises.

Keeping a healthy and positive mindset helps you perform well in future job interviews with other employers. Over time, you’ll also build your resilience and keep your mind in the game.

4. identify your skills gap

You can transform rejection into an opportunity to assess the relevancy of your current skills. Rather than focusing on the rejection, recognise that you’re doing well given such extraordinary circumstances.

Use the hiring manager’s feedback to analyse your skill gaps and why you were not a good fit for the role. There are many assessment tools available online, such as Pymetrics, WebMentor Skills, and KnowledgeSmart to understand from a third-person view. They use behavioural and critical skills assessments to evaluate job seekers to measure their unique capabilities and weaknesses.

You can also use this time to re-evaluate your priorities, such as the types of careers, organisational culture and management style that allows you to realise your true potential in the workplace.

some questions you can ask yourself to reset your career goals:


  • What jobs piqued my interest when I was younger but I have never pursued them?
  • Who are the employers that I’ve always wanted to work for? 
  • Do work better when I have more autonomy or does having a structured process work better? 
  • What in-demand skills are popular in my field?

5. upskill and reskill to increase your hiring attractiveness

Once you are aware of what you need to work on, you can consider signing up for professional training courses or re-skilling programmes. Consider engaging a career coach to assist you in determining which of your skills are transferable and target your applications to organisations that could benefit from those skills.

As the saying goes, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. If you want different results, then you must be willing to experiment with different approaches.

When you take these extra steps in your job search, you demonstrate to prospective employers that you are willing to invest in yourself rather than sitting around and waiting for things to happen. Furthermore, employers are more likely to hire skilled candidates who already have the expertise and experience of working in similar roles, as they can get the ground running.

If you are currently employed, consider taking on a project to enhance your resume. If finding a job is proving to be difficult, consider taking some time off to upskill and re-skill yourself or think about taking a contract role for on-the-job training.

how to handle a job rejection
how to handle a job rejection

You have to be willing to try new things and embrace change and continue investing in yourself so that you stand a better chance at securing a job the next time. Remember that no matter how qualified you are, nobody gets a job on their first try. It’s all about perseverance and adapting to the new normal, and most importantly, keep your chin up!

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Regain your confidence in finding your dream role and start your job searching. Visit our latest job listings to explore career opportunities that fit your skills and career specialisations. You can also reach out to our recruitment specialists for career advice, insights for better career development opportunities.

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