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Dealing With Job Application Rejection

Published: Monday 11th May 2015

Stressed student with hands on head pulling his hair

Sigmund Freud said: ‘Sometimes when we are going through pains of rejection, it feels like a global conspiracy.’ 

The same applies when you’re looking for a job. A rejection letter can cause sadness, frustration, anger, or loss of self-esteem. Fortunately, there are things you can do that can help you handle rejection. 

You can’t win all the time…

Your first job application probably won’t be successful. In fact, throughout your career, you can realistically expect to be turned down for many jobs. As a job seeker, learning to deal with rejection and avoiding despondency are important skills to learn in your efforts to move up the career ladder. 

If employers get back to you at all, you’ll see a lot of instances of ‘we’ll keep your application on file’, or ‘other applicants had more relevant experience’ – not only for school leavers or people changing career. Even the most qualified, experienced candidates will face rejection at one time or another. The trick is not to let it dent your confidence or make you doubt your abilities. If you do, it could lead to lowering your sights and applying for positions for which you are over-qualified, or worse still, see you take a step down the career ladder instead of upwards.

 …but you can learn by experience

Instead, you should try to learn what you can from your job-hunting endeavours. Of course, this is easy said than done, especially, if you get no response whatsoever. But, you could respond to a rejection letter with a polite email asking for pointers on how you could’ve done better. Any information gained can be used to tailor further job applications. 

If you’re feeling particularly fed up after a run of repeated rejection letters, sit down, take stock and focus on where you might be going wrong and where you can improve. Perhaps get a friend to review your CV, or work on your letter writing skills. Knowing how to write a cover letter is essential if you want to get to interview stage. 

 Go Back To Basics

Think of the recruitment process in simple terms:

– Identify the jobs you want to go for

– Read the job details carefully, focusing on what’s needed

– Research the company

– Tailor your CV to match the skills and attributes required

– Learn how to write a cover letter that can sell what you have to offer

– Make sure your application gets to the most relevant person

– If necessary, follow up for more details or to make sure your application has been received

 Your Next Application Could Be One That Gets You The Job

Writing the perfect cover letter, in particular, can make a huge difference to whether or not you are chosen to go through to the next stage of the recruitment process. It shouldn’t be a rehash of your C.V., it should be the place where you incorporate information, which doesn’t have a place on your C.V. For instance, when you do your research on the company and the post you’re applying for, you might be able to include information on an upcoming project where your skills could be of benefit. At the very least it shows you’re interested in the company. There are plenty of online resources that will help you learn how to write a cover letter that can make a huge difference to your chances of success when applying for jobs. 

Before you send off any application, proof it for spelling and grammar. Ideally, get someone else to read it too. If you do get an interview, make sure to re-read your initial application and cover letter, so that you can reference points made, or substantiate claims when asked. 

Finally if you do get a rejection letter, don’t take it personally. Often, rejection is more about the company than the candidate. Hiring managers can be overly cautious. They can also make mistakes. You are the same person you were before you made the application, and, as a jobseeker, no less skilled, experienced, or qualified, than previously. If your own qualifications and experience meet that on the job spec, you’re just as entitled to apply as anyone else. Even after rejection, you may still be the best person for the job. 

If you have recently been dealing with rejection from the jobs you have applied for, why not change the way you search. Zoek is the new job search app which matches job hunters with job vacancies in a faster, smarter way. Having recently taking London and Birmingham by storm, Zoek is now set to launch in Manchester, bringing a new way of recruitment to the North West. Download Zoek today for free on iPhone and Android.

For more job-hunting hits and tips, visit the Zoek blog or follow us on Twitter @ZoekJobApp.


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