How to Get Over Job Rejection

J. M. Cools
Jun 25, 2018 · 5 min read

I say this with the utmost honesty, I’ve been rejected from plenty of jobs in my life. Hell, I got rejected this morning. It’s a huge point of contention for me and it definitely never feels good when it happens. Though as much as we hate it, rejection is a part of life. If you’re anything like me then you might take rejection personally and let it ruin your entire day. It’s time to put an end to that. Here are the steps you can take to get over rejection.

Grieve As Needed

Look, I get it. It sucks not to get the dream job you wanted or that promotion you had your eyes on. Grieving that loss is a normal and healthy process. Don’t feel stupid or weak for doing so. If you need to have a cry about it, do so. If you need to call your friends to get some much-needed encouragement, do that. If you need to journal your sad thoughts away, do it. The important thing to remember about this step is to not let your grief overtake you. Don’t let it cloud your thoughts. Steeping too long in your grief isn’t healthy or practical. You are still powerful and you will get through this.

Don’t Take It Personally

This is advice I even have a hard time taking, but it’s something we all need to hear. Whenever you get rejected for a job it’s easy to think “It’s because I wasn’t good enough” but that’s not true. When applying for potential jobs, you’re being measured on your ability to complete that job. It doesn’t have anything to do with your worth as a person or your abilities in general. There are other times where you complete the job they asked you to but someone with slightly better credentials comes along and they get the job instead. It’s not a reflection on you. It’s just business and that’s the bottom line. The company is looking out for their best interest only.

Look At Your Accomplishments

I tend to be one track minded in a lot of ways. Whenever failure or any sort of rejection comes about, I immediately tend to color myself as just a failure and nothing I have done up to this point matters. But that’s just the pain talking. Any accomplishment made matters. Reminding yourself that you have accomplished many things in your life can help put things back in perspective. After all, if you’ve accomplished something once, you can do it again. Take pride in the victories you already have under your belt and use that as a way to comfort yourself. You are capable, your history proves it.

Use It To Thicken Your Skin

Rejection is a hard pill to swallow. A chalky, horribly tasting pill. But it’s one we all take at some point. Though most companies don’t give a reason as to why you didn’t get the job, you can still glean something from the experience. In life and especially in the writing world, rejection comes with the territory. Not everyone is going to love everything you do and that’s okay. We’re not meant to like everything that comes our way. Instead of focusing on the pain and the sting, use the experience as a way to get accustomed to rejection. The more used to it you are, the less it will hurt the next time rejection comes. You’ll be ready for it.

“A person standing on top of a ladder in the clouds.” by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Focus Back On Your Goals

We all have goals in life. Getting that job was probably one of them. Sure, you didn’t get it, but now it’s time to look at the bigger picture. What are your long-term goals? Focus your attention back on them. This avenue didn’t work out but what are some other ways it could have? What other things can you do to achieve the goals you have set out to complete? Focus your energy and attention on that. Doing so will 1) help you forget about the rejection and 2) will help you do something productive with your time instead of moping all day.

Recognize This Wasn’t Your Only Chance

Opportunities, especially in today’s world, can feel like they only come once in a blue moon. I, personally, feel that way, but it’s not true. The job I got rejected for today wasn’t and isn’t the only chance I’ll get to better my current situation. How do I know that? Because I thought the same thing when I got rejected for a job two years ago, but another opportunity came. They may not come as often as I’d like, but they still do appear. Try to hold onto the hope that another chance will present itself.

Do Something That Makes You Feel Powerful

When you’re feeling down and you’ve already combined all the previous tactics, a great next move is to do something that makes you feel in control. Something that boosts your self-esteem. For me, that’s writing. I feel in control of the words and I take delight in helping others in similar situations. For you that could mean volunteering, shopping, drawing, teaching, or anything else. Do what makes you feel the most powerful as a reminder to yourself that you are powerful. Use the activity as proof that you are capable. You have something to offer and you can and will be victorious in the future.

Keep Looking

This step can be done at one’s own pace. Of course, when you get rejected from a job, the last thing you want to do is try again. Who would want to relive the same pain so soon? I hear you. But if you let one rejection get you down, then you have failed in a way. You have to keep trying in spite of the presence of rejection. If you don’t, you won’t grow or learn and then what was all of this for? I plan to try again once I’m up to it and I hope you will, too. Don’t let any faceless company tell you who you are or what you can do. That’s up to you to decide.

Lastly, the sting never quite leaves, but at some point we have to step in and decide what we’re going to do with this pain. After years of taking rejection from companies, I’m able to bounce back a lot quicker than I was before. It’s a process. One that I hope helps all of you.


J. M. Cools

Written by

Life lessons as they come and other things. Email/hire me author.jmcools@gmail.com

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