9 ways you can turn a job rejection into your biggest career strength

We've all been there... the dreaded rejection letter/email/phone call, and it's never a pleasant experience. Particularly if you've faced several rejections so far in your job search, it can be easy to feel dejected and disheartened.

You may have been well prepared for the interview and felt that it went very positively, yet the final outcome was not successful for you. This, of course, can be frustrating.

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It's important to remember that the way you handle rejection is just as important as the skills on your CV when it comes to securing a new role. If you allow rejection to knock your confidence and make you doubt your abilities, it could negatively affect your performance in future interviews.

If a rejection email does ping into your inbox, here a few things to remember to help you remain positive, optimistic and motivated.


1. Don't take it personally
Don't use the job interview as a measure of your professional worth. If you've prepared fully and tried your best, there's little else you could have done. The decision to not hire you was based on the company's specific criteria and needs which may or may not have anything to do with how you showed up at the interview. That you weren't the perfect match doesn't mean that you're not an outstanding professional with excellent attributes and talents.

2. Don't bring up the past
It's funny how failures have a way of drudging up all our past failures, as well as all the negative feelings associated with the failures. It's as if our minds go into over-drive then our collective unconscious kicks in and we're on autopilot into the failures of our past. Stay present; don't let the past take over.

3. Ask yourself questions
Ask yourself questions so you learn from the experience. What would you have done differently? What did you learn from the interviewing process? How would you have handled yourself differently? By asking questions, we focus on learning and growth and consequently move forward.

4. Accept reality
Accept that rejections are a part of the job search. Buttress yourself emotionally to handle the sadness that comes with rejection. Know that rejection is going to happen repeatedly throughout our lifetime; accept rejection as a part of life.

5. Keep it in perspective
Being rejected doesn't mean that your professional qualifications and personal attributes are anything less than spectacular. Employers weigh many considerations when recruiting staff - many of these factors are beyond your control. Keep it in perspective; their decision doesn't necessarily reflect on you.

6. Accept responsibility; don't blame others
Without blaming yourself or beating yourself up, accept responsibility for your part in the rejection. Take ownership for your contribution.

7. You're not alone
Know that every day, countless others are sharing your experience. Seek out others -- the mutual support and shared knowledge will be enormously helpful. Contacts and job leads, as well as friendships and offers to share technical expertise with each other, result when connecting with others who are on a similar job search journey.

8. Stretch Yourself!
Go to the gym and stretch beyond what you think your limits are. Find a place in your life that you can "go to the edge" and be extreme. Don't take life so seriously. Do an activity you've never done before and you'll rejuvenate yourself.

9. A fresh approach
Don't carry interview baggage around with you. Approach each new job opportunity with a fresh perspective and a new approach. Tailor your CV to best match a new opportunity and fully research and prepare for a new interview. If you made mistakes or felt unprepared in your last interview - learn from this but don't keep it at the forefront of your mind, it will only make you nervous. Every company and hiring manager is different and will have a different idea of the 'ideal candidate.' Keep a fresh approach while remaining true to your personality and experience.