How to Bounce Back After an Internship or Job Rejection
So you’ve studied the history of the business you’ve applied for, completed all the internship or job interview prep and maybe even went for a coffee with one of the employees you coincidentally befriended at the workplace. A week later and you’ve received an email noticing you that you weren’t selected to fill the internship or job role. Rejection in any form can understandably sting a fair bit- but there is more to learn than to lose in these difficult times. Now is not the time to build up your insecurities by telling yourself you weren’t good enough for that internship or for that job, but to set new goals for yourself to better prepare yourself for the next hurdle. To make the most of a closed door, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can turn a disheartening experience into a motivational one.
Separate Yourself From the Situation
Recruiters have to sift through countless resumes, conduct numerous interviews and tiringly select a small fraction of applicants to hire for that internship or job. The fact a hiring manager considered your Resume and reached out to you to schedule an interview is impressive within itself, and you should acknowledge those small achievements as many others didn’t receive this privilege. By taking on this new perspective, you’ll significantly diminish the feeling of rejection. A healthy and positive strategy to overcome your disappointment is to step back from your screen to celebrate making it that far in the intern or job hiring process.
Don’t Take It Personally
You’re a very accomplished, qualified and talented person, and an internship or job offer rejection is not a measure of your professional worth. It is important that you tell yourself this in times of hardship because your skills and knowledge are not minimised by a small setback. When hiring managers decide to pursue other candidates, they are taking into consideration the needs of the business project or work-wise, the skills needed at the time, and other criteria which you cannot control. Don’t take the defeat as a personal attack! It is very easy to scrutinise yourself for not ‘making it’ to the next internship or job round, but one must remember that recruiters also have a tough job of sorting through an endless list of criteria, so don't be too quick to blame yourself. Sometimes, it’s good to remind yourself that if they decide you're not the best fit for their business as an intern or employee, you’re better off applying your skills elsewhere.
You’re Not Alone
It helps to reassure yourself that it's not an uncommon experience among students and other job ready individuals to face a job rejection. You can try reaching out to others with this shared experience who can empathise with you and provide relevant advice. Remember that everyone at some point – yes even Recruiters have been in the same position as you. Mutual support through enduring similar situations can help propel one another further along your job search journey. In today’s competitive job market, it's possible for hundreds of people to experience job rejections all at once for the same role.
Thank Your Interviewer The Same Day
Maintaining a positive outlook after a job rejection is very crucial in keeping perspective. This way, you remain poised and realistic by not letting any negative feelings accumulate. Sending a thank you email the day of, or following day, will uphold a positive impression on the employer who may still be consolidating a reserve list of candidates to revise a week later for any other internship or job positions. We recommend you reach out to not only the employer, but the specific interviewer you had the pleasure of spending the morning or afternoon with. Everyone plays a challenging role from either end of this business deal and it’s good to show them some gratitude and appreciation for meeting with you. This personal connection will allow you to find job leads in the future if any opportunity arises!
Don’t Burn Bridges
Staying in touch with prospective employers and the company will keep doors open for you even if they seem closed. Having personal connections with these networks might lead to the attainment of internships or jobs down the line, or provide you insights on upcoming events to develop your career journey. Taking the proactive approach to nurture professional relationships will build your confidence, especially since you’ll never know when your paths may cross again.
Learn From The Experience
You may find that after being rejected, you’re left on a vague note without enough information or feedback from the interviewer to help you improve your internship or job application skills. To alleviate any doubts you've imposed upon yourself, ask yourself introspective questions and clearly recount every stage of your application to see where you can fill out the gaps in your skillset. Some questions you can ask yourself are:
- What could you have done differently?
- What could be missing in your resume?
- What did you learn from the interview stage?
- How effectively did you express yourself when making first impressions with the interviewer?
- Did you describe and convey your strengths well enough?
Being introspective and taking initiative to plan corrective action will enable you to fix any mistakes and polish up your interviewing ability. Targeting these weaknesses will in turn give you the real competitive advantage in your next application. You don't want to repeat any mistakes in the future or you’d actually waste your time delivering sub-par interview performances. Rejection can be difficult to overcome in the short term but the push-back feeling you get from it is an invaluable learning curve to position you for future growth as an upcoming intern or employee.
Retry For That Dream Job!
You’ve reflected on your experience, kept in touch with your former interviewers and maintained a positive outlook. It’s time to cash in on your upskilling! You already know the pace and vibe of the internship or job interview, and you can expect the type of questions asked. You’re now better prepared for the interview and you’ll be showing more interest in the role if you stay loyal to applying for the role. Don’t give up on your passions!
There isn’t any use in beating yourself up after receiving a rejection letter for job applications. Adopt a positive outlook and consider your shortcomings as an opportunity to reflect and grow, and you’ll be better prepared for future interviews. You did well enough to pass their preliminary recruitment stages so you’ll definitely have a greater chance the next time and are one step closer to getting your dream internship or job!