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How to Bounce Back After a Job Rejection

Looking for jobs is tough. The countless resumes, the waiting. The building hope when you get called for an interview … and the disappointment that comes when you don’t get the job. We’ve all been there and it stinks.

It can be dispiriting when your job search is taking longer than you thought and you’re getting more rejections than offers. But there are good things to take from this process – until you find the right job and get that new position.

Here are a few ways to find the positive and keep moving forward.

Vent to your friends.

Just like a break-up or a fight with someone close to you, the disappointment of being told “thanks but no thanks” from a potential employer will sit and take up space in your brain until you let it out. Talk to someone supportive, in person or over the phone, about what happened. This is a chance to let out any petty complaints, too — maybe their carpeting was gross, or their receptionist was snobby, whatever fits! — and get the negativity out. Keeping it bottled up or burying it down deep won’t help matters.

Think, dispassionately, about what went wrong.

When you’ve had a few days, or a week, to cool down and start to move forward, think about the interview process. Were there questions you could’ve answered differently? Were you prepared for what they asked you? Thinking back on the job description and any information they provided during your interview, do you have the skills they needed? Maybe it’s simply a matter that you weren’t the best candidate for the job, but maybe there are things you could work on for the next interview. Make a list and use it to prepare — maybe even practice a few interview questions with a friend to be even more ready for the next interview! (Because there will be other interviews for other jobs.)

Say thanks.

Here’s where you can Be The Bigger Person. When you’re feeling less raw about the rejection, send a little thank you note to the hiring manager. Look, this job didn’t work out for you, but if you really liked the company, a little gesture like thanking them for their time might help them keep you in mind if a new position, more in line with your experience, opens up in the future. It’s also just a really classy and professional move that is likely to impress.

Think about your skills.

During the course of the interview process, were there phrases or skills that were referenced that you don’t have? If you’re applying to similar kinds of jobs, it might be in your best interest to boost your skillset. There are tons of online courses for just about anything, many of them free or low cost, and adding new skills or deepening your understanding will always help. It’ll look good on the resume and shows a potential employer that you’re up for taking the initiative and improving yourself without it being required. These are great attributes to have!

Dive back in.

Keep moving forward. Take a fresh look at job postings and see what’s out there. Are there skills you didn’t highlight before that might be applicable in other jobs? Rearrange your resume a little and make those shine. Do you have special interests or talents that might make you a great candidate? Include those in your new cover letters. There’s always something to learn from every experience in life — tell your story and explain why you’re a great candidate for your next employer.


Getting rejected stings, but it’s not the end of the road. Your great new job is out there, just waiting to be found!

If you’d like a little help in the meantime, or want to take on some temporary work until you find what you’re looking for, call Sterling Personnel. We work with outstanding companies looking for someone just like you — and they’re eager to get you started. Get in touch with Sterling Personnel today!