How to deal with rejection from a graduate job
Nobody enjoys rejection. It happens to us all in a multitude of different situations, and is almost always unpleasant. Graduates applying for jobs in the current climate might end up experiencing more rejection than usual (unless you are utterly brilliant or very lucky) and it can start to dent anyone’s confidence. It isn’t unusual to feel as though the odds are stacked against you, but there are ways of dealing with a negative outcome that leaves you with the ability to keep going and stay motivated.
The main thing you should be able to take away from any stage of an application process is having learned something. This might be as small as drafting and re-drafting a cover letter or manoeuvring awkward silences in a phone interview. Keep notes on every application you go through and find ways of improving each time.
Being rejected after reaching the face-to-face interview stage can be the worst of all, and leave you questioning everything down to your haircut. Just remember that employers are human too. The key thing is not to take it personally. They might have really liked your haircut, but you simply weren’t a perfect fit for the job this time, and chances are you wouldn’t have been happy there. The best thing you can do post-interview is try to get feedback. Feedback can be the one thing that takes you from an unemployed graduate to a young professional within two interviews, so try your best to get a response from your interviewer.
Find a way to mix things up. If your job search really isn’t going your way, then do something dramatic. Work on altering your interview style or give your CV a visual boost – do some research and try at least one thing that will make you stand out. It can become easy to fall into a pattern when applying to hundreds of graduate jobs, so choosing to do something a bit differently can have a huge payoff.
Here’s an idea to go one step further: why not select two or three jobs that really jump out at you and spend some time tailoring your application to absolute perfection? Make a knockout cover letter and a CV that ticks all of the boxes for that particular company, thereby becoming their ideal candidate.
Finally, don’t give up. Resilience takes character, and learning to cope with rejection builds on that. Staying focused on positives (such as good feedback) instead of wallowing in negative vibes will eventually mould you into a more balanced, confident human being in all aspects of life.
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