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How to Handle Job Search Rejection

How to Handle Job Search Rejection

Charles Purdy | HotJobs

You had high hopes for this job: The job requirements matched your skill set perfectly. You aced your interviews. And you imagined hearing those sweet words so many of us long to hear:

“You’re hired.”

Instead, you got another rejection letter. According to recent U.S. Labor Department data, 5.5 unemployed Americans, on average, are vying for each job opening—so most interviews will end in rejection.

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And that can be a crushing blow—but it can also be a career-making moment. When you don’t get the job, what should your next steps be?

Don’t beat yourself up about it.
John Kador, the author of “301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview,” second edition (McGraw-Hill), recommends that you try to learn from each rejection—while understanding that it may not be your fault. “Sometimes you didn’t do anything wrong,” he says. “Someone else was more qualified or more connected. Companies sometimes go through the motions of interviewing applicants when they’ve already selected a candidate.”

While the experience is still fresh in your mind, writing down what you’ve learned may help you put a positive spin on the experience—and give you something to refer to later, according to Lewis Lin, of

Be gracious in defeat.
How you conduct yourself after a rejection letter can determine whether that recruiter will consider you again—or perhaps refer you to another recruiter. Liz Lynch, the author of “Smart Networking” (McGraw-Hill), says, “Send a handwritten card thanking them again for their time, reiterating your interest in the company, and expressing your hope that they’ll keep you in mind for future positions. And whatever you do, do not diss them on your blog!”

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