Dealing with Rejection

I think as a student, dealing with rejection is something you have to become pretty accustomed to. Whether it's desperately trying to secure a couple of weeks work experience or a part time job in the field you're studying in, or even harder - finding that dream starter job post-graduation.

Its easy to be overwhelmed with rejection and let it get you down, and whilst I think it's more than okay to be disappointed and a little sad when you don't get invited for an interview, or you miss out in the last minute, it's important not to dwell and to try and find some positives in each rejection. (It's also pretty sucky when people don't respond at all, just a generic "sorry you have been unsuccessful" will stop me days of panicking that my email account is working against me and not even delivering my applications!)

Sometimes rejection and 'failure' serves as a really great pointer as to what areas you need to improve in. Recently I was invited to the second interview for a part time PR role with the job ultimately going to the other candidate. Whilst I was assured it was about what she had more of rather than what I didn't have, it's easy to get wound up thinking you're just not good enough. BUT.. After a couple of hours sulking, I tried look at the positives..

  • I've not even graduated and I'm already getting through to second interviews
  • I actually got an interview never mind two, which means unlike a lot of people, my CV is impressive enough to at least get me through the door
  • I know I don't have enough experience yet that employers are looking for so I need to keep ploughing on with that
  • I need to focus my improvements on my interview skills and 'selling myself'

It's great to already be in a position to know what fine tweaking I need to be doing as oppose to starting from scratch when I graduate. Whilst I advise against being bitter with comments like "well it was a shit job anyway".. I do try and think about practical benefits of not getting the job.. Eg. I don't have to rush out to get a new car now and should I chose to study abroad post-grad I have less commitments and more flexibility.

If you are getting through to interviews, you are communicating directly with influencers and you should make the effort to try and use that to your advantage. 
If they are in the industry you are wanting to be in, contacts are golden. Perhaps as a student you could offer to come in and do some work experience - whilst you shouldn't open yourself up to be taken advantage of, doing work experience paid or unpaid only works to your advantage in the end.

Make sure you thank them gracefully for their time in any case and ask for feedback if they haven't given you any. Showing willing, maturity and professionalism in such a well connected industry really is in your best interests.

Finally, I am a big believer that things work out the way they are supposed to. Not in terms of 'fate', Luck follows Action and sitting on your arse doing nothing will not make you a millionaire, but I look back at jobs that I wanted previously and when I didn't get them, something better has come along. When I freaked out about going to University after college I changed my career direction and found a vocation I genuinely love studying with a level of maturity that I would not have had if I had of gone straight to University at 18. 

I am only 22, I have minimum commitments aside from a phone bill and a Netflix account and my whole life is not going to come to a crashing halt because I faced rejection at 22. (Although it may do if my Netflix subscription is suspended!)

Don't fear rejection and don't let it consume you, learn from every NO, make changes and 10 years look back from your "somewhere wonderful" and realise everything does happen for a reason. Keep moving, keep your head up, move on to the next work experience and apply for the next job.. And remember as my favourite quote right now says: "It's easier to steer things that are already moving!"

M x


  1. Dealing with rejection is definitely something I was forced to learn how to do when I was applying for admin jobs in Nottingham. It's a tough field to get into, apparently!

  2. I like how you view rejection. For myself, I've learned that rejection is just a part of life and there is no point getting so worked up about it. Before, I used to take rejection personally. But now, I handle rejection in a better way and I am able to move past it. Life yourself, I look at it from a different perspective (i.e. "I was still called to an interview even though the role had over 100 applicants") and I see it as a chance for other opportunities. After all, when one door closes, another one opens.