Most people get rejected from a job at least once in their lives. Career setbacks happen to everyone — even Madonna, Andy Warhol and U2 faced rejection at some point in their careers.
But after you’re told no, you are often left to wonder how and why it happened. Rejection letters have a history of being vague about why you were passed over for the job and instead leave you only with a thanks for your interest. After all the time and effort put into applying to the job, you deserve some feedback.
So what can you do to learn from your setback? Here are three ways to handle your rejection and gain some insight in the process.
Keep negative emotions in check
Paul Freiberger, president of Shimmering Resumes, a career counseling and resume writing firm explains, “Even though being rejected leaves you bitter, angry and defeated, this is not the time to show those emotions.” Instead, send them a note of thanks for the consideration and well-wishes for the right person. “This is the mark of a grownup,” says Freiberger, “this could make you someone they’d keep in mind for the future.”
Don’t expect a lengthy explanation
Employers tend to be tight-lipped when it comes to responding to rejected candidates because giving you an explanation can cause problems surrounding litigation, Freiberger explains. While getting feedback may be something that is helpful for you, don’t come across like you are demanding an answer for why you were passed over. If you get feedback — great! But if not, don’t push the issue.
When responding to a rejection letter, your note doesn’t need to go to everyone involved. “Write to the person who seemed the most involved, or if not them, the hiring manager,” explains Freiberger. Also, make sure you include something company-specific in your letter to avoid sounding like you are “sending these notes in bulk,” according to Freiberger.
Don’t burn any bridges
Even after receiving a rejection, anything can happen. You could have left such a great impression that they considered you for a different position or even passed your name to another company. Venting about your rejection or demanding an explanation will not help so make sure you always come across professional and willing to be reconsidered if the opportunity ever arises.
No matter what, rejection is hard to take. The further you get in the hiring process, the bigger the sting. But making it this far has a benefit — you now know small changes can make a big difference. You know what needs work.
The rejection is harsh, but it gives you an idea of what needs to be worked on. Because of this, Freiberger says there is reason to send thanks, even if you’re not feeling very thankful.
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