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Here’s What to Do When You Get Rejected for a Job

Here’s What to Do When You Get Rejected for a Job

Job Seeker Tips / May 21, 2020

We’ve all been there. You get all excited about a job you were interviewing for. Your resume was stellar. Your cover letter was well-crafted, tailor made for the position. You nailed the interview. You even started imagining yourself in the role, wondering how you’d ever spend all that extra salary. And then you get that email that you didn’t get the job. It’s soul crushing at first, but you can overcome it. And if you haven’t been there before, you probably will one day.

Unemployment is higher than ever right now, so you’ll be competing against some top-notch candidates as you look for jobs. After the initial mix of anger, sadness, and hopelessness, here’s what you can do when you’ve been rejected for a job.

Explore your motivesHere’s What to Do When You Get Rejected for a Job

Okay, you’re bummed about the job. But ask yourself why you were so interested. And be honest. Were you excited about a new challenge? A chance for professional growth? Was the work you hoped to sign on to do really stimulating and engaging? Or were you just excited about the prestige of the company and some of the perks?

If you were enthused about the company but not necessarily about the role, maybe you’re better off. Remember that experienced interviewers can sense your passion, and they might have thought you weren’t really that excited. If you really loved the company, keep your eyes peeled for another position that you can get excited about.

Evaluate your preparedness

A lot of job seekers underestimate how much preparation they need to do, especially if they’ve been searching for a while—eventually their search just goes to autopilot. Don’t get complacent. Ask yourself whether you fully prepared for this role? Your resume and cover letter should have been customized for the position. You should have researched the company and prepared your answers accordingly, echoing their mission statement, values, current events, and maybe even some tidbits about their key personnel.

Reassess everything

Here’s your chance to be a Monday morning quarterback. What else might have led to your rejection? Even though your interview went well, there are so many other factors that hiring managers consider. It could have been something one of your references said, an inappropriate post on one of your social media accounts, or maybe it was that one of the other candidates was simply more qualified than you.

Be honestHere’s What to Do When You Get Rejected for a Job

Go back through all your interactions and determine whether or not you should have seen this coming. Were there red flags? Were you blindly optimistic despite the fact that your qualifications didn’t quite align?

Target your area for improvement

Regardless of what reason you land on for why you didn’t get the job, you should do a bit of self-reflection and identify something you could do better. After all, you might as well make the most of the situation and make your job candidacy a little bit stronger. Maybe you can fine-tune your interviewing skills, plan on doing a bit more pre-interview research next time, or proofread your resume a little more carefully.


For more tips on overcoming rejection as you navigate your job search, check out our website at

Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh