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What to do when you have been rejected from a job application

Published on 19th June 2020

There are many things in life which are out of our control and that may impact us in different ways, although what is important is how we use these experiences to better ourselves as we move forward. If you're seeking advice during your job search, get in touch here.

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” - Maya Angelou

The job search can often be a rather difficult time for many, especially when it seems that each application fails to grab traction or ceases to move forward. So, how can the “rejection” from a job application be used constructively and in a way that better prepares you from application to application?

Here are some tips and tricks that might help answer that question:

1. Don’t take it personally

It has always been important to be able to separate your professional life from your personal life, and this is no less important when applying for jobs! Don’t take an employer’s rejection of your professional profile as a reflection of yourself, this is often just a decision made based on how your skills compare to the job spec not who you are as a person.





2. Request detailed feedback

One of the best ways to move forward and progress constructively after a job application rejection is to take in as much feedback as you can get from the employer or recruiter. From a poll I ran on linked, only 35% of candidates are asking for in-depth feedback, whereas 47% are only reviewing feedback if it’s received or 19% aren’t reviewing feedback at all. In order to grow, develop, and strengthen your application profile it is paramount that you use as much feedback as possible from previous applications to make the necessary changes or adjustments.

3. Keep your sights set forward 

Although it is important to reflect on the past to guide your future actions, it is important to keep your focus on moving forward and planning out the future. This means to not get caught up in the applications that have been rejected, but rather focus on putting forward the strongest applications possible moving onwards.

4. Reflect and revise

 Use the time in between job applications to reflect on why it didn’t work out and revise your approach based on this. Use any of the negative feelings that might come with the rejected application to motivate you to stay determined and keep the momentum going to land that right role.

5. End the process on a good note with the employer

It’s important to not take it personally on yourself but to also not think of it personally for the employer, as these decisions they make are often very difficult and are based on the best business decision. So, don’t hold a grudge on the employer or recruiter but instead respect the decision that has been made and setup the possibility for a lasting professional relationship. This means that even though things didn’t go as planned in that instance, there can still be the possibility for a professional relationship to flourish and possibly work together down the track.


The job application process can be a trying time, especially when things seem to continually not go your way! Although the key part that is in your control is how you handle rejection and use it motivate you moving forward – “we earn or we learn”. Determination is paramount, don’t give up, stay positive, and the right role will come along!

If you are ever looking for any advice of your CV, interview prep, or general career advice, I’m always happy to have a chat and see where I can be of assistance, get in touch here