a rejection letter

Turn rejection to your advantage

Everyone will experience being turned down for a job they want at some time in their lives, but the trick is not to get disheartened. Instead find out how to make the most of the situation.

Getting a rejection letter after a job interview is always a blow, particularly if you thought the interview went well. However, while you may not have got the job you wanted, there are ways to turn this situation into a positive.

Ask for feedback

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting in touch with the company to ask for feedback about why you weren’t offered the job, although be prepared to be told that they don’t give feedback to unsuccessful candidates, especially if they are a large organisation.

The least hurtful reason to hear is that they simply chose someone more qualified for the job than you were. This means that, although you probably did your best in the interview, someone else came along whose skill set more closely matched what they were looking for.

In this case, ask them where your skills or experience was lacking compared with the person they chose, and then ask them or find out for yourself how to improve on those areas. Maybe you need to think about getting some more qualifications that would help you get the type of job you want in the field you are interested in.

On the other hand, they might tell you that you didn’t seem to be very well prepared for the interview, or that they felt that you hadn’t done your research on the company or the job on offer. Not appearing enthusiastic or clued up enough about a position makes you look as if you don’t care if you get it or not, so that’s something to work on for future interviews.

If your feedback showed that you’d let yourself down by turning up late or being under prepared, or if you feel that you messed it up in some other way, learn from this and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Other opportunities

If your feedback isn’t too bad – and you didn’t totally disgrace yourself at the interview – ask whether they’d be prepared to keep your details on file and let you know about any other vacancies that might arise within the company that you could be suitable for.

If they liked you at the interview but the only reason you didn’t get the job was because they found someone better suited to the role, it is possible that they’d be willing to bear you in mind for another position.

Being politely proactive about wanting a job with their organisation lets them know that you are serious about working there, and helps keep the door open for further opportunities within that company.

Offer to intern

If you’re absolutely determined to work for a specific company but didn’t get the job you applied for, you can always ask them if they have any internships or work experience placements on offer.

This can help you get a foot in the door – although bear in mind that internships don’t necessarily lead on to a guaranteed job with a company – and will help you get to know exactly what the job entails and what kind of skills they expect their employees to have. It’s also a good way for you to find out if you really like the reality of working for that organisation as much as you thought you would.

Get networking

It’s more than likely that there are lots of other companies out there that operate in the field you want to work in. If you get rejected by one then think about applying to the others, making good use of the feedback you’ve received from your previous unsuccessful application.

Make the most of your social networks – both virtual and in the real world – to tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job, and the kind of industry you want to work in. By spreading the word about the kind of job you want, and what skills you have to offer, you’ll boost your chances of hearing about the kinds of vacancies you are interested in.

Stay on track

A job rejection isn’t the end of the world, so try to stay positive about your continuing search. Asking for feedback will help you learn from your mistakes and see where you have any skills gaps that need filling. If you stay focused on your job search and make sure you take every opportunity to let people know the kind of work you are looking for then something will come up eventually. In fact, you’ll probably be an even better fit for that role than the ones you’ve been turned down for already.

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