Career & Finance

How to Deal With Rejection


You recently interviewed for a position that you’re absolutely thrilled about. You know you completely aced the interview and you’re feeling pretty confident about your chances of landing the job. If you’re being honest, you’ve even started thinking about what you’ll wear on the first day in your new office. So, when you see an email from the hiring manager pop up in your inbox, you’re all set to bust into your victory dance. You anxiously start reading the email, stifling your best dance moves until you have confirmation. Then, you see the infamous line: “We were impressed with your qualifications, but…” and your stomach drops. You can hardly believe it but you’re being rejected for a job that you thought you had in the bag.

Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Rejection isn’t fun, but it’s something we all have to deal with—whether it’s in a career setting or not. So, learning how to effectively cope with those all-too-common “thanks, but no thanks” messages is crucial.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. No matter how you spin it, being rejected is a blow to your ego. And, while your first inclination might be to drown your sorrows in a glass of wine (or three), there are more effective ways to deal. We promise.

So, walk through these steps to effectively cope with rejection. (You can indulge in that wine later.)

1. Take a Pause

We all know that being rejected hurts. But that doesn’t mean you should do anything rash. So before hastily firing off an angry email to the hiring manager that turned you down, it’s important you take the time to pull your thoughts together and compose yourself.

Pausing for a deep breath is important for a couple of reasons. First, it prevents you from actually clicking “send” on that seething email. Second, it also gives you a bit of time to analyze the situation and decide on next steps.

Reacting immediately might seem like a good idea in the heat of the moment. But it is almost a guarantee that it will quickly result in one of those dreadful “What on earth did I just do?!” moments. So, take the time to collect yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

2. Vent About It

Of course, I can advise you to remain professional about rejection until I’m blue in the face. But, let’s just face the facts—rejection sucks. You put your all into something hoping for the best outcome, only to wind up disappointed. And, you’re more than justified in feeling upset about those circumstances.

Keeping all of those feelings and negative emotions bottled up inside is only going to cause you to dwell further on those circumstances. So, grab one of your good friends, your mom, or your significant other and get your frustrations out there.

No, you don’t need to talk the issue to death. But, taking a little bit of time to vent and air your grievances will help to relieve some of your tension, putting you in a better state of mind to move through the next steps.

3. Ask for Feedback

Now, it’s time for the hard part. Getting rejected was already tough enough. So, you’d probably like to cushion what’s left of your ego and sweep the entire situation under the rug rather than finding out the nitty-gritty details of why you were turned down.

You’ll receive some of your most valuable feedback from the people who reject you.

But, as tough as it can be to swallow your pride and ask for feedback, it’s truly an important part of the process. Reaching out to ask for tips and insight illustrates that you’re a respectful and professional candidate who’s constantly seeking personal improvement and growth—without taking constructive criticism too personally.

Plus, most obviously, you’ll actually receive some of your most valuable feedback from the people who reject you. Yes, we all love hearing glowing compliments about how wonderful we are. But that doesn’t actually give us any suggestions we can implement to better ourselves. So, while rejection will also be rough, remember to look at it as an opportunity to improve!

4. Move On

One of the pieces of advice you’ll hear most often about rejection is: “Don’t take it too personally.” But, I won’t even bother repeating that. Why? Well, because when you think about it, rejection really is personal. After all, you are the one that’s being turned down.

Yes, taking rejection somewhat personally is inevitable. But the important part is that you move on quickly. Holding grudges and dwelling on bitterness will accomplish absolutely nothing—except to make you increasingly frustrated. So don’t waste your energy obsessing over something you can no longer change.

While you can’t control rejection, you can control how you react to it.

Instead, take the pieces of feedback you received and use them to improve for future opportunities. You might really see the value in certain suggestions and there will undoubtedly be some that you disagree with. But make sure that you carefully consider each piece of advice.

Also, it never hurts to respond to feedback with a genuine “thank you.” I know it might seem counterintuitive to show gratitude to someone who shot you down. But, the fact that someone took time out of his or her day in order to help you deserves sincere appreciation.

There’s really no way to sugarcoat it—being turned down is a slap in the face. And while you can’t control rejection, you can control how you react to it. So, keep these steps in mind in order to respond in a way that’s cool, calm, and collected. It might be tough, but it’s well worth it!

Photography by Natalie Shelton for The Everygirl

Rejection is rough, and we all respond differently. What are some methods you use to cope with getting turned down?