Graduate Job Hunting: How To Handle Rejection

Since the recession started in late 2008, the graduate job market has become increasingly tough. Add to this the growing numbers of teenagers applying to university, employers now have the luxury of cherry-picking the absolute best from the piles of job hopefuls.

Putting all that effort into the initial application, the interview (and sometimes a 2nd one), only to find you’ve been unsuccessful, can become extremely disappointing. 

You dwell on it for hours, wondering what on earth went wrong, analysing your answer to every question, and whether it was down to something you did or didn’t say.

Unfortunately, finding a job is a job in itself - but the hours you put into it will eventually pay off, even if you feel there’s never a light at the end of the tunnel.

So how do you keep bouncing back until you finally receive that job offer? Here are some tips to help you keep your self-esteem intact.

1. Get it off your chest

Talk to your family, friends, partner or anyone else you’re comfortable talking to about how you feel, and will be sympathetic. 

Having someone there to listen to you will help you get it out of your system as soon as possible, and allow you to move on.

2. Find out how to improve

While it’s more unlikely you’ll receive any feedback if you’re turned down at the application stage (to the large volume of applicants), it may still be worth asking why you were not invited to interview. Don’t worry if you they fail to get back to you though. 

If you’re turned down after an interview, get in touch with the organisation by phone or email, and ask them for some feedback.

In most cases, they will hopefully tell you their thoughts about your performance, and provide some constructive comments that you can take on board and use to improve yourself in future interviews.

3. Keep your head in the game

Jumping back on your computer to continue your job search is the best thing you can do to help you overcome your disappointment, so channel that negative energy into applying for more jobs, or polishing your CV.

It’s hard not to be down immediately after hearing a negative response from an application, but the sooner you put effort into doing something positive, the sooner you’ll feel better.

4. Don’t listen to the Gremlins

Try to think positive at all times. It’s all too easy to start listening to those niggling voices in your head saying you’re not good enough at a particular skills, or lack experience in certain areas. 

If you start doubting yourself, it will show in your interviews, and employers are more likely to choose a candidate who is more confident than the others. 

Preparation is the key, and if you prep well for each interview you attend, you know you will have done your best.

5. Treat yourself (and maybe someone else, too)

Reward yourself once in awhile to celebrate the small successes, such as being invited to an interview. Buy a nice lunch, or a drink at the pub. You deserve to have a treat or two after putting in all that effort. 

This will perk up your spirits and keep you feeling energised throughout the job hunting process.

An act of kindness for someone else will also make you feel better, such as volunteering for a charity, or baking a cake for your family. 

Whatever happens during your search for employment, it’s important to realise you are not alone, and that millions of other people around the country are in exactly the same boat as you. 

By turning your negative feelings into something positive, you can easily beat the job-hunting blues until you secure a suitable role.

Further information

For more tips and advice about job hunting, please see:

Got any tips about graduate job hunting you’d like to share? Or advice on how to deal with rejection? Please post your comments below.


Great Advice.

Handling rejection for those graduate job seekers who are willing and able is hard to take but see it as part of the learning curve and you will get there.