Tue Sep 2023

Turning Rejection into Career Success


Written by:
Sophie Riddington,
Lead Senior Delivery Consultant

The job market is more volatile than it has ever been, with spiking unemployment rates powered by a global pandemic.

Industries are seeing job applications in record numbers, and in turn, the rejection rates are through the roof.

We have all applied for a job but weren’t hired. Very few people can say they haven’t experienced this, in fact, our unsuccessful job applications shape our careers just as much as our successes do.

The fact that most job seekers will apply to many jobs before they land an offer shouldn’t discourage them. Though rejections are hard to accept, they are a necessary part of the process and offer opportunity for personal growth, learning and success.

But how can you take a job rejection and turn it into a career success?

  • Ask for feedback

The best and quickest way to improve at anything is to request constructive criticism from those who are knowledgeable and experts in their field; it’s invaluable. Self-analysis will only provide you with a one sided perspective as to why you weren’t the right person for the role.

Gathering feedback after a rejection allows you to improve your interview skills, builds your self-promotion confidence and allows you to streamline your preparation for the next opportunity. Additionally, this demonstrates to a hiring manager their willingness to request criticism in order to better their abilities. This subsequently reiterates their dedication and interest in future roles with that particular company, allowing you to leave a lasting positive impression.


  • Build a Personal Development Plan

Think about feedback from past rejections and appraisals. Are there any recurring themes?

The challenge here is not to look at them as weaknesses, but to use them as a focus for the way you approach your preparation next time. In some cases, there may be training needed or a course you consider to help you develop.

Admittedly, if those who were successful were hired based on employee referral, cultural fit or something intangible, setting a goal becomes difficult. However, if those who were successful have a degree or a specific number of years’ experience for instance, that makes your goal clearer. Turn these requirements into a plan, and think about the next steps you need to take to fill in your performance gaps and provide a timeline for each.


  • Be Resilient

Our workplace environments are always rapidly changing; technologies accelerate and companies become more and more responsive. To turn your job rejections into career success, resilience is essential.

It is important that you see each setback as a challenge, that you are able to bounce back and not let disappointment become all-encompassing. Overcoming obstacles on your career path will improve your chances of landing a well suited role. Make a point of staying constructive, strict on your timelines and do all you can to prepare for the next opportunity.


Getting turned down from a job happens to everyone, so do not be disheartened. Be persistent with finding new avenues of self-improvement in your career and make sure your goals are in alignment with your abilities.

Dealing with rejection is a bitter pill to swallow, but remember that it can be beneficial in the long run if you take the time to understand why. Learn from the experience, keep up the search and get back out there.

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