Rejected? Six tips to bounce back from a job loss or unsuccessful interview

While looking for your next employment opportunity, rejection comes with the territory. From the termination (involuntary or otherwise) that landed you in your current position to interviews that lead nowhere, you will experience a lot of rebuffs.

There’s no time like the present for prudent preparation. If you still have a job but staff cutbacks are likely, you might consider asking your employer to retain an outplacement company to provide outplacement solutions that can make your post-layoff downtime much shorter.

Once out of work, your reaction is one major factor under your control that plays a role in determining how long you remain that way. Here are six ways to keep your perspective on your current situation and make progress toward landing new employment.

1. Your new job is finding paid employment.

Take finding a new job every bit as seriously as you did working at your former job. It does not pay now but will do so later. Although you have at least eight more hours of free time each day, you can waste it all if you do not establish structure for your day and set boundaries on any activity that does not contribute to your job search. For example, do not watch daytime TV or play computer games for more than half an hour on any business day.

2. Enlist your network for help.

Lots of great jobs are filled through word of mouth. This is the time to let your network of colleagues and associates know what kind of job you want. The more people who know you are looking, the more likely you are to be referred to open positions. Do not, however, interact with associates at your former place of employment if the conversations are negative. This is the time to move on. And of course, effective outplacement can smooth the many challenges of job transition.

3. Stay focused on the future.

This is very much a part of moving on. The future you pay attention to is the one where you are again employed at a job you love. If you put your intellectual and emotional energy on this goal, it is a lot easier to take in stride the inevitable rejections that will come your way during your job interviews. No matter how qualified you are, in this job market, rejection is almost inevitable. Keep your eyes on the prize.

4. Pay attention to negative as well as positive feedback.

When your interview does not end in your desired outcome, ask for feedback. Be sure to let the interviewer know you want the information for no other reason than to improve yourself. If you are told that resume was sub-par, or you did not come across as well as you could during the interview, or your skills are not up to date, then you know you have some specific work to do to correct these problems.

5. Do not take rejection personally.

Typically there are a large number of qualified candidates and usually just one job opening. You may have all the right qualification and experience, but lose out to another candidate who lives closer or has work experience with a partner company. Candidates are often rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with them personally.

6. Always act graciously

This is much easier if you do not take rejection to heart. Be mindful of how you react when you are rejected. Don’t burn bridges unnecessarily. You never know when another position will open up at the same company where you just interviewed. Express your gratitude for the opportunity. Even if you are frustrated, don’t let it come across in your interactions with the potential employer.

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