Career Experiences: Overcoming Professional Rejection

Lesson 5: Overcoming Professional Rejection


Overcoming professional rejection

feeling rejection as a rain cloud

Rejection happens to almost everyone. The journey of the job search can be a long one, and rejection is, unfortunately, a common part of it.

The following summarizes the most crucial advice shared during's professional rejection podcasts. While most of this advice is tailored toward those in the job search, it can be applied to any professional situation.

Watch the video below to learn some tips for dealing with professional rejection.

Rejection isn’t easy. Whether you’re new to the professional world or you’re a 20-year veteran, getting turned down is never pleasant. Whenever you apply for a job or have an interview, brace yourself for the possibility that you could get turned down.

It takes time and hard work to overcome rejection. You may have to adapt your skill set in order to land the job you want, and even then you may have to be incredibly patient.

Try not to take rejection personally. Remember that hiring managers are simply trying to find the best fit for the company. Just because you aren’t chosen doesn’t mean you are worth any less as a person. You may never know why you were rejected for a job. All you can do is put forth your best self, and the rest is out of your control.

Give yourself time to process your emotions, especially if you were rejected for a job you really wanted. Take some deep breaths, and find a way to turn the negative outcome into something positive. Indulge in a hobby, such as music or exercise, or spend time with your family. Taking a step away from the job search can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

a man thinking and comparing himself to others

Avoid comparing yourself to others. It never makes you feel better, and it can quickly make you feel worse. Social media can make this difficult because it’s easy to see what’s going on in others’ lives. Just remember that everyone is on their own personal journey.

If you keep getting turned down, figure out what skills or experience would give you an edge for any particular job. Develop these skills and experience any way you can. Volunteer. Start a project of your own. Study a program or tool that’s used in the industry you’re trying to break into. Showing your willingness to learn is a valuable trait, and employers will take notice of your drive.

Try different methods of applying to jobs. Job boards like and are great for discovering new openings, but you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively. Try to network with family, friends, and other professionals in your career field. Find a group, organization, or club that caters to your industry or professional interest, and get to know people. Some jobs are hard to find unless you ask around.

Don’t give up, above all else. If you want something, fight for it. Whether it takes you a month or 10 years to get the job you want, the result is worth the journey.