You had prepared for days, practiced well, and did mock interview sessions before the mirror umpteen number of times. After the interview, your hopes were high as it had gone really well. However, a couple of days later you receive an email from the company which you begin reading with great expectations, but your hopes are dashed - It is a rejection letter.

This situation is much more common than you think it is. Rejection can be dubbed as an unfortunate but essential part of the human experience. However, you can always turn the rejection to your advantage and secure a bigger and better job? Read on to find out how you can do this!

But first, let us clarify some points for you about rejection in an interview.

1. It is not personal

The very first thought that comes to a person’s mind after he has faced rejection is, “I have failed.” Being sad about this is okay for an hour or two, but letting this false thought into your mind will only result in prolonged depression and missed opportunities. Hence, it is very important to know why it is not personal.

One of the most frequent practices in companies is internal referral, where employees inside a company nominate candidates for a position even before the position is publicaly made open. Companies also tend to prefer candidates who have been referred by an employee already working in their company. Similarly, companies may also go for internal promotions and dismiss the interviewed candidates in favor of the same.

2. It is not just about your qualification

Many people, after facing multiple rejections are so badly affected that they consider their degrees to be useless. “I should never have chosen this line”, is what they mutter as they spiral downward into despair. However, there are multiple factors at play that are considered when you are being hired. Sometimes, despite your relevant qualifications, the hiring manager might prefer someone who is a little more experienced than you. That, however, does not make you any less capable for the job.

3. Budgeting issues

The budget may be a higher priority for some companies and they may close down a position after conducting interviews, simply because they realized that they can’t afford to hire an extra employee. Others might settle for a less experienced, less qualified employee just because he/she demands a lower package.

4. It is not final

Many companies have the provision of re-application and anyways, every company has more than one vacancy, to which you may re-apply after a certain time has passed, if you are fixated on one company. But most important of all, it is not that once you are rejected then you are rejected forever. Even the hiring manager knows that people make mistakes and you are always eligible for a second chance.

So, you must understand that it is not because of your incapability, but due to the company’s priorities, that you weren’t considered for the job.

What you must learn from rejection?

Having understood that it was not just you to blame for the rejection, let us look at the most important part - How to take rejection in your stride?

1. Identify your shortcomings

The first thing to do after having received your rejection letter is to ask for a feedback or an explanation as to why you got rejected. While many companies might not provide a suitable answer, some HR teams might send you what you asked for. In such a case, your rejection letter may turn to be your next offer letter in disguise.

Such a feedback will pinpoint your shortcomings and guide you what a hiring manager is looking for in an employee for that job role. If you are not provided a detailed feedback, try to analyze your own performance - how you answered the interview questions and where you possibly might have gone wrong.

Reflect on your interview preparation , interview performance, as well as body language and attitude in the interview. It will help you get clarity as to where you can improve.

Related: Read complete guide to job interview questions and answers.

2. Improve and evolve

Your skills are not static and can always improved. Skills can only be improved further through relevant work. You can get work through an internship or a voluntary job, if you are not getting paid work. You can also take up short-term freelancing projects on Fiverr or Upwork. There are numerous ways to improve your soft skills as well. You can enrol with a soft skill trainer or take up online courses in soft skill training .

3. Restructure your resume

The primary contact that you have with a new company is through your resume. Naturally, such an important document should not be written casually. The resume needs to have the following qualities:

  • Catchy and concise: No one likes a boring essay-like resume listing your achievements. So, keep the resume crisp, concise, and catchy.
  • Relevant: Enlisting your prizes in the essay competition when applying for a banking position won’t do. The resume should be relevant with reference to the job being applied.
  • Showcase your strengths: Highlight any internship, certification, or training that would give you an edge over others.

Related: Read important resume tips to write that perfect resume.

4. Work on your EQ

When Reuven Bar-On, an Israeli psychologist, demonstrated to the world that Emotional Intelligence is of a higher significance than Intellect, the hiring procedures completely changed.

The current recruitment procedure lays down significant stress on a person’s EQ. Psychometric tests and case studies are a part of most hiring processes, and HR interviewers thoroughly evaluate your overall emotional capability for the job role.

Doing exercises to understand your own goals, objectives, and drive would help you augment your EQ levels.

5. Change of stream

When one door closes, another opens. If you get an opportunity in an alternate stream, don’t overthink. Give it a shot. Being stuck in a particular field or job role might only lead to narrowing down of opportunities available to you.

The current job scenario looks favorably on multidisciplinary profiles. Having a diverse experience would only strengthen your future prospects. Who knows, you might shine brighter in the alternate stream?

6. Keep multiple opportunities in hand

Instead of pinning all your hopes and aspirations on a single job or company, keep multiple opportunities in your hand.

Keep track of job openings at different organizations for your desired role through efficient job portals so that you are simultaneously applying to multiple places. It also saves you from feeling dejected as you know that one rejection won’t matter as there are always other opportunities to look out for.

7. Make an impression

It might seem an unimportant fact and yet, it is a dominant influence in hiring. It is now an established fact that a person makes his impression on another within the first 7 seconds of their meeting. What must be done to project a favorable first impression? Simple! Pay utmost attention to your body language and interview dressing.

8. Never give up

One thing you must promise yourself is not to give up. Never stop your efforts. Ever. Go for a new online course, enroll for a free webinar, take up freelance projects, and/or try to find an internship. However, if nothing works out, do a project for a company and present it to them. They may see your dedication and skills and end up hiring you.

What you must always believe in is, “Who knows there may be a bigger and better opportunity just around the corner.”

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