3 Ways to Bounce Back From Rejection

Once upon a time, I interviewed for three separate positions within the same year at a well-established organization. I was an internal candidate with glowing recommendations and a solid resume, and every time, I walked away feeling that I had nailed it. And every time, I hadn’t. Rejection at any stage of the job-hunting game is inevitable. Whether your initial instinct is to either wallow or fire off another application, consider a third option: ┬átake some time to learn from it. The name of the game isn’t just securing a new job; it’s also developing connections and picking up valuable feedback along the way that will strengthen your interview prowess. Here are some tips on how to turn a closed door into one that opportunity will knock on.

1. Send a thank-you e-mail

Whatever method was chosen to break the bad news to you, it’s best to follow up with a semi-formal note. Be polite, thanking them for the opportunity to interview, saying that you appreciated their time. Be candid, mentioning (succinctly) that you would still be interested in working for their company should another opportunity arise. Keep in mind that an e-mail can be archived and searchable later, unlike a thank you card that would get shredded within the hour.

2. Ask for feedback

If you felt a good vibe with your interviewer and sense it wouldn’t hurt to ask, ask. Avoid a “what does she have that I don’t” approach; instead, frame your question in a way that makes you look the bigger person. For example, “I’m looking for ways to improve my interviewing skills/tips on how to establish myself in this market.” Be sure to ask how you can address any weaknesses, but don’t press if the answers are vague. At best, you appear confident, invested, and eager to learn. At worst, a bit of an overachiever–but since when was that a bad thing?

3. Learn from your mistakes

Take some time to evaluate what might have gone wrong. Was your body language off? Did you stumble over a question? Did the interviewer look disinterested at any point? Take mental–or better yet, literal–notes so that you’re better prepared for next time. On the other side of the same coin, sometimes there’s nothing more you could have done, and it’s best to just let go and move on. Trust your instincts, but err on the side of self-improvement.

Going the extra mile to plant seeds or prune your skills will soon prove to pay off. Approach every interview as a learning experience or networking opportunity, and you’ll soon find that those closed doors will turn into open ones.

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