Things You Can Learn from Getting Rejected

Carly Naaktgeboren
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Much like getting turned down for prom, getting rejected from a job hurts.  It makes you feel inadequate, undeserving, and oftentimes ashamed. And while Jenny saying no to your awesome, time consuming (and very public) song promposal will haunt you for the rest of your life, getting rejected from a job means much more in terms of financial security and the career path you hope to be on.  Simply put, rejection stinks. But it isn’t all bad. Looking at it from a different perspective might help you heal from it, learn from it, and grow.


Sometimes rejection is a high possibility.  It’s a sought-after position with many viable candidates, and you just happen to be one of 82 other people who were also turned down.  Other times, rejection is a gut punch. You feel you’re qualified, confident, and can really bring something to the table, and yet, you don’t even get an interview.  Or worse, you DO get an interview and are turned down after THAT. You may wonder what you did wrong and the answer could honestly be nothing, but having to go back and reassess the steps of your application can teach you something and show you little things you might have missed.  

To start, maybe your resume didn’t use the correct keywords or didn’t adequately present your history and how that suits this specific job.  As tedious as reworking a resume can be, it’s helpful and important to give it a glance. Was there a job skill they were looking for that you have but didn’t include?  Could you change your wording to give a better representation of how your history doing x and y can translate into you excelling at z? Minor tweaks can make a major difference and help you find new ways to show your worth and boost your confidence.  


Was your interview a smash and you have no idea what you did wrong?  Or maybe it was a weak interview and you know EXACTLY why you didn’t get the job.  Think about the questions they asked and how you responded. If this is a job in the field you absolutely want to work in, try to come up with better answers that sell you as the best fit for the position.  Think of your rejection as a rehearsal interview. Practice makes perfect, after all. Every interview is an opportunity to hone in on who you are and why you are the best fit for the job.

Reflection is always something that can help us heal when we are rejected.  Every resume, every cover letter, every interview is a learning experience. It’s teaching you and preparing you for when you find the job that is truly the right fit.  Never question your worth, you’re amazing and there’s only one of you. You just might have to figure out how to better present that. Rejection helps us grow as people and as potential employees.  If only Jenny could see you now. You had way more fun with your friends anyway.



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  • Valerie B.
    Valerie B.

    I had a phone screening with a major company last only 15 minutes. That seems abnormal to me, as they have always lasted at least 30 minutes. Anyone else have this experience?

  • Kenneth H.
    Kenneth H.

    Some employers are fickle and may pass up a great candidate because they are looking for someone "better".

  • Donald N.
    Donald N.

    you have to appreciate the level lack of caring these help agencies exhibit, with their I read in your resume blah blah blah and thought this job which is in now way in keeping with your resume was a perfect fit! obviously they have a quota of applicants to send to various jobs and you are just cannon fodder at that point. Its kinda like a cold call list for any telesales with new employees making the motions with no real intention of sorting anything out

  • Stanley G.
    Stanley G.

    All these Helping agencies are full of crap. They don't have any jobs. The employers are just looking for applicants so that they can pull whomever they wish. Only because they, the companies are looking to pay bare minimums and we suckers are left applying and hoping and all this "TO NO AVAIL" to hell with you all. Thanks for letting me VENT. Stanley.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Jennifer Villaran - thanks. In time things will turn around again. Actually they already are. Employers are starting to realize that you get what you pay for. They want employees who will take the lowest possible salary but are realizing that this means that they are not getting the results hoped for and it would have cost less if they had hired someone with a bit more maturity. Not to say that all millennials are bad! Before you apply for a position, see if you can't check them out and find out anything about the current employees or the culture. That will let you know if you really want to apply. @Richard A. that was truly unfortunate to have an interview with someone who wasn't prepared. Especially after you spend all of the time in your preparation. That certainly can be frustrating. Maybe it's not the company for you? Anyone else have the experience as Richard? If so, what did you do and what were the results?

  • Richard A.
    Richard A.

    It's annoying being interviewed by someone who is
    not qualified to do so.

  • Jennifer Villaran
    Jennifer Villaran

    I mean to have consideration for mature and responsible workers, NOT just for kids that don’t have any idea of what work ethic means.

  • Jennifer Villaran
    Jennifer Villaran

    I wish more employers would have the same consideration and logic about people that really wants to work and just to go to work to do social live and disrespect others that really take their job serious. And I wish there’s a course for managers to learn how to run and office in a professional way .

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Donna W. there are many articles on our network that discuss issues that baby boomers seem to encounter. The world is slowly changing back again and employers are realizing that they need the talent, experience and maturity that comes with hiring older workers. Just the other day I saw a segment on the news that talked about McDonald's hiring 250,000 workers - all older workers that is. They, too, have realized that they need employees who are going to actually work and not be spending time on their phones and on social media. Maybe McDonald's isn't for you but it's a positive move by a large employer. Hopefully others will follow McDonald's in offering jobs to the more senior applicants.

  • mala g.
    mala g.

    Thank u very much . I do learn something from this, I also felt a little better.

  • Donna W.
    Donna W.

    I would also like to hear more about good times for baby boomers who are still very active, want to work and seem to be overlooked.

  • Alicia P.
    Alicia P.

    Definitely get rejected from a job doesn't make you feel good at all, but, I always think when one doors is closed many opportunities came come and much better who know; yes this article help me to meditate in my passed experiences and make me whiling to make little changes in the future. Thank you for sharing !

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Joyce R. thanks for your comment. There are tons of articles on the Internet that can help guide you along, including some of our articles. Do a quick search for tips for older job seekers. There you can view what experts have to offer - tips from cleaning up and adjusting your resume, to interview tips to how to make yourself look younger! Happy reading!

  • Joyce R.
    Joyce R.

    What are some good tips for older people (60 and older) trying to find a full time job ? I have had interviews but when the employer looks at me, the first thing they think, she is too old and will not last long , I’ve had years of experience but I don’t know how to represent myself. Thank you

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