How to handle rejection

PUBLISHED: 13:49 27 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 06 May 2010

Can you handle rejection?

Can you handle rejection?

JK ROWLING took a whole year to find herself a publisher who was actually willing to print her first Harry Potter novel. Many of the rejection letters she received barely bothered to address her personally. And it was, she readily admits, an extremely dif

JK ROWLING took a whole year to find herself a publisher who was actually willing to print her first Harry Potter novel. Many of the rejection letters she received barely bothered to address her personally. And it was, she readily admits, an extremely difficult time for her.

So it would seem that rejection is hard to bear even for up and coming international best-selling writers, let alone university graduates who are simply eager for their first big career break.

The mere sound of the word 'rejection' is in itself extremely harsh, and the implications harsher still.

When you are already feeling blue and down at heel, the last thing you want to hear is people spouting all those old, tired clichés at you like 'Get a grip', 'Pull yourself together' or 'Be more positive about things.'

All you probably want to do is have a good night out with your friends and drown your sorrows. But the best way to deal with the resulting hangover and the situation at hand is to sit down and take stock.

Something about your job search quite obviously isn't working. So, a bit of investigation is required to find out the root cause.

Firstly, try and find out if that 'something' is out of your hands and beyond your control.

Ask yourself:

o Were you applying for a position that might have a gender stereotype, or racial prejudice?

o Was there an in-house candidate?

o Was there any incompetence on behalf of the interviewer?

o Did anything happen before, during or after the interview that might have explained your rejection?

Then weigh up whether it is their fault or yours. What you really need now is as much feedback as it is humanly possible to get. Find out what went wrong, but don't just listen to whatever you are told - make sure that you definitely apply it.

Begin by having a good look at your CV.

Make absolutely certain that it is an unbeatable advertising brochure for all your skills and accomplishments. Make any changes that are required and then wholeheartedly believe in them. It is not simply a piece of paper - it is you.

Replay the interview in your head. Was there anything else that you could have done in order to sell yourself better? Were you listening, actively, to all the questions and answering them in the best possible way you could?

Review your presentation, too. What employers want these days are job seekers who look like they will fit in. Did your dress sense and personal grooming on the day match the working culture you were seeking to join?

Once you have thought all of this through assess what type of jobs you are going for. Are they the right position for you, in the right area at the right level?

When you reach this stage it may be worth visiting, or perhaps revisiting, a careers adviser to discover exactly where your talents lie and where you really ought to be directing them.

Having said all of this, none of it changes the harsh, cruel reality of rejection.

Disappointment, disillusionment and disgust really can undermine you long term.

But whatever has gone wrong so far, you must not allow it to affect the way you continue with your job-hunting activities.

Treat every new interview you get with the same attention to detail as the first one you attended. Only by doing this will you eventually find the success that you are searching for.

And to end with, three final suggestions:

1) Consider doing some temping until something else does eventually turn up. The position could expand your skills set and lead to other opportunities. At the very least it will top up your bank account.

2) If you are looking for a job full-time, be totally professional about it. Make sure that you structure your days.

3) Remember that you are talented, you are qualified, and that you are still just at the very beginning of finding what is right for you.

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