Student perspective - It's not you, it's me...... dealing with job rejection

Posted in: Applications, Finding a Job, Interviews

Are you dealing with job hunt rejections? Here is some great advice from one of our student workers Greg Coleman. Greg is a final year politics student. In this post he shares his own experiences, viewpoints and tips. If you want further advice or guidance in how to deal with rejections or how to prepare for future applications or interviews, make sure to book an appointment with one of our Application Advisers or Careers Advisers on MyFuture. In addition, if you finding rejections are affecting your mental health wellbeing, make sure to drop in to see one of the Wellbeing Advisers on campus or in the Virgil Building for support. 

The world of hunting for placements and graduate jobs can be tough and along the way you may face rejection. Everybody will go through it and it’s something that I have experienced looking when for grad jobs.  Whether it’s not getting beyond the telephone interview, not making the final cut after the assessment centre or simply not getting a response after sending your cover letter. No matter how many times people say ‘everything happens for a reason’ or ‘there is always the next one’ you can’t help but feel a little demoralised and let down especially after the amount of time and attention job applications demand. But there are ways that you can use this rejection to improve your employability and to make your next application stronger than ever.

Don’t take it personally

There is no denying the fact that getting rejected from a job can feel like a personal attack but you shouldn’t overthink and blame yourself. Recruitment decisions obviously do include first impressions and an element of likeability but one of the most significant factors is whether they believe your experience and skills makes you the best person for the job. Sometimes the decisions can be out of your control if they are recruiting internally, need to fill the position quickly or another candidate had more experience. So it’s important to not take the decision to heart and to not let it put you off applying for more jobs.

Be prepared

Not all interviews go to plan and getting rejected from the job may not come as that much of a surprise. I have made the mistake of being so relieved to finish an assessment day that did not go well that I forgot to take note of what really went wrong and where I can improve next time. If there was a very difficult interview question or project in a group exercise that you struggled with, take note of it, do your research and be prepared in case similar situations come up again. Also do as much preparation as you possibly can for the interview or assessment centre, and use your previous interview(s) as a template. Even if you don’t get the job, it’s reassuring to know that you did the best you could and that you haven’t let yourself down.

Ask for feedback and then act on it

Feedback is critical and can really help improve your approach. Some employers do not always provide feedback in the earlier stages but if you are in any doubt then ask. They may not be able to provide a full breakdown of your performance but a few constructive comments can make all of the difference. I sometimes find that feedback from larger corporate schemes can be quite formulaic and less applicable to other opportunities. It’s too late to question the result as the decision has already been made, but be sure to ask employers to elaborate further if you do not understand where to improve. Even if you’re disappointed or annoyed, remember to still be polite and thankful for the feedback as you may still be under assessment. If they are left with a good impression of you there is always the chance they may invite you to apply for future vacancies or may shortlist you for other existing opportunities.

Then make sure to act on the feedback. You may realise from the feedback you’ve received that you’re applying for jobs that are too advanced and aimed at those with more experience. There is no shame in readjusting your expectations and applying for a position lower down on the career ladder or applying for a different sector entirely. If your feedback is consistently flagging a certain area for improvement then take steps to address it. Even though it may be time consuming it will eventually be rewarded.

Further help

The Careers Service has a wealth of opportunities and resources to help you build on the feedback you’ve received. The Careers Service also offers practice interview software, InterviewStream, and practice interviews to help you build up your confidence for the actual interview. In addition, Careers Advisers and Application Advisers  can provide valuable guidance on how to adapt your approach and they also offer CV, cover letter and application feedback to help you get to the next stage. In my experience, after facing a few job rejections they have been incredibly helpful in providing some direction and guidance on what to do next.

I hope this has been helpful but if you are in any doubt about your job hunt or what the Careers Service offers then check the website or get in touch.

Posted in: Applications, Finding a Job, Interviews


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