5 Strategies for Turning Rejections into Opportunities

Published: Sep 25, 2023

 Interviewing       Job Search       Networking       Resumes & Cover Letters       
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No matter if you’re looking for a part-time job during college, an internship, or a full-time position, you’ll inevitably experience rejection. The good news is you can use rejection to drive yourself. Below are five strategic ways you can transform setbacks into stepping stones.

1. Revamp your resume for a fresh start

Have you noticed a pattern during your job search? You submit your resume and wait eagerly for a reply that never comes. That could be because 70 percent of all resumes are rejected at the initial screening stage. So, if yours never seems to make it beyond the initial application stage, it’s a sign you need to revamp your resume and do more to stand out. Here are several steps you can take to do this:

  • Make sure you tailor every resume to the role and companying you’re applying to
  • Use the job description to help you highlight the most important and relevant skills and experiences using keywords
  • Ensure you use a professional email address
  • Check the style and format to make your resume look as clean, clear, and professional as possible
  • Include facts and figures wherever possible to show your impact
  • Add any new or recent accomplishments before you submit each resume

2. Take constructive feedback to shape future success

Feedback after you hear that you didn’t receive a job offer can be a great way for you to identify any areas of strength and weakness and improve for the future. Some hiring managers may offer feedback without you having to ask.  But if they don’t, you can always reach out and ask for some constructive feedback yourself. Feedback can help you improve your resume, cover letter, and interviews. You might also uncover certain skills, qualifications, or experience you’re missing. This could help you to enroll in relevant courses or take on a part-time role or volunteer position to gain experience and boost your resume.  Whatever the case, constructive feedback gives you the opportunity to work on yourself and increase your chances of landing the job next time.

3. Use the opportunity to network

Throughout the job search, you’ll have the opportunity to make many new connections. For every company you apply to, you can follow their brand on social media and LinkedIn, helping to get your name out there. Also, if you get responses from recruiters or attend interviews, it’s a good idea to connect with the recruiters or interviewers online too. That way, they may see your name and be reminded of your application or meeting. Plus, you’ll be able to keep an eye out for future positions they share online. And they might even reach out to you if they have a relevant position.

4. Channel that negative energy into something positive

Rejection might not be fun, but it does have several unexpected benefits. If you can learn to embrace rejection and build resilience, you can come back even stronger. Although it’s easier said than done, if you can take the negative energy you feel from rejection and channel it back into your job search, you increase the chances of success. Let this drive you to set new goals and make positive changes.

Some strategies for staying motivated in the face of rejection include visualizing where you want to be and setting yourself realistic new goals. You should also stay engaged in your field, following inspiring leaders and listening to or reading industry-related content. Whatever you do to motivate yourself, make sure you choose activities that can help you channel that energy toward a constructive outcome.

5. Always say 'thank you'

Finally, it’s important that you never burn your bridges and a simple thank-you note can be all it takes to stand out. This is something you should do following an interview, but you can take the opportunity to go one step further and make your message influential and memorable. This can set you apart from other applicants. It could also mean that the recruiter comes back to you if other candidates fall through or if other relevant positions become available in the future.

Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading CV builder and careers advice website. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.