Bouncing Back from Rejection

Nobody likes being told their job application was unsuccessful. But with the right mindset and attitude, you can turn this experience into a learning opportunity and snag that dream job.
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The gradsingapore Team
The gradsingapore Team
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It could be an online application that went silent with no response. Or a promised call for a second interview that never came. It might have even been the “we regret to inform you” email spiel from your dream employer.

Whatever it is, you’re likely to come across rejection over the course of your job hunt process. The annual Singapore 100 Leading Graduate Employers Survey 2021 conducted by GTI Media Singapore (S100 Survey) found that 78.3% of respondents thought it would be tough to get a good job this year. To add to that, 23.8% even expect to send out six to 10 applications before they secure their first job.

And when your confidence has tanked and you’re feeling down and out, what started as a feeling of disappointment can quickly balloon into a pity party.

But here’s the thing. You’re not a failure just because you didn’t get the job you pined and prepared so much for. You did everything in your power to make it a success: you put in 100% effort for grades, somehow made time for an internship or two, and followed the application process to the letter (and even right up to the job interview, in some cases). But that notification of rejection made you question everything – your efforts, capabilities and future.

Except this rut will keep you from finding your success. So, get through the different stages of rejection and watch as it strengthens your character and enhances your approach to the application process. Try to be patient, humble, and trudge on with some pointers from this article – in time you’ll get matched with the right job and find yourself safely established in a career you enjoy.

Understand that it’s okay to grieve after a rejection

You’ve likely spent the entirety of your life up until this point trying your best to avoid rejection. But the thing about the job search process is that you don’t have a choice. You have to put yourself out there and take it.

Your feelings of rejection can be intense, especially because you’re a fresh graduate completely new to the (brusque) workings of the corporate world. So recognise that it’s okay to grieve for what could have been. Give yourself permission to wallow, but only for a time. Because after that, you need to get rid of any other self-defeating scenarios in your head, re-focus, and jump back into the game.

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Don’t take the rejection personally

When it comes to the job hunt process, there’s an important rule: don’t take it personally. The rejection for the role isn’t a statement about who you are as a person, or even your capabilities. Instead, understand that in the working world, employers need to make hiring decisions based on many factors; some may not even be about you. There’s no clear-cut way of determining the real reason behind your results.

So, when you get news of your rejection, respond professionally and keep from overthinking the reason(s) for your unsuccessful application.

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Ask for feedback

Being rejected gives you the chance to ask your recruiters why you didn’t land the job. For instance, if you asked why you didn’t land the job and the recruiter said that you didn’t have the necessary skills, you can pick up those skills and re-apply for similar roles in the future.

The information you receive may seem vague at times – “we decided to go with another direction” – but ask anyway, as you never know when you’ll get something constructive. However, don’t be overly persistent if recruiters take a while to respond or don’t get back to you at all.

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Review your feedback

You’ll be doing yourself a great disservice if you decide to sweep your brush with rejection under a rug. Instead, take every bit of feedback you get from recruiters (remember the last point?) and use them to improve yourself, re-focus your job search and hone your hunting skills.

With a bit of patience and persistence, you’ll end up with the right role for your skillset and personality!

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Don’t lose your momentum

When you’ve finished the cycle, work on getting back in the game. At this point, you should be armed with a stronger resume, be more adept at handling interviews, and have a more realistic expectation of the process.

Keep your job search moving forward with applications and networking. If you think you need to refine your search further, and need guidance to do so, don’t shy away from your school’s career advisors. Their pool of resources and expertise may help you move in the right direction!

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It’s common to receive several rejections before securing a job offer. There isn’t any fixed rate of success or any shortcuts to landing a role. For example, you might get accepted for a job after a few tries, or find yourself sending out hundreds of applications before finally getting a foot in the door. If your peers get jobs before you do, don’t be discouraged.

Just have faith that your tenacity and resilience will pay off through the job hunting process!