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Tips for Coping With Job Search Rejection

Grace Crane, C'20
Career Center Intern

If you’ve already experienced the great joy of sending in your résumé and applying to jobs, I’m sure you know the all too familiar feeling of receiving that disappointing rejection letter. That wretched “you just aren’t what we’re looking for” can easily turn into “you aren’t good enough” in your mind if you let it get to you, especially if you’ve already received more than one rejection. Sometimes you don’t receive any response at all!

Keep in mind, though, that you are not alone. Job rejection is inevitable for everyone, so don’t feel discouraged if your friends have jobs lined up after graduation or internships for the summer while you’re still sending in applications. If you can’t help but feel dejected, here are a few methods to help you cope with rejection while moving forward in your job search.

  • Don’t start to doubt yourself: Realize that this rejection does not define your abilities. A hiring manager’s main responsibility is to find the best candidate suited for the role. It’s all about finding the right fit. If you received a rejection, it is simply because they deemed you were not the right fit for this position – and that is okay! Look at this rejection as an opportunity to continue the search for a job more suited to your qualifications and skill set.
  • Don’t lose momentum: Getting rejected doesn’t mean that you’ll never find a job. It’s easy to feel hopeless after receiving multiple rejections, but you must remember that you’re a young college student with so much to offer to the world. Wherever you are in your career journey, keep in mind that there are great resources here on campus that can help you along the way. Utilize these resources, continue networking, and fill out more applications because you won’t find a job if you don’t try. There is something out there for everyone, so don’t give up hope.
  • Focus on improvement: Take time to reflect on your approach to the job search. You may find areas that need improvement, especially if you are consistently receiving rejections. Visit the Career Center or one of its many workshops to refine your résumé, learn how to construct effective cover letters, or practice your verbal communication skills during a mock interview.
  • Remain positive and be grateful: Remind yourself to stay positive despite these rejections. Don’t forget to respond to the employer by sending a thank you note! If you were interviewed, thank those involved in the process for taking their time to meet with you, and ask them to keep your contact information in case of future openings. Maintaining a positive attitude and demeanor can leave a lasting impression on employers and can be helpful if you decide to apply again in the future.

If you find yourself struggling to find employment, know that you are not alone. The Career Center is here to provide support for your career preparation and job search. Please visit us at Suite 240 of the McGowan Center, email us at, or call 301-447-5202 to request an appointment with our career counselors. 

Grace Crane, C'20
Career Center Intern