4 Ways to Deal with Rejection During a Job or Internship Search

It’s human nature to get excited over the possibility of something happening. You may plan out everything in your head. Imagine your life if this thing happened. Very few people never get their hopes up. Sometimes these opportunities are presented to us and we get to live the life we imagined, but just as often we don’t get everything we wish for and we have to find a way to deal with rejection. Maybe you want this job position that would kick-start your career and give you the feeling that everything is going right, but you get that dreaded email that the recruiters went another route and chose other applicants instead. It may feel like a knife in the heart and you want to say everything is fine, but you are obviously disappointed. “What am I going to do now? If they didn’t hire me, who will? How am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me? What is wrong with me?” These thoughts can easily creep and replace happy thoughts we had leading up to the decision. Don’t succumb to the pressure of your thoughts telling you that it’s your fault that you were rejected. Choose to see the possibility of something better coming along and know that everything happens for a reason. If you find yourself feeling disappointed and lost after not getting a job or internship that you wanted, check out these tips to turn the situation around and come out stronger than before.

  1. 1. Understand That This Position Was Not For You at This Point in Time

    Understand that if the job was right for you at that time in your life, you would have gotten it. There are so many factors that go into hiring someone and to the applicant, it can seem unfair or incomprehensible because you seemed so right for the position. Maybe the interviewer didn’t like something you said in your interview or they didn’t feel like you would fit in with the company. Maybe they were discriminating, or you just didn’t fit the look they were going for. They obviously wouldn’t tell you that, and they may even make up a reason for why they didn’t choose you. If that’s the case, be thankful that you didn’t get the offer because you would be dealing with that criticism and discrimination on a daily basis that could turn your dream job into a nightmare. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, something is preventing you from getting the offer because something else is out there that is better for you. 

  2. 2. You May Not Have the Skills or Experience Needed for the Position

    Job descriptions usually list the qualifications that an ideal candidate will possess. This can include Microsoft Excel skills, speech skills, knowledge of certain point-of-sale systems, the list can go on and on depending on the job and industry. Even though these are the listed qualifications, there can be some other qualifications that they expect you to have without having to list them. Depending on your year in college or your previous experience, they may expect you to have some background knowledge that they will be able to build off of starting day 1 of the internship or job. They may already want you to have had previous internships in the field you are looking at which may not be listed on the job posting, which can be frustrating. They will ask questions about what your work experience is like or what you learn and study in school, and they can easily see if you fit the position or not, even if on paper it looks like you possess all of the skills. If you know more coming into the position, they don’t have to teach you as much, and more time can be spent accomplishing tasks. From a business perspective, it saves time and money, but from an applicant’s perspective it may seem unfair because every job seems to want experience, but how do you get experience when no one wants to give you a chance? Don’t worry. Every no gets you closer to a yes, and the job that will give you the experience will come along at the right time. Even if you don't have the experience you need, you can use this as an opportunity to improve the skills you have and figure out new skills to learn which will help you in the future. 

  3. 3. You Aren’t The Only Person Facing Rejection

    We all know big names like J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, The Beatles. It is easy to see their success, but we don’t see the steps leading up to their success. Writers rarely ever get published the first time they send a book to a publisher, and there are almost always changes that the editors and publishers require them to make before it can be official. A musician may send their demo to tons of record labels before getting signed to a label, and even after the signing, that doesn’t guarantee their rise to popularity. If they can get through those rejections and still become successful, who says you can’t do the same thing? It’s more normal to get rejected at least once than to get everything on the first try.

  4. 4. You Don’t Lose Value After a Rejection

    Finally, the last thing to remember is that a rejection doesn’t decrease your value and self-worth. Many factors go into the hiring process and being rejected is a part of the process. It may not be favorable, but it is almost unavoidable. If you know you were yourself and brought everything you could to the table, then that’s the most you can do. After each “no”, you pick yourself up and get ready for the next opportunity that can be the “yes” you are looking for. 

Remember not to lose hope, and keep searching! No one likes rejection, but the best part of rejection is that it prevents you from getting involved with a job or position that wasn’t right for you at that moment in time. In the future, you may find yourself back applying for the position or end up getting a job that is better suited for you. The future is unknown, but know that you will be okay even after a rejection.

If you find yourself feeling down about the whole rejection just repeat this to yourself until you realize it's time to make the best of your situation and keep moving forward. “Just because it could’ve happened doesn’t mean it should’ve happened, because if it should’ve happened then it would’ve happened.”