How to Bounce Back from Rejection

job search newsletter Mar 23, 2024

Read Time: 5 Minutes


You mentally prepare yourself for the reality that you could get passed up for that promotion or rejected for your dream role. 


And still, when it happens, rejection stings.


It's hard to hear "no" or "not yet" after dedicating countless hours to get that specific role or promotion.


Feeling disappointed—or even frustrated—is normal.


But when you're feeling that way, it can be tough to bounce back and muster the energy to keep going.


In this newsletter, we're going to talk about how you can bounce back from a tough loss, but first, we need to explore 2 fundamental truths about rejection 👇


Truth #1: It's not you, it's me (the current job market)


External factors often play a significant role.


For example:

  • There could be a favored internal (or external) candidate
  • The manager could change their mind about the expertise they want for the role


The smartest, most “marketable” people I know have and are struggling in this job market.


It's not because you're incapable, unworthy, or unemployable.


The sheer volume of qualified candidates has exacerbated the number of rejections you will likely get.


Truth #2: Rejection is inevitable


Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic Park actress 🦖) recently said her grandma told her that actors undergo 64 auditions before they land a significant role.


So, when she started, she refused to give up or lose hope until she faced at least 64 rejections. 


This mindset empowered her to persist and not give up, even when her peers did. 


She realized that rejection is a part of the process.


In this job market, it's not uncommon for someone to make it to the final rounds for 5+ roles and still not get a job offer  or to apply to 100s of roles before landing an interview.


Having realistic expectations can be empowering.


It enables you to be optimistic and persistent because you know rejection is not the end of your story; it's just part of it.    


Let's explore 3 tactical strategies to help you bounce back from rejection...


(1) Turn It into a Future Opportunity


Didn't get the job?: Interviews and interactions during your job search are not just steps toward a specific job but also opportunities to expand your professional network.


Here's how you can transform rejection into a future opportunity:


  1. Stay Connected: After a rejection, send a thank-you note to the recruiters and hiring team. Express your gratitude for their time and the opportunity to learn about the company. Mention your interest in staying in touch and inquire about future openings.
  2. Nurture Relationships: Add these contacts to your professional network and reach out periodically. Share updates about your professional journey and inquire about new opportunities.


Here's a template message to help you get started:

Hi [Manager/Recruiter],

Thank you for considering my application for the [Job Title] position. While this isn't the outcome I hoped for, I want to thank you for your time last week. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about ____.

I would love to keep in touch as the [Department/Team] grows, so please let me know if you learn about other openings that would be a good fit. I would also be happy to chat one-on-one if you're willing to share feedback on how I can improve my candidacy as I apply for other roles. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again, and don't hesitate to reach out if I can ever be of help to you.




You'll be surprised how staying "top of mind" can lead to a job opportunity down the road.


Didn't get the promotion?: The first step in turning rejection into an opportunity is to seek feedback. Request a meeting with your manager to discuss the reasons you were not selected for the promotion.


Approach this conversation with an open mind and a genuine desire to learn. Cover the following:

  • Specific areas for improvement or skills to develop.
  • The criteria used to make the promotion decision.
  • Suggestions for projects or responsibilities you can take on to better position yourself for future opportunities.


Based on the feedback you receive, create a personal growth plan. This plan should include:

  • Skill Development: Identify courses, workshops, or certifications that can help you close any skills gaps or enhance your expertise in your field.
  • Visibility Projects: Volunteer for high-visibility projects or committees within your organization. These opportunities can showcase your leadership, creativity, and commitment to the company's goals.
  • Mentorship: Seek a mentor within the organization who can provide guidance, support, and advocate for you in future promotion opportunities.


Then, update your manager on your progress and resurface the discussion in your 1:1s.


(2) Leverage Support Along the Way


Navigating job rejections can feel isolating, but you don't have to do it alone.


Leverage your support system! Tap into the people in your circle who can provide guidance, feedback, and emotional support.


They can offer perspectives that refine your approach and boost your morale, reminding you that you're not alone.


(3) Use Affirmations to Develop Resilience and Confidence.


Positive affirmations can be powerful tools to combat self-doubt and maintain a positive outlook.


Regularly vocalizing your worth, resilience, and capability reinforces your self-belief and helps keep you motivated!


Here are a few affirmations to integrate into your daily routine:

  • "I deserve a job that aligns with my skills and passions."
  • "Every rejection is a step closer to the right opportunity."
  • "I embrace feedback as a tool for growth and refinement."
  • "My unique experiences and perspective make me a valuable asset." 


Rejection can feel personal; these affirmations help you bounce back and stay focused.


I'll leave you with an image from one of my favorite creators, Liz Fosslien.


She beautifully depicts why rejections (perceived "failures") are part of our success. 



Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:

1. Free Job Search Workshop: Learn about the strategies hundreds of people have used to land high-paying jobs in the tech space.  

2. Job Accelerator Program: Our flagship program gives you live coaching and the step-by-step process to land a B2B tech job quickly, saving you the cost of a prolonged job search.

3. Personalized 1:1 Coaching: We'll work together to help you start or advance your career within B2B tech. 

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