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Harness the Power of Positive Thinking

6 Ways to Turn a Job Rejection to Your Advantage

No one enjoys getting turned down for a job and if you’ve done a lot of preparation for a role that you really wanted, it can be harder still to accept a rejection. But with the right mindset, you can turn the experience into a career development opportunity. — Contributed by Robert Walters Singapore

1. Ask for detailed feedback  

It can be tempting to brush the experience aside and never think of it again but you could be passing up on significant learning opportunity. Ask for and listen to feedback is the most valuable thing you can do when faced with a job rejection.  

Gather the feedback you can from the recruiter — and through them, the employer. If the feedback feels superficial or generic, don’t be afraid to ask for more details. Getting honest feedback about why you weren’t offered the job will prepare you for future applications.  

2. Review and reflect 

Take the time you need to accept the rejection and rebuild your confidence to try again. Think about the feedback you received, break down the process, rank your performance for each part and determine where there is room for improvement. Ask yourself: What did I think went well? What could I have done differently? 

There is always room to improve, so use any setbacks to shine a light on these areas.

3. Identify learnings and build a personal development plan 

Think about feedback you’ve gotten from past rejections, appraisals and the like. Are there any recurring themes? What should your development priorities be? What can you do to fix the gaps in your performance? Make a note of any weaknesses or issues that you can do something about, and use them to guide your preparation next time.  

4. Refine your search

Although it’s disappointing to be rejected, the upside is that you’re now open to other, possibly better, opportunities. Look back over the job specification and ask yourself if you could truly see yourself in that role daily. If there were aspects of the role that didn’t excite you, the interviewer may have been able to see this too.

Use this experience to help you refine future job searches. Pinpoint your strengths and apply for positions that you’re better suited for.

5. Be positive

Feedback can also help you to recognise that sometimes rejection is simply out of your hands — and sometimes, ultimately be in your interest. If the interviewer prefers someone with extensive client management experience or they want someone who speaks the local language — and you don’t have the right requirements — then perhaps the role simply just wasn’t for you. Focus on the things you can realistically change.  

6. Build resilience 

In today’s rapidly changing workplace, developing a mindset of grit and resilience is essential for long-term success. See each setback as a challenge to grow both your self-understanding and your ability to bounce back. Overcoming obstacles on your career path will increase your chances of landing the right role.

Try to maximise your job search activity. Pursuing multiple possibilities simultaneously will help you figure out the kind of role that you really want and are best suited for. Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket and being overly fixated on one option.

Finally, remember that rejection is temporary. Getting turned down from a job happens to everyone — the most important thing is what you learn from it.

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