How to cope with rejection

There are many reasons for rejection but just your disability (Gerd Altmann/
There are many reasons for rejection but just your disability (Gerd Altmann/

There is another rejection in your letter box that tells you that you did not get that job you applied for. Again.

But that job was just perfect for you! Why did they turn your application down?

Should I ask why?

Should you ask in any case? Basically, the answer is no; however, to differentiate this a little: If you were really convinced that the advertised position would fit you well then you should ask.

If you did not have an interview, it may be that the supervisor does not even know of your application because your application has not passed the "filter" – the Human Recourses department. In this case asking for the reason is useless.

Check again instead: Did your profile really meet the description of the position? Have you brought your qualification and motivation really to expression? What qualifications were required for the position advertised and do you have them?

Do not confuse department heads or Human Resources staff with career counsellors. These people are not paid for advising you. If you ask why they did not chose you, and they answer you, they are doing this as a favour.

A No after job interview

If you were invited to an interview and you had the feeling that it was going well, it is appropriate to ask why you did not get the job in the end. Usually, you have the contact details of your interview partner; so you can contact them directly.

Make it clear that you do not question their decision or try to change their minds. Instead, ask where they saw a lack of qualifications for this position.

Check your dossier

Do you get the feeling that you write to yourself because applications come back to you so quickly? In that case, you should take a break, go through your documents again and check them critically:

  • I am really applying for jobs that suit me?
  • Did I inform myself about the company in advance?
  • Do I make it clear why I apply for this exact position?
  • Is my application tailored to this company?

Let others have a look on your application. Optimise all you can. That is the only way to improve your application until you will succeed.

There are numerous reasons for rejection you cannot even influence. For example, the vacant position was given to an employee of the company who has applied internally. It could also be that the company restructured after the publication of the job ad and the position was no longer needed. And eventually your application depends on the judgment of the HR person who is also only a human being.

Do not let you put under pressure

No matter how many applications you will write until you have found the right place; you do not have to justify yourself. A job is important but it is not the measure of all things, and you are not a better person only because you belong to labour force.

Cultivate your contacts. Perhaps you can do volunteer work, get more experience. Do things you enjoy or that distract you. And remember: Stay who you are – with or without a job.


Text: Tanja Lachmayr

Translation: MPL