Articles for Professionals

Handle Job Rejection Like A Trooper


When a job application is rejected, especially when you feel perfectly suited, it’s understandable to feel disappointed at the result. Similarly, if you leave or are removed from a role in bad circumstances, it’s very easy to become a little negative.

To add fuel to the fire, family and friends will often expect you to be upset. But whatever you do, DO NOT take that bait.

Being outwardly disgruntled about your circumstances will not only prevent you from accessing the help you need, it can negatively influence your approach to new opportunities.

Before you do or say anything you’ll regret, consider the following…

It’s not personal
Don’t take knock backs to heart. It’s business, not personal. It rarely has anything to do with whether the interviewer liked you but whether, at the time, they thought you were the best choice for their business/team. When it comes to job applications, it’s also worth remembering that no matter how great your CV is, you can’t account for the other people that apply. It may be that, in this instance, you were a great candidate but lost out to an even better one.

Don’t publicly blame anyone.
You may wish to vent with close friends and family but when it comes to the rest of the world, pointing the finger at someone else will only make you look like a sore loser. And no-one wants to play with a sore loser. It goes without saying, do not vent on the internet. That sort of thing will stick with you for your entire career! In a job application scenario, do not go over the head of the interviewer. There is nothing to be gained here. No matter how right you (think) you are, this approach will NEVER bare fruit.

Don’t burn any bridges.
It’s impossible to know what’s around the corner. Especially in an industry as small as ours (the Australian health and fitness industry). Handling things the right way may present opportunities you had not considered. Do not speak ill of anyone at your workplace. It’s like your mother always said: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Don’t be a bitter job seeker.
Even if you think you have been wronged, the unfortunate fact is: no one cares. Your bad situation is not their problem. Even seemingly sympathetic people may be feeling that they don’t want to add an angry, bitter person to their professional network. To paraphrase Mr. William Shakespeare, it’s the way we choose to see a situation that determines how we feel about it.

Don’t put your head in the sand; prepare.
Don’t ever assume it will be easy to land a new opportunity. Take action right away to set yourself up for the current/next job hunt. Get yourself ready by maintaining your materials, your online presence and your pitch.

Don’t go around and tell everyone you’re looking for a position.
Instead, focus your networking efforts and learn to introduce yourself based on the skills you have and the value you offer. In other words, be the professional you are; don’t walk around with a “J” for job seeker on your forehead.

Use online tools to help expand your network and demonstrate your expertise.
Social networking tools can help connect you to new contacts and people who may be willing to refer you for opportunities. Build your online presence so it is easier for people to identify you as being an expert in your field. Let me say that again; Build your online presence so it is easier for people to identify you as being an expert in your field! This is an INSANELY under-utilised resource.


Sometimes, a missed or lost opportunity can be a blessing. No matter what the situation, failing in a job or job application provides an opportunity to grow. There is absolutely no doubt that I’ve learned more about myself on the occasions I failed than when I was successful. And it’s this personal growth that enables us to move towards the things that we most enjoy doing.

Accept some of the responsibility.
Why would you want to do this? The more responsibility we accept for the things that happen to us, the greater the control we have over our life. This makes it easier to deal with the current issue, as well as minimise the chance we’ll find ourselves in this situation again.

I’m not aware of anyone that has not, at some stage, suffered a set back. How we deal with it makes all the difference.

On this note, I highly recommend ‘The Obstacle is the Way‘ by Ryan Holiday. Get it on your ‘must read’ list.



One thought on “Handle Job Rejection Like A Trooper

  1. I’m totally stoked to have received feedback from my dad (an actor) in Prague (who knew he was reading?). He also added a bit we left out…

    “Hi Sonno,

    I have to make a little confession. I don’t always read the articles in your HP newsletters. I hope you don’t feel rejected. As an actor, I’ve had to make an art form of handling rejection, so I was curious to see what you had to say about it. Have to say I think you pretty much covered everything. Well done! My only addition would be to say that having learned from the experience, it’s best then to put it behind you and forget it. The mental and emotional load of continued
    rejections can be very hard to carry if you choose to hold on to them…”

    … he also alerted me to a typo and a dud link in the recent newsletter. Sorry about that folks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s