7 Tips for Moving Past Job Search Rejection

7 Tips for Moving Past Job Search Rejection

by Erin Kinney, Senior Assistant, INALJ Wyoming

Erin-KinneyThere are several strategies for coping with rejection of any kind, not just during the job hunt. Rejection on the job hunt has been covered on INALJ, but a refresher is always good.

Process Your Emotions

It is natural to feel angry and hurt with any rejection.  You put so much time and energy into that perfect cover letter, the online application, the tailored resume, and survived the all-day campus interview, it’s hard to not take it personally.  Stay positive.  A job rejection isn’t a measure to your personal worth.  A choice FOR someone isn’t necessarily a choice AGAINST you.  Realize that this is part of the process and that you are going to encounter more rejections before you land your position.

Work Your Network

Talk to people you trust, such as friends, career counselor, religious leader, or a mentor, and express the feelings you are experiencing. Feelings of rejection may cause you to isolate yourself from experiencing further pain.  Turn it around and make each rejection a learning opportunity. I have a friend who celebrates every job rejection. He says that since you made it that far in the process, more than most candidates, you should celebrate the small victories.


Going to the gym or getting outside and getting some exercise will increase your endorphins and make you feel better.  It only takes 20 minutes of physical activity to get those proverbial juices flowing.  Physical activity also clears your head, expends energy, and helps you revive for the next round of applications and interviews.

Regain Perspective

A change of venue will help you shake off some of your discontent and get you out of your own head for a while. I like to go out to nature when things aren’t going right for me.  I grab my camera and head towards the bay or the forest to photograph wildlife.  You need to be quiet while doing this, so there is a meditative quality, too.


Volunteering not only helps you build your skills, but also learn new ones.  Plus, it allows you to build your network by meeting other people in your field, or even outside your field. Furthermore, there is the added benefit of feeling good that you are helping an organization meet their needs.

Use the Connection

You meet a lot of people in your field during your job search. Keep in contact with them. They may have a position open that is a better fit for you, or they may know of a new position that comes open at another institution.  I’ve had a previous interviewer tip me about open positions I may not have otherwise heard about.  Don’t see a job not offered as a door closed, but look at it as another door opening on possible opportunities.

Consult an Expert

At some point, it might be time to call in reinforcements, outsiders who can objectively review your resume or interview skills, and see where you might come up short. I had my references review my resume/CV.  I had my husband, a library director with years of experience interviewing people for positions, coach me on my interview skills, since I tended to freeze up when trying to think of examples from my career.  Also, ask the interviewer for constructive feedback.  I had one director who called me with my rejection. He then proceeded to say that I was no longer a candidate but a patron, and he provided very valuable, if somewhat painful, feedback that I’ve tried to incorporate.

These are just a few strategies you could use to help you get through rejection and land that perfect position.

Erin Kinney graduated from Florida State University with her MLIS.  Erin is a past president and webmaster of the Wyoming Library Association. Her professional interests include digitization and providing access to rare materials. Erin’s hobbies include photography, knitting, and gardening. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.