Bouncing back after a job rejection

Isabella Ng - 15 March 2021

It's the time of year: Summer job offers and regrets are coming out, including from our ResLife team. Congratulations to those of you who will get offers!

In reality, the majority of applicants are turned away. Rejection in any form is always hard to come to terms with but it's also inevitable, whether personally or professionally. So how do you get out of the dumps when this happens? Here are four easy steps.

Quit overthinking

It's easy to dwell on the past: Did I forget to ask the interviewers how they were doing? Should I have answered that question differently? UGH! I forgot to mention this experience!

What good does that do? You can't change the past—you can only look forward. Don't beat yourself up over it and instead, focus on congratulating yourself for making it through another interview! And move on.

Ask for feedback

Feedback is scary—I'd know. As a second-year Resident Assistant, I'm no stranger to getting feedback from my peers and supervisors. However, it's super valuable and will supply you with solid points to bring into your next interview!

A lot of people don't know that you can ask your interviewer for feedback after they send out regrets but most are more than happy to supply you with a few pointers. These tips can highlight your strengths as well as give you some idea into how you presented yourself and what you could work towards next time.

Aside from getting closure on why you may have not landed the job, feedback can also tell you what you did right. This can give you reassurance that your interview inevitably didn't go as bad as you might think. We're all our own worst critics so receiving feedback on what you did well can help quiet some of your thoughts.

Identify what you learned

Instead of dwelling on the missed opportunities, be productive in your reflection and think about how you felt and what you learned. Every interview can teach you something, whether you're successful or not. Here are some productive questions you can ask yourself: what questions did they ask? How can I answer them better next time? What did I do well?

Especially with ResLife, interviews are usually pretty similar year-to-year so you'll have a better idea of what questions to expect by the time the next interviews come around. For more tips about succeeding in ResLife interviews, read 10 interview tips from a former RA.

Build resilience

You've asked for feedback and reflected on your experience, so now what? The only thing left to do is to move onto bigger and better things. Like the saying goes, "When one door closes, another one opens." You just have to look for that next open door. Sometimes it can be hidden but it&'ll always turn up.

Your failures don't define you. They may sting for a while, especially when you really invest yourself in preparing for the application and interview, but if no one else has told you yet, I'm proud of you and you're enough. And hey, think of all of the other people who may have "failed" but gone on to achieve great things: Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah... You could turn out to be the next them!

Just wait and see what's around the corner! Good luck!