CPSA case study: Bouncing back from rejections

Yun Wen Soh, Final year LLB Student and Career Peer Support Assistant

Thank you for your application for [job name] at [company].

However, after careful consideration we regret to inform you that you have not been successful…”

Emails like this are almost inevitable during your job search. Despite knowing that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, receiving rejections can feel crushing.



Here are some practical tips to get out of the rejection rut …

Catch your negative thoughts


“I am not good enough, maybe that is why I was rejected”.

“I will give up on applying for xxx company because I am a failure.”

After experiencing a rejection, you might find yourself having negative thoughts like the above. It is important to be aware of these negative thoughts and recognize them as a normal and temporary response to a setback. At times like these, it can be really helpful to practice self-compassion – imagine how you would treat a friend or loved one who had just received the same news!


After clearing the negativity in your headspace, take this opportunity to reflect on your application, and try and isolate exactly what didn’t go the way you wanted it to. A great way to start is to carefully read any feedback the employer has provided you with. If you didn’t receive much feedback, you might be able to arrange a feedback call to ask the employer which areas you can improve on.

It can also help to talk things through with someone, and I would highly recommend booking an appointment with the Careers Service to do this. Simple steps like practicing one video interview question a day on Interview360  can also go a long way to making yourself a better candidate.

Don’t take it personally


Although your peers may be posting about their achievements on LinkedIn, they also had their fair share of rejections. Searching for a job is a difficult process, and it is only natural that, no matter how great your CV is, you will be facing rejections at some point during your job search. Remember that there are many variables during a job search that are out your control – it’s best to focus on those things that you can control!

The rejection might be a blessing in disguise

It might be that you just weren’t quite the right fit with the firm culturally, in which case, a ‘rejection’ might be a good thing. If a firm’s culture does not fit yours, working there may not have been the best option for you anyway!

Remember that your first graduate job need not be your “dream job”: any first job where you have good colleagues and good bosses, who can show you the ropes within the working world, will make you a stronger candidate for future roles.

Just keep swimming


Rejection is never enjoyable. But if you are able to reflect on it, you will put yourself in a much better position for your next application. Get support from your mentors and your trusted peers, who can give you feedback on your application and your interview skills. Keep working hard to tailor your applications, and seek support from the Careers Service through the live chat service. Just keep swimming!

Author: Yun Wen Soh, Career Peer Support Assistant and Final Year LLB student

This blog post is one of a series produced by our Career Peer Support Assistants, our fantastic team of current Bristol students working part-time with the Careers Service. Look out for further CPSA case studies coming soon!