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

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“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!

Reflect

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

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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

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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! 

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Myth 1: There are no jobs to apply for

Contrary to popular belief, there are still plenty of brilliant opportunities out there, and the number is growing rapidly. According to the latest labour market information, UK businesses are currently reporting the fastest growth in activity for more than 20 years!  

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Myth 2: Employers won’t take me seriously without in-person work experience  

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Myth 3: Employers won’t value my degree if it’s not closely aligned with their work 

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Our Career Options page lets you see you the variety of different roles which students studying your degree subject have ended up in.  

Myth 4: I won’t get a job in the sector I’m most interested in, because I can’t see any relevant vacancies advertised 

If you’re not seeing many jobs or internships advertised that you are interested in, there are two things you should consider: 

Firstly, graduate employers may be recruiting directly on their own websites, instead of through more generic job sites. You can bookmark the jobs websites of specific companies you are interested in and follow them on social media to have the best chance of seeing advertised jobs.  

Secondly, be proactive. Reach out directly to employers who are not actively advertising. It’s not easy to create your own opportunity, but the Careers Service has useful guides on both speculative applications and sourcing your own internship which can help you with this.  

Myth 5: There’s not much I can do over the summer to help make myself more employable 

You’ve worked hard this year, and it’s really important to take a break. However, this summer offers a great opportunity to catch up on anything you’ve missed out on over the last year, and help to build your CV ready for any job applications you have planned for the autumn. The Careers Service will continue to organise employer-led events, and offer information, advice, and guidance through appointments and the live chat service throughout the summer. 

 Although your plans may have changed this year, this means that new types of opportunity are available to you. Keep an open mind and remember that that your next job does not need to be your ‘perfect’ or ‘forever’ job – it’s just the next step in gaining valuable experience in the workplace, and gradually realising your career goals.  

 

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