13 Tips For How To Handle Rejection At Work / In Your Career

Stephanie Dennis
8 min readNov 20, 2023
Photo by Steve Johnson: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photography-of-crumpled-paper-963048/

Rejection unfortunately is part of life. Yay! [sarcasm]

Whether it is professional or personal, rejection can come at us from all aspects of life.

That said, we have to find ways to handle and overcome it. As we look at the career side of the house, this could come in the form of job applications, interviews, promotions, projects, and so on and so forth. Handling rejection the right way is really important and it’s going to help you be more successful moving forward.

It’s kind of like the quote, “get bitter or get better,” and we are here to get better. So let’s get into some tips!

#1 — Thank the person for their time

Obviously, this is going to be when and where it makes sense.

For example, if you submit an application for a job and you get a rejection email, you’re probably not going to respond to that email and say, thanks for your time in reviewing my resume. However, if you have a conversation, whether that’s in the interview process or with your manager, about a promotion, that is where you want to thank the person for their time.

Someone took time out of their day to engage in a conversation with you therefore expressing that gratitude, even if it didn’t go your way, is going to leave a positive impression.

#2 — Try and get very specific feedback

This sometimes can be hard. I know not every company, not every recruiter is going to want to give you specific feedback, some might not even be able to depending on the company’s guidelines and policies.

You have to ask for specific feedback though, if someone can give it, that really could help you improve and do better the next time. Sometimes in the interview process, we can pinpoint a specific part of the conversation we know we didn’t do our best in, or on the other hand, you really might not have any idea where things may or may not have gone wrong. Getting that feedback can really help.

#3 — Offer to help

Continuing with the interview example, let’s say you interview, you don’t get the job, however, the job is still open, and you know someone who could do really well in the role, offer…

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Stephanie Dennis
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