Following up on my article last month titled “Navigating the Job Hunt: A Full-Time Endeavour,” I thought it would be beneficial to discuss coping mechanisms when faced with rejection after going through the application or interview process. In a country like South Africa, where the unemployment rate is high, persistent job searching without receiving any positive responses can be disheartening. Interestingly, even individuals with critical skills find themselves in a struggle to secure career opportunities, whether in different organisations or their current places of employment.

The Reality of Job Rejection

You have now sent through numerous applications and have undergone countless interviews, yet the common response remains, “We regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful.” How do you push forward? How do you remain positive? In the following sections, I will share some tips on how you can maintain resilience in the face of rejection and persist in your job search.

Tips for Handling Job Rejection

1. Acceptance: Understand that rejection is a part of the process. It signifies that you weren’t the right fit for that particular job, not that you are unqualified or won’t find a job eventually.

2. Don’t Personalise Rejection: It’s easy to take rejection personally, but remember that the hiring manager’s decision is based on various factors.

3. Emotion Management: Allow yourself to feel your emotions. It’s okay to be disappointed or frustrated when you don’t get the job you desire. Let yourself feel these emotions for a while, but avoid dwelling on them.

4. Learning from Experience: Every challenge comes with a lesson. If the hiring manager provides feedback, take it to heart and use it to improve your job search strategies. Reflect on the interview process and identify areas for improvement.

5. Persistence: Don’t give up. Just because you didn’t get one job doesn’t mean you won’t get another. Keep applying for jobs and networking with people in your industry.

6. Self-Care: Job rejection can be stressful, so it’s important to take care of your mental and physical health. Try to find other things that distract you from the rejection, like exercising or listening to your favourite music.

7. Support Network: Talk to someone you trust. Conversations with a friend or family member can help you process your emotions and move on from rejection.

8. Recognising Your Strengths: Don’t lose sight of your strengths when you’re feeling down. Make a list of your skills and accomplishments to remind yourself of your value.

9. Celebrating Success: Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. This can help keep you positive and motivated during your job search.

10. Perseverance: Keep trying. Don’t give up on your dreams, even if you face rejection. Rejection is a temporary setback and not a reflection of your worth. With perseverance and positivity, you will find the job that is right for you.


Navigating job rejection can be a difficult task, but these strategies can help you maintain your morale and determination as you continue your search. Remember, each setback is an opportunity for learning and growth. In the end, persistence and a positive attitude will lead you to the career path best suited for you.

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