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Getting Rejected for a Job? Here Are 100 Positive Things You Can Do Next

We've all been there - you put in hours of work on a job application, nail the interviews, and feel confident that the job is yours. Then the dreaded rejection email or phone call comes. It stings no matter how many times it happens or how prepared you try to be.




While it's important to take time to process the disappointment, wallowing or beating yourself up won't make you feel better or get closer to your goals. There are many positive, productive things you can do after getting that "no thanks" from a potential employer. This list has 100 ideas spanning self-care, reflection, skill-building, networking and more.


Self-Care After Rejection


1. Take a bubble bath

2. Get a massage

3. Go to the spa

4. Have a good cry

5. Vent to a trusted friend

6. Go for a long walk 

7. Cuddle with your pet or significant other 

8. Listen to uplifting music

9. Watch funny YouTube videos

10. Do some yoga for stress relief


Reflecting On the Opportunity


11. Make a list of the position's positives and negatives

12. Consider if it was truly a good culture/team fit 

13. Look at the bullet points you dodged 

14. Think through if you would have ultimately been happy there long-term

15. List what you gained from this experience 

16. Make peace with not knowing the real reasons for the rejection

17. Send a polite thank you note to the contacts you met

18. Think through constructive feedback for self-improvement

19. Consider if this was just bad timing


Next Step Planning

20. Research the company's competitors 

21. Search online job boards for similar newly posted roles

22. Set up job alerts for ideal openings

23. Update your resume based on this target position

24. Refine your interview answers using this experience 

25. Revise your target job list and descriptions

26. Make a list of relevant contacts to reach out to 

27. Email new connections asking for informational interviews

28. Schedule time next week for a serious job search session

29. Enroll in courses to gain additional relevant skills 

30. Plan to attend industry events, seminars and conferences

31. Follow relevant companies on social media for news of openings

32. Sign up for Google alerts on interesting companies and job titles

33. Check professional associations related to the target field for job boards

34. Search volunteer groups and nonprofits for ways to gain more experience


Confidence Boosting  


35. Repeat positive affirmations in the mirror 

36. Practice your body language and eye contact  

37. Re-read current positive references and performance reviews

38. Look through your collection of thank you notes and messages

39. Make a brag list of recent wins and accomplishments

40. Revisit past successes and challenges you have powered through

41. Schedule get-togethers with friends who make you feel great about yourself

42. Watch a motivational speech or podcast for a boost

43. Exercise to release feel-good endorphins

44. Show off your skills by teaching someone else 

45. Update your LinkedIn profile to showcase strengths and achievements



Career Advancement Moves


46. Ask former bosses or professors to serve as references or write recommendation letters 

47. Review industry trends and news to find growing needs to highlight in applications and interviews

48. Brush up abilities with online classes in high demand software, programming languages, etc.  

49. Get Google Analytics or other certifications that make you more marketable

50. Study competitors of the hiring company for alternative opportunities and insights

51. Take on a volunteer leadership role to demonstrate management experience

52. Update old contacts from previous jobs or externships about your job search 

53. Pitch yourself as a guest article writer for news sites or blogs in your target field

54. Create video tutorials displaying your skills to post on YouTube

55. Offer paid consulting to former colleagues or companies to get freelance experience

56. Apply for higher level jobs calling for managerial skills you likely already have

57. Enroll in Toastmasters or improv classes to improve public speaking skills

58. Consider interim contract roles to gain new expertise and demonstrate adaptability  



Positivity Building


59. Unplug from email to avoid seeing more rejection letters for a set time

60. Avoid comparing yourself negatively to other candidates or peers 

61. List ways you have positively impacted past team members and companies 

62. Remember that one rejection does not determine your worth or potential

63. Design a vision board with career goals and dreams to stay inspired

64. Practice gratitude for supportive colleagues, friends and family 

65. Celebrate small daily achievements in addition to big "wins"

66. Find humor in some aspect of a bad interview or strangely worded rejection 

67. Use mantras like “Something better is coming” to override self-criticism

68. Avoid imposter syndrome thoughts questioning your abilities or downplaying strengths

69. Focus on helping others instead of relentless self-promotion

70. Re-read favorite inspirational books, poetry or quotes

71. Commit small anonymous acts of kindness when you get frustrated 



Getting Organized


72. Completely declutter your email inbox

73. Organize paper and computer files

74. Update contact database and job tracking systems  

75. Create a brag document centralizing accomplishments

76. Build a portfolio site showcasing your work

77. Craft the perfect elevator pitch summarizing your background 

78. Outline new targeted company and networking lists

79. Clean out your car trunk and glove compartment 

80. Set up an uplifting, productive workspace to start your days focused



Self-Improvement Goals 


81. Read career-boosting nonfiction books 

82. Take a creative writing class to improve personal statements

83. Complete an improv or public speaking course

84. Learn basic graphic design to craft visually appealing resumes 

85. Study a foreign language to stand out from competitors

86. Volunteer with an organization that helps people with barriers to employment

87. Shadow an acquaintance working in your target field to gain insights 

88. Get freelance gigs to demonstrate versatility

89. Teach yourself web development or other tech skills online

90. Take photography and video editing classes to better self-market across channels


Job Search Tips


91. Let yourself cry for a day then repaint your war face the next day

92. Leverage LinkedIn to connect to the company’s team members

93. Follow up with the hiring manager, not just HR, requesting insights for improvement

94. Use interviews for inside intel to inform future applications 

95. Send handwritten thank you notes after interviews to stand out

96. Treat applying for jobs like a full time job itself

97. Set a weekly goal to apply to a set number of openings 

98. Resist the temptation to gripe about rejections on social media  

99. Remember that the perfect role for you is coming even if this one slipped away

100. Persist despite discouragement knowing your ideal opportunity is out there!



The pain of rejection will fade, but focusing on next steps instead of questioning your worth makes finding the right fit much more likely. Try out some of the suggestions that resonate with you from the list above after your next "no thanks". Here's to future career victories headed your way soon!


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