Whether you're a beginner or a professional with a three-page résumé, job-search rejection is a challenging moment in a job-hunter's life. So, knowing how to handle it is a must.

Apr 28, 2023 - 5 Minutes

Fresh out of university and seeking for an opportunity to put your knowledge and skill to use? Have you taken time to craft what should have been job-getting applications, but have only received automated rejection messages? Are you having trouble dealing with a job rejection? It can be a difficult thing to face and can leave us feeling a mix of emotions. It is important to take time to process the rejection and work on how you want to handle it. Though humans tend to question their ability, and are filled with negativity following job-search rejections, rejection is unfortunately part of the process when you are searching for a job—whether you are experienced or not. Fortunately, the higher we climb the experience ladder, the lower the rejection number. Hence, instead of feeling downtrodden following a job rejection, build up the character to deal with job rejections because the way you deal with them determines your personality and your integrity as a worker.

What you will read:

  1. Three reasons for job-search rejection
  2. Types of job-search rejection
  3. How to handle job-search rejection


1.        Inexperience

2.       Stereotypes and bias

                   -   Ex-convict,

                   -   Gender,

                   -   Age,

                   -  Religion,                   

                   -  Race, etc.

3.       Home-workplace commute


There are three types of job rejections: no response rejection, automated email rejection and call rejection.

1. No-response Rejection

This is the commonest job rejection type in Cameroon. Recruiters simply do not consider replying to rejected applicants a useful thing to do. Though we may understand that replying to a ton of rejected applicants is strenuous, no-response job rejections leave applicants in suspense, frustration and anxiety, without a clear indication to move on.

2. Automated Email Rejection

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After you have attached and sent your CVs, you may receive an email stating that your application has been received. In the same light, if you application is not retained after scrutiny by the recruiter, you may receive a thanks-for-your-application email automatically. Though this type of job rejection has no personal touch, it is gives the applicant the relief needed to move on. One time, I applied through emailing for a community manager position at a reputable restaurant in town. I did not receive any news following my application and after the deadline stated in the job offer. Because of this silence around my application, I kept checking my inbox for any email, and my outbox too to make sure the email was sent.

3. Call Rejection

Call rejection is the most respectful of all three types of job-search rejection. When recruiters call to explain to applicants that they were not retained for a job, though applicants may be disheartened for not getting the job, they feel much relief receiving the news through a call.


1.       Start by reflecting on what happened

Sometimes, applicants are rejected simply because their applications do not match the job listing or they failed to relate their application to the job. Here, it is not because of an absence of skill, rather an absence of applied skills. Reflect on the job description. What was required? How and when were applicants supposed to apply? The job details, application medium and recipient are crucial to every job application. Make sure you respected every detail. Equally, reflect on anything you may have been told during interviews, such as strengths or compliments. It is important to focus on your own capabilities and strive to improve them. Rather than letting yourself get disheartened, use the rejection as a way to drive yourself further and use this opportunity to enhance your resume. Reflect and react.

2.       Improve your resume

After reflecting, you need to react. Taking on an internship or certification or getting more practice in a skill area you mentioned in the application could really be helpful. Request an internship role for the position for which you applied or start a study programme (online or on-site) streamlined for the same position.

3.       Request for a feedback

If you’re not sure why you were not hired, you can always ask the recruiter for feedback. It could help to receive some helpful insights and to better prepare for future interviews and applications. Equally, talk to friends, family, or even a professional to get the right advice regarding your application file.

4.       Request for a recommendation

Hoping that you were not hired because of the inadequacy of your application file, but because of the competition between you and other applicants, requesting a recommendation may be a good way of dealing with rejection. For instance, recruiters may find your application good, but not better than another candidate’s. So, they may be willing, if you ask them, to recommend you to other recruiters. Here is an example of a recommendation request:

“I am guessing that you have recruited someone for the job by now. Hoping that you found my application worthwhile and if you do not mind, would you kindly suggest it to your contacts. Thank you.”

Sample recommendation request.

5.       Do not vent your frustration on them

Do not be impolite to them by spamming their inbox with insulting emails. In today’s digital world, spamming can be likened to stalking people in real life, and no one really likes a stalker. In very rear cases will you be called on to a project after candidate deliberations because of your persistence. Instead, spamming will tag you as being unprofessional and seeming vulnerable. Note that your online behaviour has a major impact on your physical life.

No matter the outcome, it is important to not give up. It is okay to feel down, but try to find ways to bring yourself back up. Everyone experiences rejection in their lifetime but with practice, perseverance and focus you will eventually find success. Keep a positive attitude and remind yourself of your strengths. With every rejection comes an opportunity for growth and change. So, be mindful of the stories you tell yourself. It is important to shift the focus away from feeling like a failure to finding something better. Develop a mindset of abundance by recognising the numerous opportunities that you have. Job rejection is hard, but do not let it drag you down. Instead, use it as an opportunity to pause, reflect, and improve for a job that is the your perfect fit.

PS: Going through job-search rejection can also help you learn to manage it and help you become a better interviewer and communicator.

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