How To Handle Rejections As A Professional

When you are new to something, you need to understand how likely you are going to get rejected.

I hate to accept but rejections are a great teacher once you move on from feeling like a failure.

Each one of us goes through a setback at least once in our career and it does feel like the end of the world. The professional rejections come with negative emotions such as anger, bitterness, etc.

What one needs to understand is that getting rejected is far different than getting failed. You can only get failed when you get the opportunity to do a particular task but you get rejected before even getting that particular opportunity. That is why rejection hurts a little bit more in the long run.

Before we dive into understanding what we can do to handle the rejections, let’s understand why and how for the same.

Rejections - Why and How

Most of the time, rejections are not about you. If you get rejected for a particular role, it could be because your profile doesn’t align with the role. Not necessarily mean that you are not capable. However, it could mean that even if you get the opportunity, the role won’t be able to do justice to your skills.

How can you understand if the rejection is about you or not?

Talk to the concerned team/people about the rejection, ask questions but remember to keep the negative emotions aside. Be genuinely curious and try to understand their perspective. Ask for clarification when needed.

Akash has written a good piece about asking questions, check it out here - Don't underestimate the Power of Asking

That being said, if you face rejections frequently, then it could be a sign of self-introspection.

Bonus #1

Tips to self-introspect -

  • List your strengths and weaknesses and see if you are playing on your strengths or not.
  • What exactly are you lacking that could be the reason for the rejections?
  • Ask for feedback from your seniors/mentors and work on your weaknesses.
  • Try to analyze your profile from an unbiased perspective.

Why you get rejected can become a mystery as well if the involved team doesn’t respond sincerely. However, that should not become an obstacle to moving on.

Now let’s see what we can do to handle rejections.

7 ways to handle rejections as a professional

  1. Know the odds of succeeding:

    • When you are new to something, you need to understand how likely you are going to get rejected. It does scare you in the short run but in the long run, it helps in handling the rejection.
    • People might call it negative but it’s not negativity but realistic and one needs to see the rejection from a macro perspective as well.
    • Do the math and have a healthy attitude towards the next adventure.
    • Being realistic during the rejection period can solve many miseries.
  2. Get back on the horse:

    • It’s a famous saying to handle rejection. If you have some opportunities lined up, then you can start looking forward to the next opportunity.
    • Keep your options open.
    • The most effective way is to move quickly on to something else - the next opportunity, the next task, etc.
    • Learning a new skill to improve your chances is the one actionable task.
  3. Manage your emotions:

    • Emotions management is important if you want honest feedback. You won’t get one if you are bitter or angry, or get offended easily.
    • It takes time to manage the emotions, however, you should give yourself a limited time to mop around.
    • Feeling ‘negative’ emotions for a long time can become fatal for your confidence.
    • Accept that you get rejected but remember you can do more once you come into action again.
  4. Learn from rejections:

    • It might sound cliche but learn from rejection will surely be fruitful in the future.
    • Try to be open to the feedback/criticism, you don’t need to like it but accept it - to make the required changes.
    • Reach out for help if you feel stuck.
    • Get a secondary perspective on your actionable plan.
  5. Separate your worth:

    • Understand that your worth doesn’t depend on the ‘promotion’ you didn’t get or on the ‘job’ you didn’t get, you are more than that.
    • Once you do that, you see the rejection as an opportunity to explore more options.
    • Recognize that it takes time and many “nos” to get that one big thing you want.
    • Keep a list of your achievements and understand how one rejection can’t undo anything.
  6. Avoid comparing yourself to others:

    • This is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Compare yourself to your past self and see how far you have come, and reflect upon your journey.
    • Remember only you are living your life, nobody else.
  7. Make an alternative plan:

    • Use rejection as a process of elimination.
    • Prepare for other potential rejections, you will feel more confident.
    • Be efficient with the plan but do not procrastinate on actions.
    • Getting only one win can be the game changer, focus on that more.

Bonus #2

The best way to have more options is to make your luck:

  • Talk to the relevant people
  • Network - read more about networking here Your network == Your lifeline
  • Find opportunities, connect with peers, get hired - one stop for all three: Peerlist

As much as I want to share more ways to handle the rejections, I can not. Rejection should be handled on a personal level. Take more time if you can’t just move on. Don’t take any time if that’s your way.

The above-mentioned points are the ways one can handle the rejection but if your way is something different, then share it with us.