We’ve all been there. We have all, at one point in time, received a rejection email from a job application. You could even have had an amazing interview, but then the message arrives in your inbox with something along the lines of, “Dear Dorota, we really liked you as a candidate. However, we are sorry to inform you that we have decided to go with another candidate who better fits the profile for this position.”

And let me tell you, I know how it hurts. It is a crush to the ego, especially if you have received more than a few rejections already. However, I wouldn’t be a career coach, if I hadn’t been able to spot the silver lining in every situation. And here’s the thing: job rejections don’t define you as a person. In fact, they can be powerful catalysts for growth and self-improvement.

So, let’s buckle up, embrace your resilience and learn how to overcome doubts after facing job rejections in the Netherlands.

1. Give yourself permission to feel the painIn a world that continuously seeks happiness and LinkedIn posts full of people posting about their new job, it is ok to not feel ok after not getting the job you wanted. We are humans, we feel deeply and yet we don’t always allow ourselves to feel the pain.

So, acknowledge that it sucks and that you feel bad about it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t care so much, right? Do not stay there for too long though. Use your emotional pain as the fuel to move forward and take stock of lessons learnt.

This brings me to my next point:

2. Dig deep for the feedback and do your homeworkSo, what I see that often happens with job candidates is that they do not pursue things further when it comes to a rejection. The fact that someone was slightly better doesn’t actually provide you with any feedback. Especially if you put lots of work into your interviews and writing cover letters for a specific job, you shouldn’t let the recruiter get off the hook so quickly.

Ask firmly, but respectfully, what things you can improve on, from their point of view. For instance, you can ask if it was related to your skillset? Maybe it was related to the way you answered the questions or presented yourself during the interview? Or perhaps there was something else.

If you send that follow-up email and only hear crickets – which happens very often, unfortunately – follow up with them again. You can also mention how crucial it is for you to receive feedback in order to move forward.

The best way is to get feedback on the phone, so when compiling your message ask the recruiter for those details immediately.

3. Strengthen your skill setOnce you have received feedback on your application, it is now time to put that new information into action. In case you are missing certain hard or soft skills, find out what the quick and effective way to close this gap is.

In the case of my client, he got feedback that he needed to improve his business English. Although his English was already at a pretty good level, he decided to take an intensive course to grow. He put a lot of work into his studies and within two months he got a new job.

Another client of mine received feedback that she needed to improve the way she was answering interview questions. Her answers were very lengthy according to the hiring manager and she often missed getting the point across, so together we have practised just that.

One client was told that he was missing certain specific hard skills related for a highly technical job in the IT sector. So, he spent his time following the appropriate courses and getting the required certification.

4. Get your support system up and runningI cannot highlight this point often enough, especially for expats who are living far away from their family and friends. It is important to have the right people around you to support you during your journey.

You should connect with fellow job seekers, mentors, or industry professionals who can provide guidance, motivation and encouragement. But how do you find people like this? LinkedIn boasts an immense source of connections that can propel your career to the next level quite quickly, but you need to put yourself out there and ask for help.

5. Practice self-careJob hunting is a pretty energy-draining process, I know as I have been there myself a couple of times. And since our brains are wired for negativity with all these rejections coming in, it is easy to feel down. Therefore, you absolutely need a structured and planned self-care practice – it is not a luxury; it is a must.

Self-care activities will help you to bounce back quicker from rejections. Here are some ideas:

Exercise or play a sport a couple of times per week Start a meditation or mindfulness practice Everyday, write 10 things you are grateful for Establish a routine for your job search and stick to it Go for a walk-in nature, either alone or with a friend Spoil yourself (good lunch, dinner, going to see a movie) A detourAnd last but not least, keep in mind that rejections do not define who you are. Rather, think of rejections as simply detours to steer you towards the right direction. Do the work, stay strong and positive and the right job will come! I am sure of that.

What are your tips for overcoming job rejections? Share it in the comments below!


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