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Shifting Your Perspective: How to Deal with Rejection


Words by Law City Student Ambassador, Sharon John-Okoro


Many of us are familiar with the situation where we have been rejected from something we desperately wanted, such as a dream job, leading us to doubt ourselves. According to some studies, being unable to deal with rejection can increase feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy, and sadness[1]. In this blog, I will reiterate ways to view rejection from a different perspective, turning a seemingly negative experience into a catalyst for personal and professional growth.


Dealing with job rejection begins with the understanding that it is not the end of our career dreams. Although we may feel devastated by a job rejection, it's important to recognise that it offers an opportunity to learn. For example, I once applied for a solicitor apprenticeship, my dream role, and was so confident in my application that I rushed to submit it, believing it was exceptional and would guarantee acceptance. However, the balance between enthusiasm and strategic focus when applying for firms is crucial. In hindsight, I realise that I didn't answer the questions asked; instead, I included what I thought the assessors wanted to hear. This approach led to self-doubt when I was rejected, as becoming a solicitor apprentice was my ultimate goal. From this experience, I learned that mass-applying to numerous firms and reusing the same answers for similar questions was not effective. It felt overwhelming and ultimately unproductive. Now, I understand the importance of tailoring each application to the specific firm and question, avoiding generic responses. This has taught me how to better approach application questions and to stop using the same answer for every application.


When it comes to rejection, it is all about perspective, meaning it is up to you how you deal with your rejection and what steps you take to improve. After continuously hearing back from firms with rejections, I owed it to myself to investigate the underlying issues. For instance, I would sometimes email the firm or the recruitment team to ask for feedback on my application and interview. I would also ask a friend or family member to review my applications and provide feedback. Feedback enables you to recognise your blind spots and correct your mistakes while simultaneously investing in self-improvement. This will likely increase your chances of performing better in applications and interviews.


Here are some additional steps you might consider to further enhance your chances of success:


1. Professional Development: Engage in continuous learning to ensure that your skills and knowledge are up-to-date and relevant to the firm you are applying to. This could include taking online courses, attending workshops, or obtaining certifications.


2. Networking: Build a professional network by attending industry events, joining professional associations, and connecting with individuals on professional social media platforms like LinkedIn. Networking can often lead to opportunities and referrals that might not be advertised.


3. Tailoring Applications: As mentioned, make sure each application is specifically tailored to the job and firm you're applying to. Highlight relevant experience and skills that match the job description and demonstrate your understanding of the firm's culture and values.


4. Mock Interviews: Practice your interview skills with someone who can provide you with honest and constructive feedback. This could be a mentor, a career coach, or a professional in the field.


5. Reflect on Your Experiences: Take the time to reflect on your previous roles and experiences. Identify key achievements and how they have prepared you for the role you are applying for.


6. Perspective: Maintain a positive mindset and resilience. Rejection is an inevitable part of the job search process, but each rejection is a learning opportunity.


7. Follow-Up: After interviews, send a thank-you email to express your gratitude for the opportunity to interview and reiterate your interest in the position. This can keep you fresh in the interviewer's mind and demonstrate your professionalism.


By continuing to refine your approach and learning from each experience, you will not only improve your applications and interview skills but also increase your chances of securing a position that aligns with your career aspirations. Remember that persistence and a willingness to learn from rejection are key components of success.



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