We all have to deal with rejection, it's never fun. However, a rejection is also a chance to better understand yourself, the other person, and the relationship to the other person. That's why I'm writing this Frisse Blik Artikel about how to turn a rejection to your advantage.

How to turn a job rejection to your advantage

You are a student, you have just graduated and you have the world at your feet: they are waiting for you. You are preparing for your first job interview, how exciting! And then… they reject you. That can’t be true! My CV was fine, right? I fit the profile, didn’t I? The rejection hurts you more than you expected. You try to stay strong, but a world collapses… or does this rejection actually open a new world for you?

We all have to deal with rejection, it’s never fun. However, a rejection is also a chance to better understand yourself, the other person, and the relationship to the other person. That’s why I’m writing this Frisse Blik Artikel about how to turn a rejection to your advantage.

Applied 150 times, rejected 107 times

In a podcast by Ted Work Life, Emily Winter tells us that her good intention for 2018 was to be rejected one hundred times for a job. According to Emily, this is not a succession of disappointments, but rather of a sign of empowerment. She saw it as a win-win situation: the goal was to be rejected, it would be a nice bonus if she was hired. By doing this, she turned getting hired and getting rejected into something positive. Emily kept a list of all the interviews, asked for feedback, and made notes. Out of the final 150 applications, she was rejected 107 times, but was also hired 43 times. She made herself more comfortable with rejection in order to reduce her fear and take more risks. Among the 43 successful applications, Emily found her dream job that she had never thought herself to be ‘good enough’ for.

Who to blame?

There are often two ways how people deal with rejection: either it’s the other’s fault, or we see ourselves as fully responsible. By blaming others, we protect our egos: “the interview was difficult because the recruiter was a jerk”, “it wasn’t me, the recruiter asked bad questions”. If we take on full responsibility, we start to think in ‘slippery-slope scenarios’ and we harshly criticise ourselves: “I’m not good enough, not qualified, experienced… etc.”.

But there is also a third way: ‘not me, not you, but us’. In many cases the problem lies not in the individual, but in the relationship to the other. The wrong person in the wrong climate: there is no match. Rejection is often not only about whether you are a good candidate for the position, but also about whether you fit in with the company. After all, you do not only apply for the position, but also for a company culture, and in an interview the ‘relationship between you and the company’ is tested.

A better perspective

You are responsible for your own career as well as for your part in the relationship with a company. Explore your alternatives and keep a close eye on your ideals. So, turn a rejection into a learning moment and take the time to critically examine the reasons why you did not get hired. In this context, you should also consider why you wanted the job.

Was it because you were passionate about the specific job, the company or the idea of it? Through work experience and interviews in which you are questioned thoroughly, you only find out what really drives you. A rejection is an encouragement to figure out what really suits you. Hence, it is very important to start this process as early as possible. What are my ambitions? Where do I see myself in the future?

The value of feedback

After a rejection, take some time to feel sorry for yourself; a rejection is never fun. However, don’t get sucked into this misery. No matter how cliché it may sound: you learn from setbacks. It makes you insecure, angry, disappointed and wiser. Setbacks and disappointments are an inevitable, and perhaps even crucial, part of everyone’s career.

Dare to be critical and ask for feedback. This will prevent you from filling in the blanks of why you were rejected, but you will also learn what you can improve. Was it the recruiter, you or the relationship? You will only find out about this through feedback. The more interviews you have had, the clearer it becomes how candidates are selected, the more risks you dare to take and the better you can respond to them.


It requires courage to take risks that can lead to criticism. The more you learn to deal with rejection, the stronger you will get and the more you can grow. If you endure 100 rejections, you can handle anything.

As a student, you’re still young; you can’t expect to find your dream job when you’re twenty-one. It’s never a hit at once. Many students don’t find out what really drives them until a few years later. “Was this what I expected from work? Have my expectations been met?” We, Studentflex & High Potential Academy, can guide you in this. Not only to learn how to deal with rejection (we understand what this can do to you), but also to find out where your ambitions really lie and which company suits you best.

And remember, the most successful people have to deal with failures. So, which rejection did you learn the most from?


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Lucas Florian

Senior Accountmanager & Business Development bij Studentflex



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