A man carries his resume before speaking with a potential employer at a job fair on September 13, 2016 in Hartford, Connecticut. Although millions of Americans remain either unemployed or underemployed, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that household incomes rose by 5.2 percent in 2015, the largest increase since 2007. Some 200 people attended the Coast to Coast job fair in Hartford, meeting with 17 potential employers. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Rose Kennedy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Receiving a rejection letter is never enjoyable, but responding properly will help you place the experience in the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" category. Resisting the urge toward self-pity is important, according to LinkedIn job search expert Susan P. Joyce, because rejection can douse you with the kind of negative energy that will drain you and make the next stage of your job search tougher.
Don't allow yourself to become angry at the employer, the situation or yourself, U.S. News and World Report advises. "You might think that you were perfect for the job and resent the employer for not seeing it, or even feel angry that you spent your time interviewing. But rejection comes with the territory when you're hunting for a job."
Remind yourself that a rejection letter is definitely preferable to the increasing tendency of employers to "ghost" applicants instead of directly rejecting them.
2. Send a thank-you note
"If you sincerely liked the people and the organization and would want to be considered when another opportunity opens there, the biggest mistake you can make is giving up on the employer and the people you liked," notes Joyce.
3. Remember you might be a runner up
Especially if you were one of a few finalists for a job, things might still go your way after you receive that rejection letter, notes Business Insider. The company might decide to hire two people, or the first hire might ultimately reject the job offer or never start the job. If that happens, you want to be on the record as someone who can stand tall even after getting a rejection letter.
4. Ask, without arguing
The company that rejected you can't really harm you further, so you have nothing to lose by asking the hiring manager for feedback, career coach Ashley Stahl told Forbes. Employers aren't likely to respond helpfully to a general question like, "Why didn't I get the job?" but you can gain helpful input with strategic, pointed questions. Stahl recommends a query such as, "Was there something missing from my background that you were looking for?" to allow you to pinpoint what you might need for a similar job with other employers.