Waiting For The Miracle: When An Employer Rejected You

Published on:

Professional rejection by an employer can often feel deeply personal. Ditch the feeling and do your own thing.

In an unforgiving job market, rejection can often feel deeply personal. What did I do wrong? Have I chosen the wrong education, worked in the wrong places, wasted my time and life? The truth is, it is often not one’s own fault (though it usually feels as if it is). Structural reforms and upheavals imposed by the tech revolution, the stringently automated criteria decreed by an employer or human resources departments and the online mantra of providing content for free that would have been highly compensated a generation ago, all contribute to the growing gulf between a person’s abilities and their apparent market value. In addition, skill sets have to be continually updated to conform with the latest technical requirements. Entire professions and lifetimes of training can appear to have been a complete waste. But don’t believe this.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

Next time you receive an automated email stating its “deep regret” that you don’t match the criteria for the position you applied to, consider the following:

  1. Many organizations pluck applicants from internal ranks on the basis of favor, irrespective of their own abilities or suitability for the post.
  2. Assuming the job application was correctly targeted in terms of skills and expertise, rejections based on a lack of these are ingenuous at best: any job requires initial on-the-job training, and companies expecting pre-baked perfection to save on overhead are actually depriving themselves of an immense pool of talent, and
  3. Human Resource departments often no longer check applicants’ skill sets to evaluate the potential for learning and growth, preferring instead to check off criteria stipulated by increasingly arbitrary and automated search procedures.

In other words, if you match four out of five criteria, your application will most likely be binned, because “it didn’t compute”.

… Do Your Own Thing

What, then, to do?

#1 Be Realistic.

Both in terms of what you apply for, but also in terms of your evaluation of why you were rejected. Where you can improve your efforts, do so. But also be aware of factors, such as the aforementioned, more or less beyond your control. Know what is, and what is not, your own fault.

#2 Reinvent Yourself.

As a matter of necessity, do improve and update your skills. But also reinvigorate your profile by taking confident pride in what you’ve already achieved, suggesting how the accompanying skill set actually enhances a position, even if it’s not an exact match.

#3 Create Your Own Work While You Search.

Not only is keeping busy the best way to avoid the rejection doldrums, but you can learn how to market a unique skill set by consulting, freelancing and generally being entrepreneurial until the right person at the right time sits up and takes notice.

If you feel like the system is rigged to try to force you to give up, do the opposite. Go around it, do your own thing, and beat it at its own game. Once you are perceived to have market value (and start earning well on it), the very companies that rejected you with an airy wave of the hand are more likely to start knocking on your door.

Help Is On The Way

Finally, take a look at the Rejected Us website, where individuals post their success stories following rejection by the powers that be. You are not alone. It says nothing about you that you got rejected. It says everything about you that you won’t give up until you have it your way. And while you’re at it, head over to  StartUs and take a look at the jobs other irrepressible and enterprising individuals are creating, Europe-wide.

As Twisted Sister so memorably put it, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Not then, and not now.



Sharing is caring so please share this post. Thank you!

Photo credit: Guilherme Nicholas via VisualHunt.com / CC BY