Productive Rejections

Every year I see kids applying to college, and slightly bigger kids graduating college and applying for jobs. (Yes, from where I'm standing, you're still kids.)

These are both nerve-racking experiences, since, for most people, they're practically guaranteed to come with some kind of rejection.

I'm glad I don't have to do either of those things again.

At the same time, rejection is almost always a valuable lesson.

And once you're in the "real world," you have to deal with rejection all the time. Every day, really, in large and small ways.

So here are five tips on making the most out of being rejected, either from a school, or company, or really, whatever or whoever:

1. Be honest with yourself. There's usually a good reason you didn't "win." If you can't imagine what it is, ask the person who interviewed you.

2. Don't be afraid to re-apply. There's no shame in persistence, and sometimes the second time really is the charm. If you really want something, why let rejection get in the way?

3. Did you do everything possible to prepare? Were you 100% ready or could you have done more to better prepare for the opportunity? If so, don't make that mistake again.

4. Did you explore all your contacts and seek the help of everyone who might have influence with the company? References and who you know do matter.

5. Were your expectations too high? Was the target not in reach in the first place? Maybe there was an intermediate step - or position - you missed.

If you avoid making the same mistakes the next time, the rejection was actually productive.


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