There's no way to sugarcoat it - getting rejected sucks. Putting your heart and soul into a job application only to be told "thanks but no thanks" would leave anyone feeling sad, disappointed or angry. Your first reaction might be to retaliate, to complain or to beg for another chance, but it could end up doing more harm than good.

The world (and especially New Zealand) is incredibly small in terms of networks, and making a bad impression after a job rejection could further halt your chances of landing the job you want. Instead here are three ways to gracefully respond to a painful job rejection.

Follow up

If the employer takes the time to tell you why you didn't get the role, make sure you also take the time to respond appropriately. This doesn't need to be lengthy, just a simple thank you for their time and acknowledge that you appreciate knowing which skills you should work on for future applications. If they don't offer feedback, ask for some. This will be fundamental in improving your applications for future roles.


If you really, really want to work at a certain company you shouldn't let the first rejection put you off for life. Give it a few months so that you can brush up on or learn any new skills that you're lacking and then apply for new listings as they appear. Make sure you're qualified and suitable for the role first and foremost. Then let the employer know in your cover letter how you have improved since your last application.

Vent appropriately

Surely we all know by now that social media is the last place you should be airing your dirty laundry. When you've just been rejected, whether a job or a relationship, it's tempting to post a dramatic status or update in order to get the validation you're craving. Don't do it.

Ditch the social media and reach out to real people who you trust and can confide it instead. Calling your parents, friends or partner is going to be far more rewarding than venting to a bunch of strangers on the internet. The last thing you want is the employer to see your Twitter rampage.

To sum it all up

The way you handle a job rejection is going to show your professionalism, create a lasting impression and could potentially lead to another opportunity in the future. You should always take the time to thank your interviewer for their time, regardless of your application outcome.

Take some time to reflect, improve on your weak points and brush yourself off. Another opportunity will come around before you know it!

For more tips and tricks check out the JBA blog here.