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Getting a graduate job (especially your first one) can be a frustrating and drawn-out experience. For the lucky few it may only take a couple of weeks, but for most it can take months of applications, interviews and rejections before you finally land the job you want.
It’s hard, but the best way to move forward after each rejection you receive is to see it as an opportunity to learn from the experience and better understand how to approach each part of the process next time. Trust us, if you’re persistent, eventually it will happen. On the flipside, here’s a list of things that we recommend you never do if you receive a job rejection:
Today in our social media enriched world, your personal brand is everything! We’ve spoken to so many employers who only take a cursory glance at a candidate’s CV but finely comb their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to find out what they’re really like. If you receive a job rejection and then post on Twitter something along the lines of:
“I can’t believe @****** doesn’t want me! I’m glad to be honest, they had a rubbish office #theirloss”
...you’re not just broadcasting your frustration to the company – you’re making a digital record of you being unprofessional, something that will be a major turn-off for the next business vetting you.
Instead, use Twitter and LinkedIn to follow and positively engage with companies and business leaders to help build your persona around the roles you’re applying for. It will show who’s vetting you that you have commercial awareness – a highly sought after trait in almost every industry.
“To whom it may concern,
I am extremely frustrated that you called me in for an interview at your company – but did not offer me the job. To be honest, I think this role is beneath me, but I need the money and I think I am more than capable to do said job (better than most of the people currently working at your company I reckon).
The angry email is the strongly worded letter’s more popular and far more dangerous cyber cousin. It’s dangerous, because it’s much easier to send in the heat of the moment, before you’ve really thought about the impact it could have on your future prospects.
Essentially, you’re not only sabotaging your chances of ever working for that company ever again, but also any other company within that employer’s network!
Businesses talk to each other and emails get forwarded, so rather than sending the angry email and ending up on everyone’s blacklist, instead use this as an opportunity to get feedback on where you fell short.
No matter how angry or frustrated you may be feeling about the situation, take a deep breath and remind yourself that there was simply something that meant you weren’t quite the right fit for this role and someone else was. If you can identify what this was by politely asking for some constructive feedback, it’ll significantly help your next application, or help you identify a gap in your skillset.
“This is all your fault – you never told me I needed to wear a tie and then I turn up and everyone’s wearing ties!”
We’re not going for the “we have feelings too” angle here, but unless you’re going it on your own – recruiters are your gateway to employment, and can take much of the hassle out of the process for you. If they’ve sent you for an interview, then they have faith that you will be a good fit for that particular role.
If you don’t get offered the job, then they might have a load of similar roles that you could also be a great fit for – and if they sent you to one company already – the chances are high they would be happy to send you to another.
It’s in a recruiter’s interest to find the best fit for both you and your potential employer. Talk to the Consultant you’re working with and be honest! Their feedback and guidance could help you secure the job next time. And if the only reason an employer didn’t offer you the job was really because you weren’t wearing a tie to the interview, you’re probably better off not working there anyway!
What all these overreactions come down to is taking a job rejection personally. The graduate job market in particular is highly competitive, and the financial and societal strain put on graduates to get a job can lead to some brash decisions being made. You can never know the whole story and sometimes things are just out of your hands.
So don’t blame yourself (or others!), stay positive, keep your cool and remember that the recruitment process is rarely ever personal. Try to put yourself in the employer’s shoes – often if there’s a role to fill it’s because someone else has left the company.
They’re feeling the strain of needing to fill this gap, especially if it’s a smaller business, but at the same time they’re going to be investing a lot of time and effort into training and developing the person who they hire. Finding someone who’s the right fit is essential to them but in such a competitive market this someone won’t always be you.
It’s all about turning a negative into a positive. If you try to learn something from every part of the experience and keep at it you will be able to reach your goal of getting that graduate job much quicker.