10 ways to be nicer to yourself after a job rejection.

Getting rejected by a job can be a very difficult situation to manage. I remember after I graduated college I wanted to get a job while I was working on my master’s degree. I decided to go with teaching since I knew I could get certified as a teacher. Well, when I interviewed I was rejected multiple times because I didn’t have experience teaching. Somehow, I managed to keep applying rejection after rejection, and I did eventually get a job as a teacher, but it was a very difficult experience for me.

I hope this article helps anyone out there who has recently been rejected by a job. I also hope this article helps my future self as I am currently exploring a different career option since I am no longer a teacher. After three years of teaching off and on, my master’s degree still isn’t completed. Unfortunately, teaching is an extremely time-consuming profession, but I did learn a lot from it. Mainly, I learned that the students are the best part of teaching and that teachers are really hard workers. Okay, enough about me. Here are ten ways to be nicer to yourself after a job rejection:

1. Avoid negative spiraling

Negative spiraling occurs when you allow yourself to have one negative thought after another about a particular situation. When you find that your brain is saying things like “You will never get a job. You are too x,y,or z to get a job. No one will like you enough to hire you. You must not be competent because the interviewer didn’t offer you a position” you need to stop the spiral and follow tip number two. Getting rejected by a job is already hard enough. You don’t need to make yourself feel worse by allowing your brain to indulge in lies about yourself.

2. Shine a light on the lies you’re telling yourself

If you find that you are having negative thoughts or are falling into a negative spiral, it’s important to shine a light on the lies that you’re telling yourself. Maybe your brain is telling you that you will never get a job; correct that negative thought with something realistic.

Instead, you might say, “Of course I will get a job. It just might take longer than I originally expected.” or “It is highly improbable to think that I will never get a job. I know I will eventually get a job; I just need to keep trying.” Hopefully offering yourself kind and realistic thoughts to counter the negative ones will further help you to stop negative spiraling and to feel better.

3. Feel your feelings

Avoiding negative spiraling doesn’t mean you should avoid feeling your feelings. You can feel sad without telling yourself telling something mean. It is okay to feel sad about not getting the job that you wanted. Make sure to be kind to yourself when you are feeling sad, upset, frustrated, or confused. Validate your feelings, but don’t validate negative self-talk.

Instead, of blaming yourself and telling yourself mean negative statements about why you didn’t get the job, tell yourself that it’s okay to feel upset about not getting a job because it is upsetting. Then, remind yourself that everything will be okay. Feel your feelings, but don’t allow yourself to stay in a negative headspace. If you find that you are feeling worse after feeling your emotions, see a therapist. You should also see a therapist if you find that you are continuing to feel sad, upset, frustrated, or confused.  

4. Write yourself a kind letter

Getting rejected by a job isn’t easy. Write yourself a loving letter. This letter can be motivational or personal. The letter can serve as a reminder of how amazing you are, encourage you to get back up and try again, as well as emphasize the worth and value you have outside of a career.

5. List three things you are proud of about yourself and explain why

The fifth way to be nicer to yourself is to write down a list of three things you are proud of that you have done and explain why you are proud of yourself. For example, you can write “I am extremely proud of you for going to your interview. I know that interviewing is a scary thing for you to do, but you did it anyway. Thank you for showing up. I’m really proud of you.”

6. Go on a walk

Going on a walk and getting fresh air can serve as a better alternative to sulking in your room while you mull over the “failed” interview again and again.

7. Avoid overanalyzing your last interview

This brings us to number seven. Try your best not to repeat your last interview in your head over and over again. You don’t need to replay in your mind the embarrassing thing you think you said or did. A shaming session about not being perfect enough in your last interview isn’t going to fix that past: it’s just going to hurt you now and possibly in the future. You don’t want the time you spent shaming yourself for the little mistakes you made to cause you to have extreme anxiety about going into another interview in the future.

8. Acknowledge areas that need improvement without excessive blame or shame

It is okay to reflect back on your last interview as a way to improve for your next one. However, it is important to do this without excessive blame or shame. You can acknowledge areas that need improvement in a kind and respectful manner. The need for improvement does not equal failure. Being able to objectively acknowledge areas that need improvement can help prime yourself for growth.

9. Spend time with your loved ones    

You can confide in your loved ones about how you are feeling and ask for words of encouragement and advice. Spending time with your loved ones can also ease your mind. You might find that after spending time with friend and/or family, that in their presence you genuinely smiled, genuinely laughed, and genuinely felt a sense of happiness.

10. Take three deep breaths and remind yourself that you are loved and capable of doing great things

I will admit, I don’t do this one very often, but I have heard how important it is to take in three deep breaths when you are feeling stressed. Not getting a job can be extremely stressful, so if taking three deep breaths can help in any way, it’s probably at least worth trying. Lastly, don’t forget to tell yourself that you are loved and capable of doing great things.

Bonus: Remember that seasons come and go. Rain doesn’t pour down forever.

To anyone dealing with a job rejection, I hope you feel better soon, and I hope you get a good job that suits you well.

2 thoughts on “10 ways to be nicer to yourself after a job rejection.

  1. Robert LaBarge

    Hi Elaina! I love the idea in #4: write yourself a kind letter. It would probably be even more beneficial if one were to put as much effort into their own letter as you did for others in your mail challenge! Imagine sending yourself a letter too — a positive message arriving from your past self to your own mailbox in a couple of days!


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