Two People Making A Handshake

December 19, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

Rejection Will Take You to a New Destination

By Sid Basu, Politics and International Relations graduate

Rejection is hard. Rejection is frustrating. Rejection is emotionally draining.  There is no point denying those statements.  Rejection can cause an individual to experience significant mental and emotional turmoil. Everyone has a unique experience of rejection so I cannot speak for everyone else, but I can guarantee that no one enjoys the process. 

For me, the experience of rejections took centre stage in my final year at university. Not only was I facing the academic challenges of securing a good grade,  but I also was focused on life after university. Namely, securing a good job. 

This meant navigating numerous graduate vacancy pages, writing multiple CVs, and preparing for interviews. All of which was exhausting and time consuming!  I found myself emotionally invested in applications for what I considered to be ‘dream jobs’. One such application was for a policy adviser role at the Treasury. I spent hours perfecting my application,  even booking an appointment with a careers adviser to read through my responses. I was thrilled when I received the news that my application had advanced to the final stage of the process. I was asked to attend a half-day assessment centre in London. I spent hours and hours preparing for this day, drafting my interview answers and requesting friends and family to hold mock interviews. I prioritised interview preparation over a university assignment deadline since I viewed this as the best chance to secure a job. 

I came out of the assessment centre positive and optimistic. Nothing really caught me by surprise and I was beginning to get excited for the next chapter in my life. I was already thinking about where I could live in London! I was glued to my emails for the next few days, constantly refreshing for further news. And then it finally arrived. 

‘Having carefully considered your assessment results, we regret to inform you that we cannot offer you the position at this time….’

My heart sank. 

I re-read the sentence a few times and still could not fully process it. I got rejected. 

The next few days went in a blur. I was sad, angry, frustrated, confused. How did I not get my dream job? Why did I waste all that time? What did I do wrong? Negativity and self-doubt were constantly swirling in my head. I felt hopeless. 

If this experience resonates with you, you’re not alone.

Three years later, I am now working in a job which I love. I work for Public Health in Nottinghamshire as a Graduate Support Officer. I am privileged to be able to support the reduction of health inequalities and promote the health and wellbeing of the population. I find my work meaningful and now I can’t see myself doing anything else. If you told me three years ago that I would end up in this role, I wouldn’t believe you. To be honest, I didn’t know what Public Health was in 2019! 

There is an important lesson here. Rejection is not the end of the world. I would never have got to where I am now if I didn’t receive that rejection letter from the Treasury. I always had the mindset that rejection was a closed door. That’s not necessarily true. Rejection has opened a door to a new destination. 

Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”

This quote has always stuck with me. Many of us like to plan a path for our futures but rejection can cut that short. That doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams but trust that you are strong, capable and resilient to overcome this hurdle. 

Rejection is still hard. Rejection is still frustrating. Rejection is still emotionally draining. However, I’ve come to the realisation that rejection does not define or limit us. Instead, it paves the way for a new path to an even better destination. You just have to sit tight, have belief in your abilities and enjoy the journey. 

Explore the Careers website for tips and advice on Making Applications, including CVs, application forms and interviews. Don’t forget, you can book a one-to-one appointment for further support relating to your career journey. 

Posted in Applying For JobsCVs and Cover LettersInterviews