What to do when you’ve been rejected

March 26, 2010 at 2:36 am Leave a comment

Perhaps the only thing worse for a job hunter than the phone not ringing or your email not being returned is when it is — and you pick up the phone or open the email (or sometimes, still, snail mail) only to find that you’ve been rejected. A big fat “we don’t want you” now replaces your hopes about landing this position.

While rejection is never fun (and we’ve all been there!) career experts say that you can use their “no thank you” to gain some information and polish up your job search skills. Successful job hunters — just as those who succeed in sales, marketing, acting or other pursuits where they are constantly facing rejection — learn early on that when that proverbial door slams shut, another one may well open up. Yet first you have to learn to handle rejection so you can move on to the next opportunity, the one that may actually result in a  job.

Experts offer this advice for coping with rejection and learning from it during a job search:

*Pick yourself up and brush yourself off. Give yourself a little time — no more than a day or two — to cope with the rejection, but don’t wallow. First, though it sounds like a banal breakup line, this may have had nothing to do with you or your skills. You may well have been facing massive competition for this job. The organization may never have intended to hire an outsider and may have posted the position — and gone through the interview process — even though they had a preferred candidate all along. Or they may have really liked you but just didn’t think you were the right fit for this particular job. So beating yourself up about it won’t do much good and will only take time away from your search.

*Get back in touch with the hiring manager. Though this may be the last thing  you feel like doing right now, they may have important feedback that could affect your search going forward. You may find that they hired an insider and so it isn’t worth thinking much more about. Or, if you cleverly ask in a way that won’t put the recruiter on the defensive, you may be able to find out what was lacking in your candidacy. Did you flub the interview? Did they feel that your resume and cover letter didn’t match the qualifications they were seeking? Was your tryout less than impressive? If you can get an answer to this question, you may well be able to fix some problems before you get another shot at an interview or tryout. Or you may find that your former employer was dissing you or even that one of your references was less than enthusiastic about your skills — better to find this out now than after several more rejection letters.

*Look inward and consider what you might have done differently. Often we know when we aren’t necessarily a good fit for an opening, but we try anyway because it seems like a good job, and sometimes we just really need a job. Be honest with yourself about whether you gave this your best shot or whether the position was a good match for you. Take notes. And then, the next time you’re considering spending time and energy going after a position that doesn’t really fit your qualifications, read back over this and stop yourself. Or if you feel like dashing off a quick application letter and the last time you did that it was a sloppy, quick letter, remind yourself that spending more time polishing your application package is well worth the effort.

*Keep at it. Not only should you not take a rejection for a particular position as a rejection of you as a person (or as a journalist) but you shouldn’t let it stop you from going after jobs you want — even at the same organization or company. If the recruiter or hiring manager goes out of their way to tell you, even as they are rejecting you for this job, that they want you to stay in touch, do so. They may applaud your persistence and grace. You might be able to win points for how you handle rejection.

*Consider some workshops that could expand your knowledge base and help your job search, and are easy on the wallet:

*First, a free — yes, absolutely free — workshop for journalists at the University of Delaware in Newark on Monday, April 26 focuses on energy issues and environmental policy. This is a great way to deepen your knowledge of these issues and may be a good networking opportunity as well. This could well be worth a road trip up I-95! Details and a link with registration information follow:

University of Delaware Offers Free Energy Issues Workshop for Journalists
University of Delaware is offering a free energy issues workshop that is designed to bring reporters together with leading experts in energy disciplines and environmental policy. The goal of the program is to increase the media’s understanding of the complex energy issues facing the region, nation, and world through a combination of presentations by experts from academia and journalism, a research lab visit and hands-on activity, a tour aboard UD’s hydrogen bus, and a panel focusing on emerging technologies.  More information and a registration form are available on their website.

*JIST Publishing, which specializes in employment and career topics, for $30 is offering an online workshop for job seekers. Details and a link follow:

JIST Publishing’s new online workshop, Job Search Advantage, offers a solution. This workshop covers the essential steps proven to cut job search time in half and can be taken from any computer with high-speed Web access, at any time—day or night. Course participants gain a better understanding of job search strategy, skills identification, resume and cover letter building, interview performance and many more topics essential to their success in the job market.  Job Search Advantage reinforces these key concepts and helps participants assess their skills and interests with quizzes, videos, examples and downloadable content they can save and review at a later time.

Individuals can purchase the Job Search Advantage at http://www.jistlearning.net/ for $29.95.

To view a demo of the course, visit http://www.jistlearning.net/CourseDemos/JSARetailDemo/player.html.

*Some job and (paid!) internship leads to pursue at the end of this work week:

*The Pew Health Group of the Pew Charitable Trusts has an opening in D.C. for a senior communications officer:


*With a hat tip to prweekjobs.com, there is an opening in D.C. at the British Embassy for a deputy press secretary:

Washington, District of Columbia 20008 United States 03/15/2010 British Embassy
Background: The British Embassy is seeking to recruit a senior Deputy Press Secretary to manage the British Embassy’s relations with the US media and the Washington-based UK press corps and to help…

*And with a hat tip to journalismjobs.com (on these next several listings),  MacNeil Lehrer Productions has a paid internship for a desk assistant at its offices in Arlington:

Company: MacNeil Lehrer Productions
Desk Assistant
Arlington, Virginia
Job Status: Temporary
Salary: Paid Intern
Ad Expires:
April 28, 2010
Job ID: 1107680
Website: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/aboutus/openings/da_broadcast.html

Desk Assistants – Broadcast Broadcast Desk Assistant duration: 6 month term (July 5, 2010 to January 7, 2010)

The Desk Assistant (DA) position is part of a six-month entry-level program aimed at providing practical experience in a broadcast news setting. The DA’s are exposed to all aspects involved in producing a nightly television news program. This position is divided into rotations among the different units that compose the NewsHour: research, newsroom, reporting, and production. The DA’s work in three of the positions for 2 months at a time. They also act as support staff for Senior Producers, Associate Producers, Reporters and Production Assistants.

DUE DATE All applications must be submitted or postmarked by April 30, 2010

QUALIFICATIONS -Bachelor’s Degree -Good writing and research skills -Demonstrated interest in journalism and/or television production -Pleasant phone manner and good administrative skills -Strong work ethic and efficient work habits -Knowledge of The PBS NewsHour’s journalistic style

The Desk Assistant (DA) position is part of a six-month entry-level program aimed at providing practical experience in a broadcast news setting. The DA’s are exposed to all aspects involved in producing a nightly television news program. This position is divided into rotations among the different units that compose the NewsHour: research, newsroom, reporting, and production. The DA’s also act as support staff for Senior Producers, Associate Producers, Reporters and Production Assistants.

LOGGING This DA watches, logs and manages incoming feeds from the AP. This person must have an understanding of what makes good footage and what stories are important to various people in the organization. This DA will also log press conferences and hearings as needed. The Logging DA also provides general assistance to those working in the newsroom. WIRES The Wires DA is primarily responsible for providing general coverage in the newsroom, logging news feeds, answering phones, distributing faxes, photocopying and assisting in daily script production. He/She should also keep a close eye on the incoming wires stories, alerting the appropriate people as they appear. Most importantly, this DA fact and spell checks the script and is the last person to view the copy before we tape the show. Attention to detail is essential. RESEARCH The Research DAs are responsible for assisting the research librarians in long-term projects such as compiling research files for anchors and producers before they travel and managing the tape library. In the evening, both Research DA’s help with the show’s production in the control room. Additional research duties include fact-checking, compiling viewer mail, recycling beta tapes and back-timing the program. SETUP UNIT The Setup DA is responsible for footage research and acquisition; dubbing video tapes onto audio for transcription; screening and logging tapes, domestic and international feeds; re-shelving tapes; and providing additional assistance in the edit and tape rooms. BEAT The Beat DA assists the producers and reporters based with the following beats: Foreign Affairs, National Affairs and Politics. He/She provides basic research, helps secure guests, pre-interviews guests and provides general assistance to the producers.

TO APPLY Please send a resume, cover letter and application to the Desk Assistant coordinator (see below). CONTACT You can download an application as a Microsoft Word document on our website (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/aboutus/openings/da_broadcast.html). You may also request an application by contacting Lauren Knapp, The PBS NewsHour’s Desk Assistant Coordinator via e-mail or phone.

Lauren Knapp Desk Assistant Coordinator lknapp@newshour.org 703.998.2150 The PBS NewsHour 3620 S. 27th Street Arlington, VA 22206

*In another paid internship, SmartBrief in D.C. is looking for a summer online  intern:

Company: SmartBrief
Summer Intern
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Temporary
Salary: Paid Intern
Ad Expires:
April 29, 2010
Job ID: 1159189

Are you seeking an internship in online media? Are you interested in exploring online options for a career in writing and editing? Whether you’re seeking professional experience or class credit, SmartBrief has an internship for you. SmartBrief is seeking editorial interns to help create daily online business and consumer news in our exciting office in downtown Washington, D.C.

Our summer interns are paid an hourly wage. Students work alongside our editors to get experience writing, editing and choosing material for newsletters covering topics such as: media, food, travel, retail, advertising, business, education, technology, health care, world news, insurance, construction and real estate. This internship is for 40 hours a week this summer, beginning in May. Candidates must be available from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday in our office located near the Metro Center station in Washington, D.C.

Job Duties:

* Search the Web to locate news articles and other information sources of interest to senior executives in particular industries.

* Select and summarize online articles, studies and other information for use in e-mail publications.

* Respond to reader comments and suggestions.

* Work on a variety of special projects.

Required Skills & Experience:

* Ability to write quickly and accurately on deadline.

* Sophisticated understanding of how to find news and information on the Web.

* Facility for using online publishing tools.

* Strong interpersonal and communications skills.

* Proven record of taking initiative, sharing responsibilities and managing multiple projects simultaneously.

* News-writing experience or AP style knowledge is a huge plus! A writing test is required.

About SmartBrief:

Founded in 1999, SmartBrief is the leader in customized online news services reaching professionals in a variety of markets, including advertising, retail, hospitality, telecom, health care and consumer packaged goods.

We continue to expand rapidly and are looking for exceptional individuals to join our team. At SmartBrief, employees enjoy an entrepreneurial work environment with accelerated advancement opportunities.

SmartBrief is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

Please e-mail resumes to Brooke Howell at bhowell@smartbrief.com with “Editorial Intern” as the subject line no later than Friday, April 16.

*The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in D.C. is seeking an editorial manager:

Company: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Editorial Manager
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
April 29, 2010
Job ID: 1159099

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is seeking to hire an editorial manager to oversee all aspects of its editorial work. The successful candidate’s primary role will be to work with scholars to suggest, plan, help write and edit, and place op-eds in line with external events and internal work to highlight the Endowment’s research. A knowledge of op-ed editors with leading print and online outlets is required and the ability to maintain and develop relations with them—and new outlets as they arise—essential.

Other duties will include working fully and proactively as a member of Carnegie’s communications team, for example, editing work for other fora, including the web site, proofreading press releases, editing research work and other materials as required.

Skills required:

• 5-10 years experience of writing and editing • an ability to work with and for busy scholars, being sensitive to their time constraints and individual writing styles • ability to adapt scholarly research into shorter formats for different audiences and media • demonstrated ability to work on multiple projects and meet often tight deadlines • proven team player • knowledge of and ability to develop relationships with op-ed editors with major print and online outlets • interest in cultivating relationships and partnerships with a variety of traditional and new media outlets • knowledge of foreign policy issues • keen news sense Located in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, we offer 4 weeks vacation, excellent health insurance, generous retirement benefits, tuition assistance and on-site fitness center. Send resume and salary expectations to: Human Resources-EM. E-mail to HR@ceip.org. EOE.

*And to wrap up this week’s leads, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (part of the Department of Health and Human Services) has an opening in Rockville for a health communications specialist:

Company: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Health Communications Specialist
Rockville, Maryland
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $60,000 to $75,000
Ad Expires:
April 29, 2010
Job ID: 1090075
Website: http://www.ahrq.gov

Become a part of the Department that touches the lives of every American! At the Department of Health and Human Services you can give back to your community, state, and country by making a difference in the lives of Americans everywhere. Join HHS and help to make our world healthier, safer and better for all Americans.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides national leadership to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. This position resides within the Office of Communication & Knowledge Transfer (OCKT), Most Efficiency Organization (MEO). The OCKT/MEO is charged with designing, developing, implementing and managing programs for disseminating the results of Agency activities with the goal of changing audience behavior.

If selected for this position, you will perform the following duties:

Write and prepare a variety of materials, which may include news releases and advisories, fact sheets, brochures, marketing plans, speeches, audiovisual presentations, and other materials intended to convey public health information to a specialized or a broad range of audiences.

Collaborate with subject matter experts to plan, develop, design implement, evaluate, and distribute informational and educational materials to reach a broad range of national audiences. Use a variety of written, oral, visual, and other communication methods to achieve this dissemination.

Coordinate activities, campaigns, and events to promote public health education and personal and systemic behavioral change.

Establish and maintain effective program relationships with officials of public and private organizations, professional associations, public interest groups, etc. to plan cooperative activities on matters of mutual interest.

Strong writing and interpersonal skills are essential to this position as well as the ability to manage projects using Microsoft Project Management software.

Apply at the following link:


Happy hunting and have a relaxing weekend! I’ll be back with you again next week.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Job-hunting advice for professionals from a pro How to get (and keep) a recruiter’s attention

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