How to handle job rejections

You have found a job you like,  you have read the description, perfect! You spend a few hours writing your cover letter and your CV. With a high level of anticipation you press send. A few days later you open the email, it begins:

“Thank you for applying to the [insert role]. Due to a large number of applications which closely fit the job description and experience required, we regret to inform you that you haven’t been successful for the current role. Due to the number of applications we cannot offer you individual feedback. We wish you every success in your future job search”. 

WE WISH YOU VERY SUCCESS IN YOUR JOB SEARCH?! When you refuse to give me feedback, how can I improve my job search? Being a veteran job searcher, I am tired. Tired of automated rejection emails, tired of the circus of job applications, tired of what seems like a ‘waste of time’ applications with rejections within mere hours.
How did things turn into this? Churning applications out like a machine, not an individual but just a jumble of key words and a list of qualifications. Forget the nuances and an individuals personality, it seems that all the employer is concerned about is the potential candidates ability to tick a myriad of dull boxes, or jump through awkwardly positioned hoops. I say, enough! 
Employers, HR professionals and recruiters, it doesn’t have to be like this. I understand that you do get a vast amount of applications for each role (sometimes hundreds or thousands). However, try and make the application process as easy and informative as possible. It doesn’t have to be cheap, free and easy, it can be a meaningful encounter for all if managed correctly.

So HR departments:

  • Try and reach as many candidates as possible, go through agencies (if you have the budget), Tweet and Facebook your search, the wider your search, the bigger the potential pool of excellent candidates.
  • Be realistic in job descriptions, make sure you include the actual day to day aspects of the job. Don’t try and make the job sound more appealing to others by fabricating or exaggerating elements of the role.
  • Try and give feedback- even if it’s one line- I’m sure that there’s software that exists that can do that for you? If not someone invent one!
  • Ditch the automated email which sounds highly patronising and insulting, it usually translates to the candidate as, “we found better people than you so don’t bother us by asking for feedback because we don’t have time to hear your whining”.


  • Tailor your CV as much as you can, for each role. Edit your personal statement to mirror what’s on the job description. If this means having several versions of your CV on your computer than so be it.
  • Be as realistic as possible, get as many people as you can to view your CV, just someone that you trust. In most cases each person will say completely different things, if you cannot deal with criticism or rejection then possibly stay away from this step, but it is very important.
  • Do not mis-spell company or individuals names, your CV will go straight in the bin.
  • Try and remain as positive as possible- this can be done with a support system of people who are familiar with the job climate when looking for a job. They will offer you the best support and guidance.