Ask LH: How Can I Cope With Rejection From My Dream Job?

Dear Lifehacker, I am an Honours student and I have applied for several graduate positions for 2014. One graduate program in particular was essentially my dream job, which I have had my eye upon for several years; I even geared my studies and work to meet the desired selection criteria. I feel that I addresses each requirement to a high degree, however I failed to even score a phone interview for the position. How do I pick myself up, dust myself off and not feel like I have achieved nothing through all my hard work? Thanks, Dejected

Rejection picture from Shutterstock

Dear Dejected,

The most important thing to recognise here is that the concept of a “dream job” is shaky, and certainly not worth pinning your self-esteem to. No job is perfect; every career has unexpected static. If you had found your way into that graduate program, it might have been a disappointment too. It happens. It’s OK to allow yourself a little mourning over missing an opportunity you have yearned for, but it isn’t a life-defining event.

The second thing to know is this: not scoring a job interview for a specific position does not mean you have “achieved nothing”, as you put it. You’ll have an honours degree at this time next year; that’s something the vast majority of people don’t achieve. You say you’ve applied for several other schemes, so there’s no telling what might be around the corner. Now is not the time for despondency.

So what to do next while you wait? Identify the elements of the “dream job” that particularly appealed to you, and try applying for other positions that include as many of those elements as possible — either now or when you have graduated. Good luck!


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