Getting Over Grad Programme Rejection: Six Tips
So, you have graduated. What. A. Feeling. The day you may have thought in times of exam and dissertation stress would never come where you could put on a much-deserved, over-sized black gown and upload the obligatory hat-throwing boomerang to your social media. Boom.
But, of course, these moments of self-congratulations are short-lived if you want to bust the graduate job world. Because, as many of you may have learned and quickly, it is a hard egg to crack. And six months on from leaving university, you may still be hitting your head against the same brick wall of ‘we regret to inform you that your application to our highly-esteemed graduate opportunity will not be progressed any further in this instance’. Sound familiar? We feel you.
It’s a hard pill to swallow. You left university with all of this now seemingly fake promise of a fairly straight-forward forthcoming couple of years. As experts within the graduate market, we are fully aware of just how competitive the game is – rejection, disappointment and loss of motivation are merely inevitable to today’s graduates trying to land themselves a programme with a big name.
So what do you do? We have come up with our best advice to anyone who feels they can relate to the above. Let’s get down to business…
- Do not take it personally. Our recruitment experts at MyKindaFuture offer this as a prime piece of advice. You have to remember the number of grads trying to secure themselves a graduate programme. Rejection does not mean you are not a worthy candidate – it means there is a lot of competition out there and it’s increasingly hard to secure an opportunity. Remembering this will help you to keep a healthy perspective when experiencing rejections.
- It’s okay to be disappointed. The nature of the beast is that there will be some opportunities that you could, honestly, take or leave, and some you want really badly. And if it doesn’t work out with the latter, it can sting. If you find yourself feeling glum about a particular rejection, take some time out. Use this time to do things you enjoy, away from job applications, and then come back to it in a few days or a week’s time. Your application won’t be at the top of your game if you’re not.
- It’s experience. Which part of the application process is the worst for getting rejected? Initial stage, where you haven’t even had time to prove yourself? Assessment centre, where you have already invested so much blood, sweat and tears? Or during psychometric testing, where you have been given a glimmer of hope? Either way, it’s safe to say all have their sting to them. Despite this, use whatever progress you make as experience for the next one. Use your experiences and feedback to inform your next attempt.
- It’s a two-way street. You may think the whole objective of securing yourself a graduate programme is to impress the employer enough so they will want you as part of their firm. You are wrong, my friend. Yes, the employer is looking for the right batch of candidates. But you are also looking for a company that suits your needs and goals – and so across the application process you will learn whether or not the companies you go for actually fit well or not.
- The company might not be right. Its completely normal to look at a company name, website and overall brand presence and want to be a part of that. The programme prospectus, big salary and London location sweetens this. But you have to consider the company culture and the other parts of working life that come with it (we have previously discussed these!) and whether in reality this is something you want to, and can be, a part of. A graduate programme usually lasts around 2 years – this is a long time to be in the wrong working culture for you.
- Consider ‘Worst Case Scenario’. So, you don’t successfully get onto a graduate programme. What happens now? The world stops turning? Absolutely not. If you don’t land a graduate programme, you simply look at other options. It helps to look at the bigger picture, and what you would like out of your career both now and in the long term – what roles would you like to experience? Do you know what sector you would like to break into? Look into opportunities other than graduate programmes – fixed roles, work experiences and internships. ‘Worst Case Scenario’ is never as bad as you think.
We would love to hear your experiences! Drop a comment in the box below to share yours – just remember, as experts in what we do, there are so many other students feeling the way you are. Rejection is part of life, and you just have to trust that better things are just around the corner.