48 Hours After a Job Rejection

The 48 hours after a job rejection are critical. They sting even when you really did not want the job. You spent a great deal of time convincing yourself that you were the best candidate but apparently the interviewer disagreed. Your ego is scarred and you must start all over. Within those 48 hours, you have to decide how to use that negative energy. While working with a number of folks with raw emotions due to job rejections, and who then opted to hire me to change their luck, here are the three most productive ways that you should spend those first 48 hours.


Don’t do anything the first 24 hours after being rejected. Avoid applying to any job during these 24 hours. Skip job-related calls. Ignore emails. Don’t let that rejection negatively impact new opportunities because it does have an effect on your energy and attitude, whether you believe it or not. A marketing executive I worked with decided to ignore this tip. He opted to aggressively apply to jobs when he was “dinged.” 24 hours later he reviewed his email sent box and realized that his tone was: too aggressive, arrogant, and that he had misspelled the word “sincerely” three times. Clear your mind, sleep on it, then start fresh on day two.


On day two put your head down and write the answers you gave during that “failed” interview (s). Then re-write how you might have made each point more persuasive. Include in this re-writing exercise your elevator pitch as well as the questions you asked each interviewer. When you think about your pitch ensure it shows how you plan to benefit a prospective employer. In terms of your own questions, toss out the ones you can ask any company. Craft more strategic questions that prove you are prepared and smart.

***If you need help executing any of these points then take advantage of a free-15 minute consultationfrom a highly-effective career coach.***

It was not until I conducted a mock interview with an aspiring wealth manager that he realized he needed to flaunt his existing client relationships more aggressively.



Get even with your interviewer’s firm by rolling up your sleeves and applying to the competition. You did so much research on the sector and its players; use this information to propel your candidacy elsewhere. Spend your efforts figuring out how you can work for a key competitor and figuratively “take down” the firm that rejected you. Build your new target company list by using LinkedIn. Find the company page of the firm that rejected you. On its company page, you can see where its current employees worked before and where its ex-employees went. Use that data to build a new target company list, then apply using your networks. The moment a client shares their interview war stories I quickly turn them around and have them target the competition. There is no better way to boost your morale than by trying to take down the firm that caused you so much anguish.

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.


  1. Abdul on September 1, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Dear Melissa,

    This blog post was very helpful in boosting my confidence. I am interested in knowing how to reject an offer, maybe you can do a blog post or a video on this? Recently, I came across two good offers, and I am having trouble rejecting one of them politely.


    • Melissa on September 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

      Great idea Abdul about the blog post. Glad it helped you. We ALL get a job rejection at least one time in our life so knowing how to bounce back quickly is important…in the meantime “like” my facebook page for more daily tips… http://www.facebook.com/careeroutcomesmatter

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