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Career Advice: How to Accept Rejection Gracefully

We’ve all had to deal with rejection at some point in our lives--and if you haven’t, please tell me your secret! Perhaps it was running for class president in high school. Or the rejection letter from that college you really wanted to attend. Or maybe your manager recently shot down a project you proposed.

As a professional, getting rejected by a company you just interviewed with can be one that stings the most. You ask yourself, “How could it be? I thought things went so well!” You knew you were perfect for the job. How did the company not see it?

A rejection from a company offers you two options. Your first reaction might be to fire back. You could give the company a real piece of your mind. Unfortunately, such a reaction would likely burn a bridge with that company and ruin any future opportunities to interview in future.

Your second option is to respond positively. In some cases, you may receive feedback as to why you were not selected. Unfortunately, however, most organizations will simply send an email stating that your time was appreciated and to continue to watch the company’s career site for future openings. This is likely due to a large volume of candidates, the recruiting team’s bandwidth, and/or company procedure. Whatever the company’s response, it is always best for YOU to respond in a positive manner. This provides the recruiting team with a real reason to consider you again in the future.

At ExactTarget, our “Orange” culture is more than just a color. It defines how we exhibit our Core Values in all of our interactions. To “Be Orange” is to be successful at ExactTarget. Being flexible, respectful, passionate, and positive goes a long way, and it’s a critical attribute for current and future employees. Job candidates should strive to display such traits in their response.

A few examples might include:

 “I enjoyed meeting with you and appreciate your time. ExactTarget has a unique culture and I will definitely continue to follow your company for future possibilities.”

“Thank you for the consideration. I hope you will keep me in mind for future opportunities.”

“Thank you for the communication. Although I am disappointed I am not the right fit for this role, I am extremely interested in your company. Please let me know if I could be a match somewhere else in your organization.”

It is important to realize that even if this particular position didn’t quite work out, there very well could be another opportunity in the near future. At a high-growth company like ExactTarget, your next perfect job may be just around the corner.

The sting that comes with rejection can last a few days or even weeks, but the long-term effects of burning bridge are much more difficult to overcome. 

It’s a new year! Check out a complete list of our current job opportunities and apply today!

Theresa Koch
Global Recruiting Partner – College Recruiting

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