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Learn how to take a no and become stronger

Handling a rejection is important, especially when applying for a job. Receiving a rejection for a job application can be tough. However, a no doesn't have to be negative. Perhaps it opens doors to something even better. Learn to take a no and see the opportunities

Ziza Madani:
Applying for a job and being turned down is never good news. Working on your CV, sending out resume after resume, and getting rejection letters can be very disheartening. However, getting rejected is an inevitable part of job hunting. This episode is about how to stay motivated and how to turn rejections into learning experiences.

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Ziza:
Welcome to the New in Sweden podcast. A podcast where we give tips and advice on job hunting and finding employment here in Sweden. This podcast is for those of you who haven’t been in Sweden very long, so a lot of things may be new for you. The title of today's podcast is: “How to cope with rejection while job hunting.” My name is Ziza Madani and I’m joined here in the studio by my colleague Pär Axelsson, who also works here at Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish Public Employment Service.

Ziza:
Pär, good to see you again.

Pär Axelsson:
You too.

Ziza:
As usual, we have a lot to discuss.

Pär:
Ziza, when we were brainstorming this program, you dropped a line that got me really curious. Remember?

Ziza:
No, what was that?

Pär:
Well, you said, "a no is one step closer to a yes". That got me wondering. Could you explain it now?

Ziza:
Definitely, but before we dive into it, let’s talk a bit about why getting a “no” can be such a downer. OK?

Pär:
Sounds good to me.

Ziza:
Alright, here’s a sentence for you, Pär.

Pär:
Go ahead.

Ziza:
“Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, we have decided to move forward with another applicant for the position.“

Pär:
It's not fun when you have put so much effort into an application and really wanted the job.

Ziza:
No doubt. It's always a tough blow. Personally, I go through a rollercoaster of emotions whenever I get a "no" — anger, sadness, confusion, you name it.

Pär:
That's totally relatable. You start questioning yourself, wondering why it happened and if you did something wrong.

Ziza:
Why is it so hard to handle rejection?

Pär:
Well, according to research, it's a primitive response ingrained in our biology. Back when we were cave-dwellers in tight-knit tribes, a "no" could mean exile, which often led to hunger and danger.

Ziza:
Alright. But hey, we've come a long way since then.

Pär:
Absolutely. Society has evolved, but our emotional reactions are still stuck in those ancient times. We still experience a strong emotional response to rejection.

Ziza:
I see. So how do you bounce back from a "no"?

Pär:
First of all, remember that rejection happens to everyone — it's a natural part of life. Don't beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself and have faith in your own abilities. That's key.

Ziza:
Could you elaborate on that?

Pär:
Don't take the rejection personally. There are various factors that come into play when companies make their hiring decisions, and it may not always be about you specifically.

Ziza:
What other factors could be at play here?

Pär:
Sometimes companies just mess up and choose the wrong person. It's possible that they missed out on hiring you. But that’s their loss, not yours. Shake off that disappointment.

Ziza:
Yeah. It’s easier said than done, right?

Pär:
Try to think about what you would say to a friend in the same situation, and extend that same compassion to yourself. If it helps, write down your thoughts.

Ziza:
Are some rejections harder than others?

Pär:
Of course. You can still feel really sad and find it difficult to accept. It's easy to get bogged down, but what if something even better awaits you around the corner?

Ziza:
Hold on. That’s exactly what you wanted me to elaborate on, right?

Pär:
Keep going, Ziza.

Ziza:
Alright, here’s what I mean: A "no" can actually be an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. It helps us evolve and become better individuals.

Pär:
That’s one way to look at rejection.

Ziza:
Instead of creating your own narrative about why you didn't get the job, have the guts to ask the employer for feedback. It shows professionalism and opens doors for the future. Be positive, gracious, and stay connected with them. They won't forget you that easily.

Pär:
And don't forget to express gratitude for their time.

Ziza:
Exactly. This might lead them to recommend you to other companies. They might know someone who’s looking for a person with your skills and experience. A "no" is simply one step closer to a "yes.”

Pär:
Neat. I really like that one, Ziza.

Ziza:
Thanks, Pär. Do you have any more useful tips?

Pär:
Hmm, I need a second to gather my thoughts. You really did give me something to think about there. But OK, here's another one: Channel your energy into seeking new job opportunities. Update your resume, network with more people, and try to secure more interviews.

Ziza:
Love it. We're getting close to wrapping up. Pär, Any final words for our listeners?

Pär:
Stay positive. Focus on the good things that can come out of a "no" rather than dwelling on the negatives. It may sound weird, but when you embrace the positive, it will fill your life with goodness.

Ziza:
And there you have it. Wise words from Pär. Thank you all for tuning in today. We will be back in a few weeks with another episode. Until then, take care.

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speaker:
You have been listening to the New in Sweden podcast by Arbetsförmedlingen. You can find all previous episodes at arbetsformedlingen.se/play. If you have any questions, tips, or ideas, please e-mail us at podcast@arbetsformedlingen.se. This episode was produced in the winter of 2024.

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