'If at first you don’t succeed, improve and try again' (GRADCRACKER)

It is no secret that, when applying for placements and graduate jobs, you are likely to submit multiple applications before being offered a role.

In response to rejections, students are often encouraged to ‘be resilient’ and ‘keep trying’ – but here at Gradcracker, we think that there’s a lot more to it than that.

While it’s important to bounce back from rejection and keep applying to opportunities, churning out one application after another in the name of resilience isn’t always productive.

It is more important that you are taking steps to minimise rejection and increase your chances of success. And there are several ways that you can do this.

*Don’t take a scattergun approach*

You are more likely to be successful sending out five targeted, tailored applications than twenty untailored applications for roles you do not meet all the requirements for.

So, my first piece of advice is to create targeted applications for opportunities you have a reasonable chance of getting (i.e. you meet all the necessary criteria).

You’ll need to tailor each application to the employer and the role, detailing why you are interested in the opportunity and giving examples of what makes you the best person for the job. This will ensure that the applications you do send out are of a high quality.

*Learn from feedback*

If you’re unsuccessful at interview, make use of any feedback to identify areas for improvement.

It’s important that you are self-critical and that you don’t take rejection personally. Acknowledge what you did well and improve on what you could have done better, so that your next application has a greater chance of success.

*Create a schedule*

Set yourself a reasonable target for the number of applications you are going to submit each week. It’s important that this target is realistic for you, so be sure to factor in your other responsibilities and priorities.

Designating a specific time to work on your applications should help you stay focused and motivated. It’s also likely to safeguard against burnout; in other words, it’ll stop you from overworking yourself, which doesn’t usually do much for the quality of your work.

Moreover, working to a schedule means you’ll have ongoing applications at different stages. If you receive a rejection from one application, you’re likely to have others in progress, which should help you stay motivated and remain optimistic.

*Keep an open mind*

Try to think laterally when choosing which opportunities to apply for. It can be tempting to apply to companies which you are already familiar with, and while there are lots of advantages of working for large, well-known organisations, there are just as many benefits to working for medium-sized companies and SMEs that you perhaps might not have heard of.

By considering the full range of companies on Gradcracker, you open yourself up to more opportunities, and more chances of success.

Equally, don’t just go for the opportunities that are directly related to your degree discipline. As a STEM student, your transferable skills make you highly sought after in a diverse range of sectors and roles, so try to keep an open mind when searching for opportunities.

Now it’s time to try again!

I hope these steps help you to bounce back from rejection – but also to prevent rejection and increase your chances of success.

Now that you know how to improve your applications and your approach to job hunting, it’s time to get started. Start your job hunt now!


Big thanks to Hannah Vernon, Media & Communications at Gradcracker, for writing this blog! We hope you find it useful and it inspires you to start your job hunt today. For support, have a look at our job hunting resources on Engage or visit Gradcracker.

Please be reminded that if you need careers support, your Careers Team is only an email / a message away!

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Anna Dolidze

Passionate about Student Engagement, Data Management and content creation

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