Job Rejection Depression (5 coping tips)

In this article, we will talk about Job rejection depression. We will begin by understanding the mental effects of job rejection, problems with a lack of coping mechanisms to deal with it. We will then learn some tips to deal with job rejection depression. We will also look at what to do when the depression is severe.  

What is job rejection depression?

Being rejected for a job role might lead to intense periods of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, and self-doubt. This happens mostly because we put so much of our hopes and expectations when we apply for a job. When that goes down the hill, the aftermath isn’t pretty for everyone. 

While some people accept rejection as a part of life, some don’t. While it is okay to be utterly disappointed after a rejection is natural, it is not normal to be depressed for long periods of time.   

Reasons for depression due to a job rejection


Dealing with unemployment is a tough thing to do, especially if one has been out of jobs for a long time. People tend to withdraw themselves from social situations, try to not engage much in conversations with family members, or even feel so dejected that they shut themselves up completely during unemployment or consecutive job rejections. Being unable to answer questions like “What came out of the job interview you just gave?” or “What do you do?” can be really challenging and can make one feel ashamed of themselves. Shame is internalized guilt for not having lived up to people’s and our own self’s expectations which then leads to depression. 

Feeling unworthy or unwanted

Constant rejections can make one feel that nobody in the job market feels they are desirable enough to be a part of the company or are capable for the job.  

Fear of the uncertain

In a fluctuating economy, one never knows there would be a period of economic downfall causing lives to tumble upside down. While being unemployed, questions on how long it is going to go on, how the next manager is going to receive your resume, and having no idea when your career will get the boost it requires or how life will look like five to ten years down the road makes people feel anxious and depressed. 

Feeling like you are losing your grip over life 

Probably a fresh graduate had a very successful academic life with good grades, excellent recommendations from professors, and could complete their education from all desirable institutions. Rejections were never a part of their life. In such cases facing a job rejection can come as a blow to the face and facing it multiple times might make one feel like they are losing control over their life which they had up until then.

Financial strain

Not being able to make ends meet, finding it difficult to manage finances, living on the bare minimum resources, and seeing one’s savings deplete with each passing day can make anyone mentally fall over the edge into a depression. 

Comparison with peers

Seeing everyone around you flourishing in their careers, getting promotions or better-paying jobs, ticking things off their bucket lists, going on vacations can sting while you are being rejected from jobs. This constant comparison of how well someone else is doing and how poorly you are doing can lead to depression. While it is difficult to be happy for others, remember your time too is not far. 

What does depression feel and look like?

The ICD 10 explains depression thusly, “In typical depressive episodes of all three varieties described below (mild) moderate, and severe, the individual usually suffers from depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy leading to increased fatiguability and diminished activity. Marked tiredness after the only slight effort is common. Other common symptoms are:”

  • Inability to concentrate and pay attention;
  • diminished self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • feeling guilty and unworthy (even in a mild type of episode);
  • pessimistic views of the future;
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide;
  • disturbances in sleep;
  • poor appetite.

Apart from these symptoms, the ICD 10 by WHO, also specifies the typical somatic or physical symptoms of depression, which is a case where the other symptoms are not that prominent, like in masked depression or agitated depression, may be very important, as they may be the only symptoms that something is wrong at all.

The somatic symptoms of depression are described as the following in the ICD 10:

“loss of interest or pleasure in activities that are normally enjoyable; lack of emotional reactivity to normally pleasurable surroundings and events; waking in the morning 2 hours or more before the usual time; depression worse in the morning; objective evidence of definite psycho-motor retardation or agitation (remarked on or reported by other people); marked loss of appetite; weight loss (often defined as 5% or more of body weight in the past month); marked loss of libido. Usually, this somatic syndrome is not regarded as present unless about four of these symptoms are definitely present.”

Feeling demotivated, tired, worthless, hopeless surely does not help your cause when it comes to searching for jobs or even appearing for interviews. A drained-out self-confidence will showcase itself in an interview and lead to further rejections. 

Feeling tired for most parts of the day will make it difficult for anyone to sit in front of the computer and look for job openings online, or increase their network by meeting people and talking about what you can offer. 

Losing weight drastically, lack of appetite, and looking and feeling nutrition impoverished or unhealthy will not help during job searches and interviews. People with depression may not even pass the physical fitness tests that most jobs require while joining.  

Five tips to deal with job rejections 

Leave past rejections where they belong- in the past!

Every new application and a new interview is a fresh leaf. Thinking about poor past performances or thinking about the reasons stated for rejection can make anybody feel demotivated in the new opportunity. So, think about what you are doing at the moment for your future. 

Learn from your previous shortcomings

It is ideal to ask hiring managers for reasons why you were not selected for a job. Sometimes, the response can be an eye-opener. First, think about the feedback is actually valid while not letting it question your potential. Then, spend time reworking on yourself to be better for new opportunities.  

Always have a backup plan just in case there is a rejection

This tip is helpful in a weird way because you have to first assume you won’t be selected for the job. This leads to a plateau level of expectations from the application and also lets you think about alternative options to approach when the application is actually rejected. 

Pay attention to your strengths

Sadly yet interestingly people find it easier to state their limitations than their strengths. This leaves you in a conditioned way of thinking about yourself. Think about what your strengths truly are and sharpen them to the best of your abilities. If it helps, write it down on a paper and place them somewhere you can read it often so that you are reminded of your true potential.  

Understand that you are not the only one in the world going through this

In today’s competitive market hundreds and probably thousands of people apply for one job opening. The odds of you getting a rejection is more than you getting selected which means there are many more people like you than who aren’t like you. Also, a rejection letter is almost always an automated response letter sent to everyone who did not get the job, so it is not a personal attack on you.  

What to do when your depression is severe?

Appreciate progress

Often with depression, in spite of taking efforts, progress may be slow or unnoticeable. Or after feeling good for a while the feelings may reemerge again intensely making one feel like they did not make any progress at all. But, value the little signs of progress as those are the ones most important in the road to recovery. Appreciate every little achievement or appreciation received from someone.  

Try self-help techniques but if it does not seem to be helping much seek professional help

Trying to help your own self is great. But often in severe cases of depression, it seems very unrealistic to read tricks out of a self-help book and apply it to your life. When nothing on your own seems to be working it is important to seek professional help. 

Seek social support by joining a support group 

Feeling understood means a lot to people when they are in a deep pit of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Support groups exist for a number of causes like depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. support groups are beneficial for people because the feeling of belongingness and oneness in suffering boosts confidence in recovery. People seek inspiration from other survivors and people in the same boat. Talk to other job seekers and how they are dealing with the competitive market and rejections. 

Consult a psychiatrist 

A psychiatrist can prescribe medication, for example, antidepressants based on the severity of the condition of the person. Antidepressants are an important part of recovery and going to a professional should not be delayed. 

Seek mental health therapy 

Consulting a counselor/ psychotherapist is essential in mental health issues. This, most often, goes hand in hand with medication based on the severity of depression. 

A counselor can bring in newer ways of perception, help the person to emote better while engaging in healthy boundary-making. The counselor can also help the person eradicate irrational thoughts and beliefs that inhibit the person’s well-being. The counselor and the client, together, also work on and construct healthier coping mechanisms against stressors for the client. 

Improve lifestyle choices and work towards good health

During the job search, one can easily neglect their health. Health is a concept with many interlinkages and it is also all-encompassing. One can’t expect to have good mental health if their physical health is deteriorating and vice-versa. Exercising, healthy eating habits, good sound sleep, and practicing mindfulness, along with any medication/therapy if need be, can help attain victory over any condition, including depression.

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.


In this article, we talked about Job rejection depression. We began by understanding the mental effects of job rejection, problems with a lack of coping mechanisms to deal with it. We then learned some tips to deal with job rejection depression. We also looked at what to do when the depression is severe. 

Frequently asked questions: Job rejection depression

 How many job rejections are normal?

According to a career coach, Orville Pierson, an average job seeker goes through 24 rejections before achieving a job successfully. 

Why is job searching so stressful?

A job search is not just about finding a good job to suit your skillset and being selected for the position. It is also about the many uncontrollable events surrounding it like the fluctuating economy, politics in hiring, unexpected mergers and buyouts, etc. Stress is the person’s reaction to the events which often has an underlying lack of confidence reason behind it.


6 causes of job search depression and how to prevent it

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