6 Upsides of Rejection Mails You Probably Haven’t Thought About.
Step one of putting yourself out there for opportunities, developing yourself and growing your network is applying for programs, conferences, fellowships, boot camps, scholarships, internships, workshops, seminars and the likes that offer the avenue for that. But what happens when you apply and get a rejection mail? What if you get more than one rejection mail? In fact, what if you get more rejection mails than acceptance mails? What if you haven’t even gotten any acceptance mail yet? Obviously this can be discouraging and even frustrating in some cases, but should you give up on it?
I’ve had my fair share of declined applications and, thinking about it recently, I realized that in some ways those applications that got turned down helped grow me in one way or another and taught me some crucial lessons. No, it’s not a total waste of time if you applied and didn’t get selected, the whole process still remains value packed. So let’s talk… Here’s why you shouldn’t let the fear of rejection make you quit on applying for self developing, CV boosting opportunities.
It helps in your self discovery.
This comes during the application process, majorly. For the kind of opportunities in question here, most applications come with questions, like the ones below, that make you pause and search yourself.
“Tell us about yourself”
“Why do you want to be a member of this?”
“What does leadership mean to you?”
“If you had no limitations what would you achieve in the next five years?”
“How will you effectively execute this role?”
Even if it’s something you hadn’t really thought about before, to go through with the application you have to think about it. Putting your thoughts together to answer the question is another big win, you’d be amazed how much you can learn about yourself through it. Really, knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom, like Aristotle said. This post would be way longer than I planned it to be if I should dwell on how important this is.
So what’s great about this? It doesn’t matter whether or not your application ends up successful; the self knowledge you gained is yours to keep for life!
Helps clarify your vague ideas.
This also comes during the application process. During my Millennium Fellowship application, for instance, I was required to pitch a project. The project I pitched was an idea that though I was passionate about, I hadn’t ever really given enough thought to make it a plan or more than just a sketch. Going through with that application made me fill in the details for that particular project from the idea to execution stage.
So if you’re interested in any program or competition that requires you to come up with ideas to solve a problem what do you do? Start your application, dear. Don’t worry if you haven’t worked out the details of your idea yet, it’ll fall into place when you start. Really.
And what happens if you don’t get selected after the application? It’s still a win for you. You’ve been able to draw up a blueprint of a big thing waiting to happen. When another opportunity that requires it comes around guess who would be ready? All you’ll need to do is brush it up or use it as a foundation for something way bigger.
Helps improve your writing skills.
Still on the application process. There’s no way you’d go through applications that require you to give essay responses to the kind of questions we just talked about without improving your written communication skills. It’s just not possible. Even if you start off amateurish, with time and practice you’d certainly get better.
Good writing skills are highly important in more or less every profession, your academics and for your personal use. So why wouldn’t you appreciate an avenue to practice? Yes, you totally can think of these applications that way.
Opens you up to more opportunities.
Didn’t see this coming, did you? More often than not, rejection mails have a “we really want to consider you for other opportunities…” part, especially when the selection process was highly competitive. What this means is that if an opportunity you’re better suited for, or that is in line with your interests, should come up you’d be notified. Imagine doors opening for you in places you had no idea doors existed…
You gain experience for future use.
Nothing can substitute experience. If you’re going to a destination you’ve been to before you’d get there faster than if you’re just going for the first time. Same logic applies here. Sometimes, attached to that “we are unable to offer you a spot at the Bootcamp (or whatever) this year” email is tips to do better next time. Armed with these tips/corrections and the experience you got during the application process, you would know what to do and what not to do when a similar opportunity comes your way.
Helps grow your network.
Remember when we talked about rejection being an avenue to access more opportunities? Most times, when you receive this offer from the organizers of a fellowship/exchange program/event/boot camp, etc, you are also given access to the official social media platforms of the organizers. Engaging on these platforms is a great way to meet and interact with like minded individuals.
At the end of the day, daring to apply is what gives you a shot at being accepted, even if the odds are 50/50. Can’t get a yes if you don’t ask, can you? Don’t stop asking. Having your applications turned down is not the end of the world, don’t let it get to you or weigh you down. If it’s for an opportunity you’re really interested in, learn what there is to learn from the previous rejection, then apply again and again and again till you get it… And I’m certain that by then you’d be significantly better than you were initially. ?
Alright, your turn!
If you’ve been on the receiving end before, what lessons have you learned from rejection mails? What would you do differently if you could? Please share your stories in the comments section, we’d love to hear from you.
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