Good morning Leaps readers!
Today I want to share with you tips on being better at handling rejection. This is not just for dancers who are cut from auditions, but literally anyone reading this who’s realized, as the Rolling Stones once put it, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Some of my points will take a dance focus, but they are applicable to any and all areas of our lives and careers.
1. Take the Rejection as a Learning Opportunity
Whether you are at an audition or a job interview, reach out to the hiring director afterwards and ask for constructive feedback. If they are kind and have the time, they will try to give you pointers on what they did/didn’t see from you, and what they would have liked to. I have actually made many connections and opportunities for myself by reaching out to the people I wanted to work for to ask for feedback. The constructive critiques will give you something to focus on in your training and preparation for the next audition or interview. And it will also show the hiring director you actually care about improving and have a willingness to learn. By reaching out and showing an interest in growing, they may even reconsider their decision.
2. Look at the Other More Successful Auditionees/Applicants and See how They Prepared
Take a look around you. What are other applicants wearing? Is their resume and headshot in a neat folder, or are they pulling out a crumpled copy from the bottom of their backpack? What kind of training/classes/education did other applicants complete before attending the audition or interview? All of this is useful information, and can help you better prepare for the next time. Did you not bring a headshot or resumé? Was yours crumpled and folded, and on top of another applicant’s whose resumé was laminated and neat? It is important to pay attention to the details more successful applicants paid attention to, which will help put you ahead.
Photography by Tim Lytvinenko
3. Talk to Other Auditionees/Applicants and Be Friendly (Even After Rejection)
A lot of auditions start the moment you set foot in the audition room. The casting directors and current dancers (or employees) will examine how you interact with the others in the room, your energy, and your willingness to cooperate and be a team player. Sometimes the people you are competing for the same job with are not very friendly, but in every audition I’ve been on, I’ve met at least one person who was super friendly and interested in talking to me. Engaging with the other people in the room is also a great way to network, and who knows! You could meet your new best friend, or a new acquaintance who could lead you to other opportunities.
Being nasty or bitter because you were not the one hired is a big no-no. People remember names and faces, and if you make a grand and unpleasant exit, you will validate their decision to not hire you. Enter and leave with the same dignity and grace you came in with.
4. Use the Rejection to Fuel Your Fire, Not Douse Your Flame
You want this. You made the effort to travel to the audition/interview on time. You bought a new leotard or a new outfit for this day. You did your hair a specific way for this. Remember this goal – these goals – are important to you, and one “No”, or many “Nos” should not make you feel like your goal is unattainable. You can do it, you just have to keep going, keep training, and make your opportunities for yourself. Prepare the best you can, and give it all you have every time, and eventually your hard work will pay off.
Photography by Tim Lytvinenko
5. Treat Yourself
After an audition, if you were successful – GREAT. Treat yourself to your favorite coffee or treat, or a nice lunch! If you were unsuccessful – that’s okay! Still treat yourself to your favorite coffee or treat, or a nice lunch. You are worth it, and you always try to make yourself feel positive and good after a rejection. You are worthy of feeling good whether or not you were hired by this one specific person. Self-love builds confidence and resilience, which can only help you when you are trying hard to be hired.
6. Keep Applying for Auditions/Interviews So You Always Have Something to Work Towards
This is pretty self-explanatory, but the more opportunities you create for yourself, the less you will be relying on one specific audition or interview as a potential source of income and fulfillment. Keep researching, keep applying, keep showing up. Make it happen.