The past months I have talked to a lot of women who faced job rejections. Rejection can be shattering to your ego, but we often make it even more painful by blaming ourselves for being rejected. But here is the thing: Rejection is a part of life. What matters is how we deal with it and how we’re able to bounce back even stronger.

Let’s be real, a job rejection can be hard, especially when you are trying to break into a competitive job market like the financial sector. It can make you feel deflated, angry, and cause you to lose your motivation and desire to keep interviewing for other career opportunities. I understand that and I (and others) have experienced this disappointment throughout my career as well.

However, it’s important not to let a job rejection keep you from applying for other opportunities. So, this week, how to deal with job rejections and come back even stronger? I asked Kimberly van Reisen, to share her story. During our first meeting she told me she faced multiple rejections, before landing her dream job in Investment Banking. Her wise words inspired me to do this interview, for all the women who are facing or have faced job rejections.

Moral of the story: Know what you are worth, hold on to your goals and see everything as a learning opportunity.

How to land your dream job after multiple rejections?

Name: Kimberly van Reisen
Education:BSc Bedrijfskunde, MSc Finance & Investments
Experience:

  • M&A intern, The Netherlands
  • Investment Banking intern at UBS
  • Private Equity analyst (Current)
  • Next up: Analyst at UBS

Hi Kimberly, You have quite an impressive resume, how did you land your first internship in finance?

Although my Bachelor’s degree was in Business Administration, I had not been introduced to investment banking during the course of this programme. I got in touch with investment banking through the International Banking Cycle event hosted by the Financial Study Association Rotterdam (FSR). After hearing what the job entailed, I decided I wanted to explore whether this job would suit me. Eventually I landed my first internship at ING M&A through a recruitment agency.

And after your first internship you got an offer to do another internship in London in Investment Banking! Why investment banking? And how did you manage to get an offer?

Following my M&A internship at ING, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in investment banking. I had heard that London was one of the main finance hubs, so naturally I was curious and I set out to gain experience there. I applied for the London Banking Tour, where we had a programme of 2 weeks filled with cases and drinks to engage with bulge bracket players based in London, amongst others. After the programme we were faced with intense weeks of interview rounds. However, whilst I was putting every bit of energy into preparing for the interviews (and following my masters’ in parallel) one by one the rejections started coming in. The most difficult part of these rejections was the feedback; “To be honest, we do not have any points of improvement for you, there were simply candidates with more experience”.

“Every time I got rejected, I had to get myself back together and remember I had set a goal to start with, which I would not give up on easily.”

That sounds hard to take in. But you did get an offer eventually, how did you bounce back even stronger after these rejections?

Every time I got rejected, I had to get myself back together and remember I had set a goal to start with, which I would not give up on easily. But I did start questioning myself, and I doubted whether I had been too ambitious in setting this goal. However, I knew investment banking was difficult to break in and hoped that all my time and effort would be rewarded eventually. Finally, I came across a case study day organised by the IB division of UBS. I decided to sign up, and before I knew it I made it to the final round of interviews. A big part of me remained sceptical, asking myself why I even bothered to give it a shot knowing there was a chance of getting yet another rejection. But I did not get discouraged and my perseverance prevailed. In the end, I believe it is exactly this trait which landed me my internship at UBS in London.

What would your tips be for women who are experiencing job rejections?

I think my experience is a textbook example teaching you to hold onto your goals. The goals you set for yourself should not be easy to achieve, otherwise you may not have challenged yourself enough. Never doubt yourself, and try to continue the path you had set out even if there are bumps along the road. When you finally do reach your goal, the feeling of accomplishment will only be greater knowing you have worked extremely hard to obtain it.

“The goals you set for yourself should not be easy to achieve, otherwise you may not have challenged yourself enough. Never doubt yourself, and try to continue the path you had set out even if there are bumps along the road.”

You managed to not only get an internship, but also secure an analyst position in Investment banking! Any tips on getting an offer in investment banking? Any last tips for women who want to break into the financial industry?

During my internship there were times when I doubted whether the work I was delivering would be sufficient to be given an offer eventually. I can be very tough on myself sometimes, which is also why I got to where I am right now. I think many people in this industry have this feature, but be wary to not let it get the best of you. If you are ever questioning your performance at work, just remember they saw potential in you when they made the decision to give you the internship offer. You are allowed to be confident that you are delivering good work. When feedback is given, don’t be too hard on yourself and work constructively to display your adaptive skills. Remember an internship is a learning experience, which to a great extent serves the purpose of showing how fast you can learn, not how much you know already.

Moral of the story: Know what you are worth, hold on to your goals and see everything as a learning opportunity.