Being rejected from a job can be a challenging experience. But it’s not all negative: coping strategies can help students to gain a lot of positive learning from job rejection. This lesson explores strategies for students to use to cope with job rejection and to build their character strengths.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies



Social awareness

Learning intention

Students will develop a variety of strategies that they can utilise to cope with job rejection.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • explore strategies for coping with job rejection

  • identify their character strengths

  • identify ways that they can demonstrate their character strengths to employers.

Materials needed

  • Paper

  • Pens

  • Ruler

  • Access to the article ‘6 ways to deal when you’re rejected from a job’ and 'Getting a job'

  • Access to the VIA Character Strengths Survey.

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate strategies for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety or wellbeing may be at risk (AC9HP10P08)

  • Evaluate emotional responses in different situations to refine strategies for managing emotions (AC9HP10P06)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Critical and Creative Thinking:

    • Generating

    • Reflecting

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

    • Social management

  • Digital Literacy:

    • Investigating

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Assesses their own and others’ capacity to reflect on and respond positively to challenges (PD5-1)

  • Assesses and applies self-management skills to effectively manage complex situations (PD5-9)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate options (including CPR and first aid) for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety and wellbeing may be at risk (VCHPEP144)

  • Evaluate situations and propose appropriate emotional responses and then reflect on possible outcomes of different responses to health and wellbeing (VCHPEP147)

Show details

Activity 1

Options explosion: Strategies to cope with job rejection

30 minutes

  1. Present students with the scenario that they have just been rejected from a job that they really wanted. Explain to them that feelings of rejection can occur when they:

    • don’t hear back from the employer

    • receive a first-round interview, but are not successful

    • receive a letter explaining that their application has been unsuccessful

    • learn that their referees have been called, but they don’t get a job offer.

  2. Students list the feelings they might have if they receive a rejection.

  3. Students access the article ‘6 ways to deal when you’re rejected from a job’.

  4. Students list three strategies they could use to deal with this experience. They may explore suggestions additional to those included in the article.

  5. Ask students to delve deeper into these strategies and explain, using a dot point for each strategy, why they could be beneficial.

  6. Ask students: ‘What can you learn from job rejection?’ (For example, it can foster resilience, and awareness that there are things they can do about it.)

  7. Ask students to share times when they, or someone they know, turned what they initially thought was a negative experience into a positive one.

Activity 2

Character strengths survey

10 minutes

  1. Students make a list of their character strengths. Students can ask friends in the class to help them identify their character strengths, or they can complete the VIA Character Strengths Survey suggested in the article.

  2. For each character strength, ask students to write a brief sentence explaining why this is a strength for them.

Activity 3

Making strengths visible

20 minutes

  1. Students create a table with three columns:

    • In the first column, students list their identified strengths (e.g. ‘Organised’).

    • In the second column, students list the ways they have demonstrated that strength (e.g. ‘Coordinated the netball team training roster’).

    • In the third column, students list the ways they could communicate this strength to employers (e.g. through including netball under ‘interests’ on their résumé and using it as an example of organisation in a job interview).

  2. Provide students with access to the article ‘Getting a job’ to help them if they need ideas.


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