You were so excited about the job you interviewed for. Your daydreams about escaping your current job to land that dream job occupied your free time. Maybe you had even played how you were going to resign over and over in your head. But all of that is gone because you just found out you didn’t get the job. Now what?
This is such an awful feeling. I’ve been there and depending on how excited I was about the potential new role, it would take weeks for me to snap back into reality and become engaged. Sometimes it feels as if the decision is a personal one and can affect your psyche which bleeds over from work into your personal life. The day to day grind becomes even worse when you feel as though your dreams have been crushed by that one decision.
Although moving on can be hard, it is more productive than staying in the self-pity state you may find yourself in. Let’s discuss some steps to keep going when you didn’t get the job.
Step one, SNAP THE HELL OUT OF IT!
This may seem harsh but you just need to accept the facts and keep going. Just like the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believing”, realize this closed door may be a blessing. In my experience, the jobs I thought I wanted but didn’t get were actually times when I dodged a bullet. I know the cliche “what’s meant to be” is the last thing you want to hear right now but realign your mindset to your long term goals and stop focusing on the short term set backs. Failure can sometimes open your mind to opportunities you can’t see right now. Examples?
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse was rejected by MGM studios and well, we know how that ended. Jack Ma, CEO and mega-rich-guy, was rejected from 30 jobs including KFC and was also rejected from Harvard 10 times. Just think, this set back could be on your list of situations that propelled you to a brighter future.
Step 2: Get Feedback and Grow
Too many people get their feelings hurt when turned down and they miss the greatest opportunity to grow from it. As a recruiter, I have had candidates ask for candid feedback to help them develop an action plan to become a more viable and competitive candidate for future opportunities. Honestly, these are the candidates I keep on my radar because it shows a lot of self-awareness to accept feedback as a way to grow. Those are the kinds of people I want to work for my firm.
Step 3: Find a Mentor
This may sound cheesy but find a mentor who’s already in the job or role you want. Be sure they will be brutally honest with you to help you attain the required skills needed to be a rockstar. One folly many mentees commit is they ask someone to be a mentor, meet once and then go AWOL. That’s one of the stupidest things you can do. So when you find a mentor who will invest time in you, be sure to honor that time and make it a regular appointment on your calendar to meet with them. Also, take notes during your meeting to create action items for yourself. Having a mentor is useless if you do not use the insight they provide.
If you are currently dealing with the grief associated with not getting the job, just know you’re not alone. All of us have struggled with it in our career but how you respond to the situation can help you launch into an opportunity you were destined for. So again, to quote the bar song everyone knows: Don’t Stop Believing!
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