What To Do When You Don’t Get The Job

You sent an awesome resume and cover letter into the potential employer—and they called you in for an interview for your dream job! After telling you that they were very impressed with your interview, the company had you come in for a second interview—and you were told you probably had the job “in the bucket.” You remembered to send thank-you letters both times and follow up politely. In fact, you did everything right. And then …

You got an email, or a phone call, which said something to the tune of:

“Thank you so much for your interested in (position title) at (Company Name). We were very impressed by your qualifications and enjoyed talking to you during the interview process, but another applicant has been selected to fill this job role. We welcome you to apply for other positions.”

What do you do, if all your hopes were hinging on that job and are suddenly smashed?

Don’t blame yourself, and don’t lose hope.

It wasn’t necessarily your fault you didn’t get the job. That might sound odd, but there is no reason to go kicking yourself before you find out the real reason you didn’t get the job. It could be anything—even some obscure qualification you didn’t have and somebody else did. And don’t despair. Maybe it wasn’t really the perfect job for you after all. You might’ve ignored potential problems while applying, like a long commute or a poor work environment, but looking back, you may actually feel relieved that you didn’t land the job after all.

Follow up and be gracious.

Write a thank you to the hiring manager, even though you didn’t get hired. Thank them for providing you with the opportunity to interview, the tour of the company (if applicable), and the consideration. Now many people take the time to do this after a rejection. It will make you stand out. Feel free to ask why you didn’t get the job. It can help you out in the future. If you are gracious, the company may also consider you later if the applicant selected doesn’t work out or if another position opens up. Make sure the door is open by adding that you would still love to join the company if another opportunity opens up. They may contact you outright. Sometimes hiring managers actually are hoping you will reapply for another position—they aren’t always happy to give you the boot out the door!

Get some perspective and look elsewhere.

If you find yourself feeling at all relieved you didn’t get the dream job (and yes, this is pretty common after the initial disappointment), ask yourself why.

  • What were the issues you would have had with this job?
  • Is there another workplace or a different type of corporate culture that would actually suit you better?
  • Are there other hours you would prefer?
  • Maybe another focus altogether?
  • Different tasks?

Use your failure to your advantage and further hone your job search and narrow in on what you really want. You may end up being thankful someday for that near-miss. It could be a necessary step to finding a much better opportunity which is better suited to your skills, disposition, lifestyle, and career goals. Sometimes a curse is a blessing in disguise. That near-miss may later look like a bullet you dodged.

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