Any job search is bound to come with rejection. That’s the nature of the game… But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with. It can really take a toll on your confidence!
My career coaching client, Hannah, reached out to me after she had a series of job rejections, and I could tell that it was really breaking her spirit. Not good, because that sort of negative energy was only draining her and making the next interview that much harder to get through.
Rejection is a tough pill to swallow, but if you have the right tools to work through it, you can actually put a positive spin on it, and in some cases, turn a rejection into an offer.
Here are three things you should do after you’ve experienced job rejection.
- Write a “thank you” note — and make it influential. This is something you should do after an interview anyway, but doing so after getting a rejection demonstrates your professionalism and also gives you an opportunity to pitch yourself one last time. Identify specific needs that the employer has and describe in your note how you would help fulfill those needs. If the employer identified a specific reason for not selecting you, address the issue directly. You really have nothing to lose at this stage, so throw the Hail Mary pass, and see what happens.
- Just ask. You didn’t get the job, so there’s no reason not to ask for some feedback. I don’t recommend asking generally, “Why didn’t I get the job?” That’s not the sort of question a prospective employer is likely to respond well to, especially since it could potentially backfire for them. Instead, ask strategic, pointed questions, like, “Was there something missing from my background that you were looking for?” This may allow you to pinpoint what was missing for them — and what may have been missing for other employers.
- Don’t burn the bridge. If you walk away bitter and resentful, you’ve gained nothing. If you put a positive spin on it, reach out to the people you connected with in the process, and add them on LinkedIn, you’ve expanded your network. Who knows, they might have another opportunity arise that is better suited for you, or they may be able to connect you with more people in your industry. Taking a graceful approach to the situation will help ease your mind as you move on and will give the employer a positive impression of you, so it’s a win-win.
Hannah was pretty jaded and worn down from the rejections when she came to me, but a couple of quick adjustments to her approach made a world of difference in her job search. She did experience a couple more rejections after we started working together, but after she was able to better react to them and turn them into positive learning experiences, she finally interviewed for the job that was the perfect fit for her and got the much-coveted job offer.
By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes
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