You spent time customizing and polishing your resume and cover letter. Then, you waited weeks for the phone screen and had more interviews, plus maybe even a project or two. You’re positive you wowed the hiring manager, and the next contact from them will be a job offer.
Only it isn’t. They’ve decided to “go with someone else.”
Rejection stings, especially when you had high hopes and were so close to getting the job. While your first instinct may be to write a scathing review and leave it somewhere for all to see, know that you’re not alone. We’ve all been rejected for a job at some point. Here’s what to do when you don’t get the job.
5 Things to Do When You Don’t Get the Job
1.) Feel Your Feelings
It’s OK to be sad. Or frustrated. Or angry. Or all of the above! These are totally normal reactions.
Take some time to feel whatever you’re feeling about not getting the job. Eat a lot of ice cream, go for a run, or cry if that’s what you need to do. This will help you process your feelings and help you get your emotions and reactions under control before you act (or react!).
2.) Ask for Feedback
Your rejection may have been vague. For example, the recruiter may have emailed, “While we’re very impressed with your qualifications, we’ve decided to go with someone else.”
As polite as this is, it doesn’t help you understand why you weren’t selected for the role. And understanding the “why” will help improve your job search. Follow up with the employer and ask for feedback. You may not hear anything, but you never know, and what the employer tells you could be valuable to your job search.
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3.) Thank Them
Even though you’re disappointed about not getting the job, make sure to thank the hiring manager for their time. If nothing else, this helps present you as a true professional the recruiter wants to keep in touch with—and hire at a later date.
4. Do Some Self-Assessment
Whether or not you get feedback, do some self-assessment on your performance. This might be difficult, but think about your performance throughout the interview process and identify places you could improve.
You might need to practice your answers to better illustrate how you use your skills in your work. Maybe you need a few more years of experience first, or a certificate or even a degree.
That said, it’s entirely possible that you did everything right. It’s just that someone else is a slightly better fit for the role. So, do some self-assessment, but don’t obsess! If you’re sure there’s nothing else you could have done or need to do for the future, be confident in that knowledge and take it with you to the next interview.
5.) Keep Searching
Don’t give up because you didn’t get this job. Keep the door open with the company, continue making connections, and keep reaching out to new opportunities. Consider adding the people you met to your network. Someone in their network may have the perfect job for you.