We’ve all been there: You’ve put in the leg-work, followed up with all the right people, you even had a potential contact within the company pulling for you; and yet, you didn’t get the job. There are understandable levels of frustration present when you feel you’ve covered all necessary channels without success. For most of us, our job is our direct lifeline to self-sufficiency and caring for those who depend upon us. So, while it’s hopeful you’re not in such a position, if you are, we completely understand how you feel. Several of the steps that follow can help you not only keep your balance for the duration, but offer insight into some recommended practices.
Step One: Take Time
Give yourself time and a bit of space to deal with that emotional backlash. Just ‘dealing’ with heavy (and often — though not necessarily – negative) emotions can often be less than healthy, especially if the situation is causing a fair amount of stress. Try taking a day to just let yourself be upset; it’s okay to have a bad day.
Step Two: Reach Out
Make your first efforts to bounce back. Yes, it’s that time. You’ve taken however long you need to deal with that sense of unjust rejection and now it’s time to realize that no matter how it may have felt, it’s highly unlikely the decision made to not hire you was anything but a professional (not personal) call. So use this step properly as well, and reach out. Be it to an HR rep, a hiring manager, or a placement agency representative; reaching out to thank and acknowledge each and every primary point of contact you make along the job hunt will serve your professional networks well. And don’t stop there, get feedback! Obtain as much information as you can glean to build a constructive pattern of your strengths and weaknesses, then act upon the information.
Step Three: Turn a Negative into a Positive
Now that you’ve used your gathered reflections proactively, you’re ready to re-engage from a stronger position than you were before; which means, in effect, that you have turned rejection into a positive, constructive element.
In many ways, people wrap their careers around a particular focus, be it the result of an educational path or just the circumstances of a particular industry. It’s important to remember that no matter how invested one may be, it’s never too late to alter course and approach (for instance, a career marketer can find his or her skills quite valuable in an administrative, B2B position) or even to strike out in a different direction entirely.
It is truly the ability to step back from the situation and view the series of events in the most objective way possible that gives us the strength to move forward. While dealing with the fallout of a personal experience can be challenging, stepping over to the other side of a rejection or “failure”, so to speak, will only provide us with the expertise and knowledge to do better the next time around.
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