Rejection sucks, no two ways about it.
I think I’ve found the perfect job opportunity:
In the right area
In the field I’m working towards
Job description involves skills I have
Maybe I don’t have as much experience as they’re looking for, but I can make up for it with passion, enthusiasm, charm, and a little bit of luck. Let’s apply…
They want to interview me! Things are looking good.
What now? I don’t want to go in there empty handed. I can try making a marketing plan for them, or writing a blog post on their behalf, whatever will show initiative.
I nail the interview and they loved my work samples. In fact, they want to do a second interview. That’s a great sign! I’m a serious contender.
I put on another strong performance. I know they’ll pick me. They probably just need to interview the other candidates for formality’s sake, but I know it’s in the bag.
…Just waiting for that call….
…Any day now…
But I get an email instead. They did not pick me. They chose someone else because they have a little more experience in the field. I’m no stranger to this email, having received this message several times. What did I do wrong? I showed initiative by researching the company and turned on the charm in the interviews. I put all this effort in just to receive an email saying that someone else got the position.
It can feel like a real punch to the gut. I believe the reason for that is the waiting. It makes you vulnerable to anxiety, especially if you’re a serious candidate, which increases the waiting period. So many questions float around in my head, nagging at me until I finally receive a response back.
When will they get back to me?
What if I get the job? What if I don’t?
Should I reach out again? How many times can I reach out before it becomes annoying?
What if they don’t like me because I’m a nuisance?
It can be a hard thing to move on from when I spent a lot of time and energy practicing for an interview and making a good impression. Unfortunately life doesn’t work out the way I hoped, so I’ll need to pick myself up and move forward. Here’s three steps to cushion the blow of rejection.
- Taking a second to collect one’s thoughts
While I saw myself as the obvious choice for the role, I have to understand my bias. I have a myopic view while the employer gathers intel on all the candidates and, in my case, decided to go with one more experienced. While I have a high opinion of my skills, it’s important to remember that I only know MY talents.
I also need to understand that my clouded judgement can cut both ways. After rejection, I can reach the lowest of lows and wonder if I’m even cut out for a job like this. Should I just give up entirely? Of course not, I need to see this rejection as just another learning experience. I may not have gotten the job, but I’ve gained more experience in the interview process and can further workshop my interview answers and behavior.
It’s not like I lost anything, I just didn’t gain a job. My life will still be the same, for now. Making an even better impression next time is the only way to find a marketing job.
- Ask for constructive criticism
The easy option after rejection is to delete all the correspondence and just give up trying to find a job, but I’m not here for the easy option. I need an outsider’s perspective if I want to progress, why not from the person who just interviewed me?
Below is an email exchange from a while back from the employer who chose someone else over me and ultimately led to me writing this blog.
This may not be the best example since the interview was over Skype, but consistently asking for constructive criticism has helped increase my marketability and shows a sense of professionalism. I made such a great impression that employer is willing to take me up on my offer to meet in person, which is a great networking opportunity. The employer referenced my enthusiasm and talents, which I acquired after learning from previous interviewers. This learning process has helped me become a serious contender for positions I’ve applied to. It’s only a matter of time before I finally land one.
- Getting back on that horse
Falling down multiple times can take a toll on your mental state. How long before I should call it quits and just accept my life for what it is? As much as that thought likes to creep in and engulf my mentality, I’ve been able to keep it at bay with the motivation to do better. Some crazy person said the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, why don’t I change things up? Maybe I could give my resume and cover letter a complete overhaul. Maybe I could contact employers a different way. Maybe I could apply to companies that aren’t even looking for people in marketing.
My motivation is knowing that every little bit helps, every social media post, every work sample, every resume revision, and every blog post.