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Four Tips on What to Do When You Don’t Get the Job

Not getting the job you want happens all too often. A job seeker scours job boards and job engine sites, sends out many copies of his or her résumé and a cover letter, gets called in for one interview, and this job seeker is ultimately not offered the position he or she is she applied for. It is a disheartening reality that many individuals face every day, and quite frankly, it could be devastating for job seekers. In response, many job seekers shut down by either falling into a depression or they stop actively looking for work when not being offered a job they interviewed for. Neither option is a good response if a job seeker is genuinely interested in finding a new job. Here are some steps to do when you do not get the job.

1. Take a breath. The job search process can be overwhelming, causing job seekers to endure a lot of pressure and stress in an activity that can last over a year before landing a job. Not surprisingly, many job seekers face bouts of depression and anxiety, especially after interviewing and not getting offered the job. Self-care is critical here! Take a step back and take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself and embrace hobbies or other activities to help distract yourself from recent rejections in the job search. Failure happens to everyone. Take a breath and try again. Stay positive; you WILL find a job you will enjoy!

2. Seek interview and résumé feedback from the interviewer. Feedback from an interviewer or hiring manager on an interviewee’s performance and résumé is rare. All too often, there is something in an interviewee’s cover letter or résumé that turns off the reader, or how a person presents himself in an interview could be off-putting. Rarely will you encounter a hiring manager or hiring committee member willing to give you concrete feedback. That type of feedback can be critical and make your future interview performances much better, and your résumé stands out from all the other documents submitted. If you find out you did not get a job, consider calling the hiring manager and ask for feedback. Ask what you should improve on your résumé and how you could have improved upon your interview. Also, ask what the person hired did to stand out from the other candidates. The hiring managers may be willing to give that level of feedback. When you get the feedback, do not argue with them or become defensive. Just thank them for their feedback and for their time to interview you. If you responded negatively to the hiring manager, you will be remembered and won’t be invited again for an interview should you apply for another position within the company or organization.

3. Review your application materials. Are you rarely getting to the interview stage? That is an indication that your résumé and cover letters need adjustment. For the résumé, make sure you highlight achievements from past jobs instead of just listing your duties at a job. As for both your résumé and cover letters, make certain you adjust these documents to match the specific job ad you are applying to. Incorporating keywords from job ads often makes a big difference because many companies and organizations now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan submitted résumé and cover letters for applicants that are the best fit. If you do not include keywords from the job ad in your résumé, an ATS may prevent your application materials from even being considered. You could also hire a professional résumé writer or career coach to write a résumé for you. If you do, make sure you hire certified career coaches and résumé writers, both of whom receive extensive training in résumé writing.

4. Practice makes better. Perfection in interviewing is not likely, but improving your interview performance is an attainable goal. Practice job interviewing whether or not you feel you need the practice as we can all improve our interviewing skills. Ask a colleague or mentor to assist you with interview questions relevant to your field/line of work.

Best of luck with your job search!

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