How to Move on After You Don't Land the Job
Rejection in any form is hard, and it can be especially devastating in the job market—especially if you thought the job was yours for the taking. But oftentimes we do not have the luxury of wallowing in what could have been. And while the only thing that can really help is time, read on for some things to keep in mind if that dream job just did not pan out.
It’s not just you
When we do not get hired, it can seem like a personal rejection of all your arduous work. But it is important to keep in mind there was only one person who got the job and countless others who did not. In other words, you are not alone in not getting the job—or in the feelings of disappointment and stress that often accompany such an event. At a certain point, everyone loses out on something (whether it is a job, a promotion, a project, etc.). Take comfort in knowing you have company in those experiences and those feelings.
Take a deeper look
If this isn’t the first (or second, or third) a seemingly locked position hasn’t worked out for you, Forbes recommends doing some serious self-analysis. Why are things not working out the way you thought they would? Is it because you are inflating your actual job experience and applying for jobs outside your area of expertise? Are you leaving a trail of questionable social media posts in your wake? Are your interview answers coming across as too timid or forceful? This is the time to be brutally honest with yourself as you look to see what part of your job interview process needs a total overhaul.
Rethink your goals
Finding a job in a month or two used to be a fairly reasonable goal. However, the job market has undergone a lot of turmoil in the past couple of years (global pandemic, anyone?), and therefore requires an adjusted set of expectations that may not be quite so ambitious. It is quite possible landing that dream position will simply take longer than you initially expected, and that is okay. In the meantime, feel good about the small victories you do achieve—whether that is a call back or an in-person interview.
Focus on your positives
Even if you did not land the job you thought was yours, you did do some things right—which is why you got as far as you did! So, focus on the positives: What part of your interview do you think you nailed? What do you think stood out about your resume to your potential employer? If you only home in on the fact that you did not get offered the job, it will be hard to miss the fact that you got as far as you did.
Remember how your brain works
If it seems particularly difficult to focus on the positives, just realize there is a reason for that. It is called “negativity bias,” and it is our brain’s hardwiring that pays more attention to negative events than to positive ones. Perhaps the company went with an internal hire, stopped hiring for the position entirely, or no longer had the resources to hire out. Whatever the real reason, the fact is, you now have an opportunity to start fresh—and that can be exciting.
While it might not have all worked out the way you expected, there are ways to learn and move on from a job rejection. You might even consider asking for feedback from the job you didn’t get. Regardless, it is important to keep looking toward the future, so you do not miss your next great step.