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The email notification went off, I knew this was the email I had been waiting to receive. I took a deep breath in, gave myself a pep talk and clicked the unread email open.

The words jump right at me off the page. “While we were impressed with your skillset, we have chosen to proceed with another candidate who is a better fit for this role” “Wait…What? – Ok, that’s cool, I’m fine with that” I said, going over my pep talk I gave myself a few minutes ago in my head. “Laura, it IS fine, this is NOT personal, this just means you are headed somewhere else …
My eyes began to well up and thousands of thoughts came rushing into my head the more I thought about it.
I genuinely believed I was the perfect fit, the interview went so well, the second interview went even better and the task I was asked to do was incredibly well received. As I continued to read the email the following thoughts came rushing into my head, ‘Is there something wrong with me? What do they mean they’re impressed with my skillset, but don’t want to hire me? What did I do wrong? Why am I not good enough?’
I was left with a big ‘Why’ at the end of the email, why didn’t I get the job?
When we go out job hunting, especially when we are just starting out, it can be an incredibly daunting task and a job rejection can take a huge toll on your mental wellbeing.
I replayed the interview over thousands of times before the email came through, even to the extent that I had pictured my first few days there and what I was going to do.
That night I went to bed and the interviews kept on replaying in my head, but this time, the thoughts were accompanied with where I could of went ‘wrong’. The next morning, I was tired, I felt pretty defeated, but this wasn’t the first job rejected I had had. So, I knew I needed to do my best to shake it off as I could probably go on and on and replay the interview over and over in my head until I had made up something that was so far from the truth. I reminded myself that maybe they were looking for someone with experience in a certain industry, function, or region that I didn’t have.
Maybe they liked the other candidate’s writing style, thought process, or approach to the role a little more. In sports, there are winners and losers, the lines are usually pretty clear. In the talent market, not so much. Am I a loser because I didn’t get the job? Who knows? Maybe the job would have been horrible, maybe the person who would have sat next to me only ate tuna or egg sandwiches. Who really knows?
When I didn’t or, when you don’t get a job you think you want, the job you think is the perfect fit, you have to trust in a higher power – God or Mother Nature, the Universe or the laws of physics – and, most importantly, you have to trust yourself. We are programmed to think that when we lose out on something, it’s bad. We think we failed. We forget that if our path were just an endless series of wins, we would never learn anything. We would never appreciate anything, either. We would never reflect. Maybe you won this round, but you don’t know it yet! The right job is going to show up. If you beat yourself up every time you don’t get a job you interviewed for, you will drive yourself crazy. There is a saying that goes, “If you live by people’s compliments, you will die by their criticism.” Rise up, and don’t be too hard on yourself when a job opportunity goes south.
Rejection of any kind is never easy to deal with however, it does become quite a tough pill to swallow when you are in what seems like, a cycle of job rejections. Below is a list of things to remember when you don’t get the job.
  1. It is not personal – the interviewer does not know you, your life, your story, they literally saw a small glimpse of you, and it was at a brief glance. This is nothing to do with you or your worth, capabilities and talents.
  2. See the positive side – At the very least you should feel as though you have learned something through the interview process. We all learn from our experiences, and interviewing is no different. However, if you performed to the best of your ability, showed all your relevant technical expertise, demonstrated your competencies and communicated in your most engaging manner in an interview but were still turned down, then you can take comfort from knowing that it was the wrong firm for you.
  3. Take a breather -If you are getting too many rejections, it can help to step away from the process to decompress. You need to have a clear head for the job search. But don’t take too long of a breather — a few days should be enough. If you take a week away from the job search, you might be letting the “no’s” overwhelm you too much.
  4. Remember that in the end, “winners are just people who keep trying.”- As you encounter setbacks it’s what you do when you face adversity that defines you. Prevent rejection from derailing your job search efforts by not taking it personally, keeping a smile on your face and staying mentally tough.
  5. Keep learning and developing – Your confidence can take a hit when you get a rejection, so it’s important to work hard at keeping your self-confidence and motivation levels up. Read up on articles from the industry you’re interested in, do online training course that will help refresh your knowledge and also, physically, get outside, get active, leave the screen for a few hours to clear your head before coming back and looking at things from a new perspective.