In Orange Theory the other day, the teacher said something that really resonated with me: "There are a lot of things in life you can't control, but do your very best at what you can." He's right.
And I try to remember that when it comes to my career—and more specifically, the job hunt. We all want to land our dream job. Unfortunately, as is often the case in life, there are a lot of factors that may be out of our control.
For instance, we can't control the number of years of experience we have, how much a company is willing to pay a new hire, or how far along a company may be in the hiring process.
I recently applied to a job that I thought was my dream job. I studied the company extensively, I've known about them for years, I wrote down answers to common asked interview questions, and prepared stories to show that all of my previous job experiences would make me the perfect fit. I left the interview knowing I did well. I got along with the interviewer great and of course wrote the thank you note, I followed up; I did it all right...and found out that I didn't get the job.
I was really upset, but I still sent her a nice email, thanked her for taking the time to speak with me. But all that sat in my head was that I must not be good enough. It must be my personality, my job experience, my education and how my school isn't a household name. Rather than wallowing I decided to be productive and make the best out of it.
Maybe the interview didn't go as well as you hoped, you had a glaring typo in your resume or cover letter, you could have written a better thank you note, or followed up sooner to show your interest. May your choices reflect your dreams and not your fears. Adapt a new game plan to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
ASK FOR FEEDBACK
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE! and everything to gain from this. It's so crucial and it's frusterating to hear that this isn’t more common. Regardless of which part of the application process you’ve gotten to; submitting your application & resume, phone interview or face-to-face interview you want to ask why you didn’t get the position. Start with thanking them for the opportunity again and then go further and explain that you would like to better yourself for any future applications with them or others by asking them a few questions about their decision. Then, I ask:
What separated the successful candidate from the others, myself included?
Is there anything I could have done differently to better my chances, for this position specifically?
Did you have any general advice you would give me for any future applications?
These questions are good because they show that you actually care about why you didn’t get it and to be honest, will stroke their ego a little because it puts them in a position of authority.
Sounds silly but after I first got rejected from my so called dream job, I wanted nothing to do with the process. Failure is a huge part of life and how you handle it can define you as a person. Get up, dust yourself off and try again. Keep an open mind and have some fresh eyes look at your resume. you never know what you could have missed.