No matter how it’s sugar coated, the bitter taste of defeat has a tendency to linger much longer than we’d like. When you don’t land the job, bruised confidence can make it hard to get back into the game, but sometimes you just gotta take a page from T-Swift and shake it off—and hey, she clearly isn’t doing too bad for herself, right?
Try these tips from our silver-lining playbook to turn a disappointing loss into an epic job search game changer.
- Think positive
On average, a recruiter receives about 250 resumes per job posting. That’s 249 other applicants--but YOU landed an interview. Think about that part for a second because it’s pretty impressive. So you didn’t get the job, but you obviously have skills. There’s a lot of behind the scenes decisions that happen when a company is hiring. Sometimes it's not about you or anything you could have done (or done differently). Another candidate could have simply known one more computer program than you, so don’t take it personally.
- Get feedback
If you really want to know, ask. Granted it’s a rarity for a hiring manager to tell you directly why you weren’t the top pick, but if you’re working with a recruiter, he or she should be able to direct you to the specifics of why you weren’t chosen. You may have been the perfect cultural fit but missing the year of relevant experience another candidate had. In either case, you’re better off knowing, so you can refine and hone any potential weaknesses or mistakes you’re making.
- Fill in the gaps
Are there training programs or workshops you can take to better prepare you for the positions you’re applying for? If you need to add a bit more oomph to your experience, you may want to consider doing something about that before you apply for another position, or you could face the same outcome. Seek out experience or training that will put you on the same level as your competition.
- Don’t burn bridges
Be gracious, follow up with a thank-you email and if you really feel like you still want to be a part of the company, let the hiring manager know. Maybe the candidate they chose doesn’t work out, or another role may become available that you’re better qualified for—letting the company know you’re still interested can cement you in their minds as someone who is resilient and a team player.
- Let it go
Job hunting is stressful, but all worrying does is cause wrinkles. There are a lot of things we can control, but we have to learn to simply do our very best at the things we can and let go of what we can’t. How can you get excited and motivated for another opportunity if you’re still hauling emotional baggage? Live, learn and let it go.
Here’s the biggest piece of advice: Remember, it isn’t the end of the world. The job search process can be long and arduous, but nothing good comes easy, right?