You didn’t get the job.  What next?

You didn’t get the job. What next?

The interview went like a dream.  So well, in fact, that you wait with excited anticipation, planning your acceptance speech and mentally spending the salary that comes with the role.  Although you wouldn’t necessarily want to admit it out loud, you are pretty certain the job is in the bag.  You nailed the interview, after all.  You have the right experience, the necessary qualifications and you really feel like you connected with the interviewer(s).  They even gave you that special secret squirrel look; the one that inferred it was a done deal.

Then you get the call or email you’ve been waiting for.  Your heart is racing, pounding in your chest, your anticipation reaches full crescendo and then you hear or read the news – you didn’t get the job.  Wait, what?  Someone else just pipped you to the post.

The deliverer of your bad news may or may not extend traditional platitudes…

…such a high calibre of candidates….

….really difficult decision…

…so close between the final two…

…when it came down to it, the successful applicant was….

What? Was what?  Better qualified, more experienced, more charismatic, more driven, more confident, a closer cultural fit?  Whatever the successful applicant had more of, it can make you feel like you are lacking in that department.

The truth is that when someone else takes or is given something that you feel is rightfully yours, it is easy to get bogged down in fruitless comparisons or open the doors on an extended pity party.  It really is disappointing and hard to see beyond your feelings right at that moment.  Saying that, rejection can be a fantastic learning experience.  So what can you take away from the experience when you didn’t get the job?

I thought it would be appropriate to outline a quick-to-adopt six-step action plan for this exact scenario to move you from a state of dejection to a state of empowerment:

1. Seek feedback

Though hiring managers may not wish to be drawn on the exact reasons for their decision, this feedback is gold dust to you as a candidate and you will be richer for knowing, so do ask.  You may find the hiring manager is more forthcoming if you ask verbally rather than in writing.  If you are using a recruitment agent, they can do it on your behalf – the hiring manager may be less prone to sugarcoat their answers when going through an intermediary.  If it was me, I would want to know whether the successful candidate offered something I couldn’t in terms of skills, experience or qualifications – if so, I could then evaluate whether it would be worth my while to try to acquire the missing element for future opportunities.

2.  Incubate your already warm contacts

Keep things warm and friendly by sending a thank you note, connecting on LinkedIn and indicating interest in future opportunities.  Don’t burn bridges by feeling or acting bitter and sulky; be gracious and ready for any other openings that may arise.

3.  Reassess what you have learnt  

Life is all an experience and from every situation, good or bad, there will be something you can take away.  By going through the application and interview process, you will have gained an insight which you can now draw upon and leverage to your advantage in your job search.  This could be in relation to contacts you have made, company or industry insight, interview experience or greater clarity on the kind of roles that will or won’t work out for you.

4.  Recognise and build your own resilience

Not getting your dream job can leave you feeling rejected, dejected and frustrated.  This is normal but you don’t have to accept those feelings.  The ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again is one of the most valuable skills you can ever learn and, what’s more, you never really stop learning how to do it.    Let’s face it, you won’t be the right fit for every role or company, but putting yourself out there is to be admired.  Find the reward in every scenario – in this situation, it will be what you learn about yourself and how you use the lesson going forward.

5.  Don’t adopt a ‘spray and pray’ approach on the rebound

When you’ve been rejected for your dream job, it can be tempting to ‘show them’ by firing your CV off in response to all and sundry opportunities.  One of them should pay off; isn’t it just a numbers game after all?  I don’t think so.  This approach can waste your time and effort and waste other people’s time and effort.  You’d be better to narrow down what it is you really want and focus your energy and attention on that one application, rather than 10, 20 or 30 others that are not so relevant.  To quote Claire Mitchell, The Female Entrepreneur Coach: “Where you place your attention is where the magic happens.”

6.  Don’t look back in anger

The world is still your oyster – an exciting and more appropriate opportunity may well be just around the corner.  Look forward, not back and make sure you are open and ready to embrace it.


Guardian Careers name Giraffe CVs as a top 10 Twitter account for careers advice

Guardian Careers name Giraffe CVs as a top 10 Twitter account for careers advice

This morning I received a little tweet from @GuardianCareers that resulted in a huge smile:

Guardian Careers tweet about Giraffe CVs

Guardian Careers tweet about Giraffe CVs

Giraffe CVs have been recommended by Guardian Careers as one of their top 10 experts on Twitter to help you get ahead with your career.  Having searched for advisors who are ‘leading the careers conversation and who dish out top advice’, Guardian Careers named Giraffe CVs along with nine other careers experts who made the grade.  Read the full article here.

We are truly delighted to be featured on the Guardian website.  What a fantastic start to the weekend!