Let’s face it. Job hunting is not fun no matter what field you’re in. Aside from being generally annoying and tedious, it can also be disheartening when you feel like you’re applying for tons of jobs and you’re not getting hired. Here are some helpful tips for when you didn’t get the job and you’re feeling pretty down about it.
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What to Do When You Didn’t Get the Job
Don’t try to figure out the “why.”
Unfortunately, every job can be the job. There are A TON of potential reasons why you didn’t get the job that have nothing to do with you personally. For example, the company could have already had an internal candidate in mind for the job but is required to post the job anyway, the position could have been cut entirely, they may have had too many applicants, the interviewer may have felt you were not a good fit for their team dynamics (which is a good thing, trust me!)… there are so many possibilities and none of them mean you’re not a good candidate.
It just isn’t worth it to spend your energy trying to figure out why they didn’t choose you. It also doesn’t serve a purpose… all you’re doing is beating yourself down. That energy can be better used literally anywhere else; you don’t need to hate yourself because you didn’t get a job.
Triple check your resume.
Make sure your resume is free of typos and doesn’t include formatting issues. It’s also best to save your resume as a PDF to ensure formatting is consistent across all computers and programs. This guide to resume writing is one of the most helpful, comprehensive guides I have ever seen. Some of the information is relevant only to Binghamton graduates but most of it is helpful for everyone! You can also ask a trusted friend and/or family member to look over your resume; having fresh eyes never hurts.
If you’re looking for an eye-catching resume template, be sure to check out Creative Market and Etsy! Before you purchase one, make sure you have whatever editing software you need to properly edit them. Some of them require photoshop, while others simply work in Microsoft Word or even on Canva.
Don’t let yourself spiral.
My first reaction when I get a rejection email is to feel hurt and discouraged. And to be totally honest, I feel sort of grateful that the company was kind enough to send one because so many companies don’t.
But it’s so easy to get into a downwards spiral of “I’ll never get hired” or “I’m a terrible employee” or “What is wrong with me?” but all that does is invite negative energy into your space. As I said a little while ago, you can use that energy for so much more than self-loathing.
Don’t forget about all your strengths. A rejection email from a company doesn’t take away from your accomplishments, achievements, and abilities.
Don’t buy into every single rule.
I saw an article once that said you shouldn’t apply for jobs after 10am and you shouldn’t apply for jobs on Mondays at all. I was newly looking for jobs at that point and it really messed me up for a while. But honestly, if an employer (or their algorithm) is that judgmental about me, I don’t want to work there.
Not to mention there’s all kinds of “rules” for how folks should dress. I’ve seen people advise job-seekers to never to wear red, to always wear your hair in a bun (no thanks), wear makeup but don’t overdo it… it makes me want to crawl in a hole and never apply for jobs again. Definitely have a professional appearance, but if you’re judging me because I’m wearing my hair down or I didn’t put concealer on, I don’t want to work for you.
There are absolutely rules that you should be following depending on what types of jobs you’re looking for. You may need to attach a CV, portfolio, references, and/or cover letter. Those are important and you should be utilizing them unless a company specifically tells you otherwise. But some of the advice on the internet is questionable at best, and you don’t have to follow oddly rigid, bizarre rules like how to style your hair or a literal time of day to apply.
Take a step back.
Unless you are literally desperate, like starving or on the verge of homelessness, you can probably spare a day or two off from your job hunt so you don’t drive yourself up a wall. You don’t need to be applying for jobs during every spare moment. In fact, you may actually be harming your chances if you do that because you won’t be able to give your job application your best shot if you’re mass-applying. I’d be lying if I said I never just submitted my resume randomly with no cover letter just because I felt like I needed to hit a set number of applications per week to find success.
Grieve. If it’s a job you really really wanted it’s okay to be a little sad. I’m still a little sad I didn’t get a marketing director job for a company I love, and this was almost two years ago. It’s okay to be disappointed and sad that you didn’t get an exciting opportunity, but try not to let yourself spiral. There will be other exciting opportunities that come your way.
Know your strengths.
If you feel like you have no idea how to market yourself to employers, or what types of jobs to even apply for, talk to your friends and family and see what they feel you’re good at. You might be surprised at what they come up with! You can also try various career and/or personality indicators such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator or the Enneagram to get a wide snapshot of potential personality traits or career ideas.
No personality test can ever be 100% accurate, but they’re a good starting point especially if you don’t feel comfortable having a conversation with friends or family about what your strengths are.
Don’t let anxiety lie to you.
My anxiety loves to tell me that employers didn’t pick me because I’m somehow defective. It also likes to tell me that employers are secretly bashing me behind my back, and that it was futile for me to even apply.
The thing is, the rational part of my brain knows that isn’t true. If someone were actually thinking negative things like that about me, I would never want to work for them because I know how toxic of an environment that would be!
It took me a while to get to the point where I could combat this, and I’m still kind of bad at it. But the strategy I have been implementing is to try to prove it with evidence of how I’m treated. I can never find actual legitimate reasons to believe people think poorly of me based on any of our interactions. And that usually calms me down, a little bit.
Trust that it wasn’t the right job for you.
You might be thinking, “What do you mean?! That job was perfect for me! It’s exactly what I wanted!”
I used to think that too… about every single job I was even remotely excited about getting. And when I didn’t get it, it left me feeling disappointed and unhappy. My mindset was damaged, and it interrupted my productivity while hunting for jobs because my confidence had been shattered.
But if you allow yourself to say, “Oh, that job just wasn’t the one” it’s a lot easier to move past the sting of rejection, helps you not to dwell, and helps your mindset.
What do you do when you don’t get a job you were excited for? How do you stay grounded while job-hunting? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!
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