What to Do When You Don't Get the Job

When interviewing for a new job, it can be disappointing when you're not selected for the position. Learn how to turn rejection into an opportunity with these tips.

Professional man interviewing for a job

Not every resume you send out will result in landing an interview, and not every interview will lead to a job offer. What should you do when you don't get the job you want? Here are six proactive steps to take if you don't get the job.
  1. Take time to grieve. It's okay to stop and grieve your loss, especially if the job you applied for was your dream job. Reflect on what you might have done or said differently, but don't dwell on it forever. Grieve for a short time, then get back into the job search routine.
  2. Send a thank you note. Sending a thank you note to your interviewer will let them know that you value their time. It will also leave a big impression. The next time that company has a job opening, who do you think they'll think of first? You'll increase your chances for a second stab at that company if you do this one thing.
  3. Respectfully ask for feedback. Not every company and not every interviewer will tell you why you didn't get the job. If you ask the question directly, you likely won't get a response. Instead, ask something like, “Can you help me out for future reference? What could I have done to make myself more competitive?” By asking it this way, you aren't really asking why they hired someone else instead of you, which could put them on the spot. Rather, you're asking for feedback that will make you a more competitive candidate for the next job interview. Leverage any feedback as an opportunity to improve future interviews. 
  4. Pick yourself up and continue your job search. It's very important that you get back into the job search routine as quickly as possible. Send out another resume or visit another job board. 
  5. Ask if there is another opening in the company that could match your job skills. Large companies usually have multiple job openings simultaneously. Ask your interviewer if there are other job openings in the company that match your skills.
  6. Maintain your relationship with the recruiter/human resources representative. Did you develop a strong report with the HR representative during the interview process? Are you interested in staying on their radar for future opportunities within the organization? Try connecting with them on LinkedIn. Many HR reps post job updates in their personal feed - which is a great way to learn about new opportunities. 
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