6 steps to take when you don’t get your dream job

Bad news. That dream job went to another candidate. Now what? These tips will help you move on and triumph.

Rejection hurts. Job rejection can be particularly painful. When it’s the job of your dreams, it can be devastating. Sure, you lick your wounds and mourn the loss, but what next? You have to move forward. That’s clear. Getting there can be difficult. Here are six steps you can take when you don’t get your dream job.

Determine if it’s a Hard or Soft No

Sometimes no is an absolute. A company simply doesn’t see a future with you in it, and there’s just nothing you can do. On the other hand, there might be one or two very fixable things standing between you and the job of your dreams. Here are a few situations where you might be able to turn a rejection around.

They are still advertising the job more than two weeks later

It happens all the time. A company hires a person, who later rejects the offer. The hiring manager decides they need more than one person to meet their needs. Ideally, businesses go back through their existing applicants to find a fit, but this doesn’t always happen.

If you notice your dream job is posted two weeks later, make contact again. It’s well worth your time. The key here is to reach out to someone personally so that your application doesn’t get ‘lost in the system’.

There’s a similar role that requires less experience

If it was a lack of qualifications or experience that led to your rejection, don’t lose hope. Double-check the open positions. You might find a junior position or one as an assistant. Swallow your pride and apply. It may not be the job of your dreams, but it’s the same company. You may be able to prove your abilities in the meantime.

You’ve added new skills

If you didn’t have the right skills the first time, the best choice is to fix that. Obviously, this can’t be done quickly. It could take several months or longer. Still, if you’ve taken on new projects or mastered new skills, polish off your resume and try again.

Don’t Just Ask for Feedback! Take Action

Everyone knows to follow up a rejection with a quick thank you note. Most people will thank the interviewer for their consideration. Many ask for suggestions for improvement. Unfortunately, few do anything with those suggestions.

Chances are, a dream job will emerge again. Unfortunately, you won’t be any more of a fit unless you actually work to shore up any deficiencies you have.

Make a List of the Things You Did Well

No doubt you’re feeling a bit demoralized by the whole process. Still, now is a great time to identify the successes you had during the process. You may have:

  • Beaten out dozens of other applicants to land an interview
  • Conquered interview nerves to impress the hiring managers
  • Developed skills you need to be a contender
  • Used your networking skills to find the opportunity
  • Created a great resume, portfolio, or cover letter

The time right after a rejection is the perfect time to list your best attributes. You’ll feel better. You can also use those successes to motivate yourself to continue working towards your career goals.

Figure Out What Made That Position Your Dream Job and Find That Elsewhere

The great thing about dream jobs is that most people have more than one. In fact, rather than having dream jobs, we have dream situations. Chances are, what you want is out there somewhere else.

Make a list of the features that made this your dream job. Then, you can prioritize those things when you continue your job search.

Take Some Time Off

Don’t feel any pressure to go out and interview again. Take some well-deserved time out. Give yourself time to process what happened. Feel your feelings. The last thing you need to do is go out while you’re feeling negative about the job search.

Rewrite Your Resume

If you’re going to recover from a job rejection like this, it may be time for a rebranding. The best place to start is your resume.

Steven Mehler, an editor for Top Writers Review says, “Your resume is more than just a record of your skills and experience. It’s really a personal branding document. It should be customized to highlight the characteristics that will help you get the job of your dreams.”

Parting Thoughts

If you’re reeling from a job rejection, the last thing you want to hear is that there are plenty of other jobs out there. Still, you have to press forward. The best way to do that is to identify ways to improve your chances in the future. If you follow the six steps above, you can shake off the experience, and turn it into something positive.