What to do after being rejected for a position you really wanted

When you fail to get the job you really want, don’t fret, there are steps you can take to stop a downward spiral. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Take action: Get some insight from the employer

You might just get the clarity you need.

Laura Garnett, a performance strategist at Garnett Consulting, writes in Inc. that you should “ask for feedback on why you didn’t make the cut.”

After writing about how to ask the employer this professionally (your tone matters), she writes:

“Some questions to ask can be: How did you perceive my strengths? At what point in the process did you realize I was not the right fit for the job?

“Would you see me better suited for a different department? You may learn that you are leaving a different impression on people than you intend. Or that you were missing something that was required for this particular role.”

Don’t lash out

It’s not the end of the world, so don’t make the employer think you’re falling apart.

NaBeela Washington, founder and Head Strategist of Prae Agency, and Social Media & Communications Manager for Work It Daily, writes on the site that you should “avoid displacing anger” if you don’t get the job because “you’re not the ideal candidate.”

“Never communicate with a recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone else in the hiring process while under the influence of anger. You may say something that could damage your reputation and cripple your career.

It’s okay to feel hurt after putting in time for a job or opportunity you really wanted. But after the hurt, it’s best to just let it go. You aren’t your feelings, but you are your work, so make those rejections count, and keep it moving!

You won’t always be the ideal candidate, but don’t let it stop you from shining elsewhere!”


Don’t turn your emotions on yourself

Arnie Fertig, founder and CEO of JobHunterCoach, writes in U.S. News & World Report that you shouldn’t “take it personally.”

After mentioning how you usually don’t know much about the other candidates and what they bring to the table, among other points, he continues:

“It might be that the person who gets the job has just a bit more experience doing some key element of the role. Maybe the position is ‘hard-wired’ for someone who already works at the company. Alternatively, it might be that you are already at the company and the boss feels the need to bring in some ‘fresh blood.’

When you take the rejection personally, you prevent yourself from figuring out what really is going on and moving ahead in a businesslike way to concentrate on nailing your next opportunity.”

Remember the good times

Melody Wilding, an executive coach and social worker who teaches at CUNY Hunter College, writes in The Muse that you should “build stronger job esteem.”

“If you find yourself constantly downplaying your accomplishments and feeling like a failure, create a list of ‘bragging rights.’ Log all of your accomplishments and contributions, and develop three key stories about times when you overcome an obstacle in the past. You might talk about when you stepped up to lead a project, how you landed new business or even the skills you used to resolve a sticky office situation.”

Wilding then writes about how this could make you feel and how it could help in a future interview.