What to Do When You Don’t Land Your Dream Job

For the last few weeks, I have been holding my breath about a job. But it wasn’t just any job. It was one of those Oh-my-gosh-I-didn’t-know-I-wanted-this-until-I-saw-it-and-doesn’t-it-look-phenomenal kind of job. I had friends in the company and a résumé that tailored nicely to the job description. My job in college segued beautifully into this higher-up position, the commute was great, and I thought I had thoroughly impressed the supervisor. I imagined myself settling into that company, making my office my own, and forming friendships with my co-workers.

Today, I got news that the job was filled. By someone else.

Many of you know how that blow feels. Sort of one of those feelings where you’d rather just stay in bed all day with your favorite book rather than look for one more job opening.

However, even though I’m very bummed about not getting this job, I’m trying to stay positive and am going to use this opportunity to re-evaluate some things:

How was my application?

I reread my application to see what I originally said. Now that it has been a few days, my eyes are better at catching mistakes. Was that cover letter as concise and powerful as it could have been? Were there any weak verbs in my résumé? Were there typos in my application? (Unfortunately, I did find one.)

How is my online presence?

I revamped my LinkedIn profile this past weekend, using that time to polish some of my syntax and to better organize my work. I also realized that now is a good time to look into my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Do they reflect a person someone would want to hire?

Was there anyone I know who could have helped?

Although it wasn’t true in this case, sometimes all of us have forgotten to look through our address books and LinkedIn networks to see if there were any people connected with that job we wanted. If you see a potential connection within the company, try reaching out to that person. This won’t always work out perfectly, but being able to name-drop in an interview is usually pretty helpful.

Did I prep enough before my interview?

This is more than just browsing through a company’s Facebook page. This means going through a company’s website and social media pages, familiarizing yourself with its latest news, its vision, its products, and any part that may be relevant to the job you want. You want to prove that your hard work begins before the job starts.

Preparation also means some introspective time. Think of some questions an employer would be curious of about your previous jobs, your problem-solving strategies, and your communications skills. Finally, what are some questions you have for them? This is further proof you’ve done your homework, and it shows you can think critically about what this job means for you and for them.

Was there more I could have done?

Finally, although I hate to admit it, it’s not always about mistakes in job searching—sometimes, it’s simply about not being good enough. That’s not meant to be a beat-yourself-up kind of statement though. Just because you didn’t land this job, it does not make you a failure at work in general or create an omen that you are un-hireable. Give it some time, and use this time as an opportunity to renew your vigor in your job search.

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