‘So what?!’ (How to cope when you don’t get a job offer)

Lets face it, with the current state of affairs, the competition for good jobs has gone up more than a few notches.  Chances are there will be many more bright people out there looking for work.  To you that means that it’s possible that you’ll have to interview for several jobs before you land one.

But is getting rejected from a job the end of the world?  Being that throughout my work life I’ve been turned down from jobs (notice the plural) even after I’ve gone to several interviews, I personally don’t think so.

To begin with, nothing is the end of the world.

More than that, there’s opportunity in everything.  The key is knowing how to find it.

Here are a few of the things that have helped me say (and really mean) ‘So what?!’ whenever I’ve been rejected:

  1. Think silver lining:  Not getting a job offer might be a blessing in disguise because a better job might be waiting for you right around the corner.  I have the benefit of hindsight since that happened to me not so long ago.  After going to three interviews, including one with the company’s Managing Director, not only was I sure that I’d get an offer, but I really wanted this particular job.  It ticked all of my boxes, including that it was close to home and it paid 20% more than my current job.  I was very surprised when my recruiter called to say that someone more experienced got the job.  As I was licking my wounds, within the hour of getting turned down, I got offered an interview for a job which more than exceeded my expectations.  It included a 30% higher pay and a national management role.  After three interviews I did get an offer that I accepted.  And the fact is that had I been offered (and most probably accepted) the first job, my recruiter would not have thought of me when this second job came along.
  2. Un-spoil yourself:  I get it, life lessons do not pay the bills.  But learning to make lemonade when life gives you lemons is one of those skills that will help you cope with one of the realities of life.  Unlike what we may have lived under our parents’ roof, in life we do not always get what we want.  Learning to make the most of what we do get will definitely give us an edge over those who waste precious time whining whenever they don’t get what they want.  It’s not about being complacent, it’s about being real and un-spoiled!
  3. Bounce back:  In a changing world resiliency is winning trait.  The more times you get a chance to practice bouncing back, the better you’ll get at it and the less shaken you’ll be next time that things don’t go how you expected.
  4. Keep the lessons:  Be honest with yourself and ask yourself why you did not get a job offer.  What could you do better next time?  Review your cover letter and resume.  Or could you have packaged yourself better during the interviews?  Use the experience as an opportunity to learn a thing or two.  Those lessons are your to keep for life.  Very few successful people got to where they are today without falling a few times.  The key is they got up and learned from the fall.
I’d LOVE to hear how you bounce back from a rejection. Or if you haven’t…

6 thoughts on “‘So what?!’ (How to cope when you don’t get a job offer)

  1. I just read about “‘So what?!’ (How to cope when you don’t get a job offer)”, and I agree with you, especially with the last 3 points.
    I am searching for a job right now, I have had a few deceptions….but I am not falling back, instead I am determined to understand and try to learn from my “mistakes”…I will take on your advice in rechecking my resumé and cover letter!The fact is, the world is somewhat frozen, even if just for the moment, and it is affecting those like us who have an amazing background both personally and professionally!we are too much for thit time period and it is not easy to find companies who are willing to spend a bit of money to have us. Thank you for your reading, anyhow, and hope to get that “silver lining” soon. Take care, Barbara Ebbli

  2. Thank you Dr. Bernstein. I’ve just seen your site for the first time – thank you for pointing me to it – and I LOVED your workbook titled: Interviewing Authentically. It looks like a great tool for anyone looking to sharpen their interviewing skills.

    Stay in touch,

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