Dear Matt: I finally interviewed for my dream job. Unfortunately I didn’t get it, and now I’ve lost my motivation and am dreading starting over in the job search process. Can you help get me through this rough patch?
Matt says: Nearly every professional has been turned down for a job at some point in their career. Brian Acton, WhatsApp co-founder, was turned down for a job with Facebook in 2009. That may have been devastating at the time, but it didn’t stop him; and Facebook recently announced it would acquire WhatsApp for a reported $19 billion.
Acton’s success shows that moving on — and staying motivated during the toughest of times — will eventually pay off. Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself or dwell on what you could have done differently.
“It’s important to manage the head game and internal self-defeating dialogue,” says career coach Karen Kodzik, President of St. Paul-based Cultivating Careers (cultivatingcareers.com). “Remember, when it comes to the job search, it’s about a match between the right candidate for the right job. It does not mean you are not a good, capable or talented person.”
Kodzik has spent the past decade coaching, motivating and helping job seekers who have faced rejection to realize their potential and find success. When faced with repeated job search rejection, it’s important to recharge and reassess what you can learn from the experience. That’s what both Kodzik and Jennifer Hamri of Robert Half (roberthalf.com) advise.
“Consider altering your strategy,” says Hamri. “If what you’re doing hasn’t been successful and you’ve been doing it for a while, it may help you both tactically and emotionally to switch gears and try something different. Add a new strategy to the mix. For example, set up an informational interview, enroll in a class to learn a new technology, or offer to volunteer with a nonprofit.”
Just because the job didn’t work out this time it doesn’t mean you’ll never have that opportunity again. Maybe in the future you can pursue a different opportunity with that same company, or the same type of role with another company. Stay open-minded, positive and determined.
“Being turned down for a dream job can force job seekers to broaden their definition of the perfect job and to consider options they never thought possible,” says Hamri. “The key is to remember that you’re in charge of your career and can take steps to steer your career down a different path or uncharted waters.”
If you’re not finding what you’re looking for, consider alternative options like becoming an entrepreneur, consultant or freelancer. These options can provide you with more control and freedom in your work, says Hamri.
“Your dream job might be out there somewhere else,” says Kodzik, “and you just don’t know it yet.”
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