Didn’t Get The Job? Here’s How to Bounce Back

Illustration of a candidate who didn't get the job looking dejected.

Disappointed you didn’t get the job you were dreaming of landing? It happens. Here’s what to do now.

We’ve all been there. You uncover a fantastic job opportunity, polish your resume, fire off a carefully crafted application and celebrate when you get called in for an interview. From there you conquer your nerves, and as things progress you become more and more excited about the role. You do your best to wait patiently for the decision, and then finally it comes. You receive the call, email or letter to tell you that, unfortunately, you didn’t get the job.

Any creative professional who has made it through the various interview stages and waited for an offer that resulted in a rejection knows it can be devastating. If you didn’t get the job you wanted, here are three important things to remember.

Handle the rejection with grace

Even though it can be a bitter pill to swallow, keep your composure. Sending a handwritten thank-you note even though you didn’t get the job will leave a good impression, demonstrate good character and may open doors to opportunities in the future. Thank the hiring manager for his or her time and for considering you for the opportunity. Being positive, reiterating what attracted you to the role and wishing the company continued success will make you stand out from the rest of the field.  

Learn from it

If you are able to solicit feedback from your interviewer use that to your advantage. Don’t be disheartened if you learn the selected candidate had more experience, better presentation skills, or knew the creative director of the team. Instead think about where you’ve excelled and how you can best position yourself for future job searches.

If you are unable to gather feedback you can still reflect on the process and use your own insights to become an even stronger candidate. Did you trip up over a tricky interview question? Now you have a better idea of what to expect in the future and how to handle it. Did you make a misstep at the conclusion of your portfolio presentation? If so, remember that practice makes perfect. The (unfortunate) experience will make you even more likely to knock your next pitch out of the park.

Go easy on yourself

It’s human nature to feel disappointment, especially if the opportunity you missed out on represented your dream job. Give yourself time to feel upset, but make the commitment to bounce back even stronger. However painful it feels now, use the experience as a catalyst. Turn the rejection into something that will propel you forward instead of something that will hold you back.

Even though you didn’t get the job, remaining positive will work in your favor. Maintaining an upbeat, confident outlook is essential if you want to project a great impression to other people in your network who can help you with your job search. Remain determined to find opportunities where you can show your next employer exactly what you bring to the table.

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​Octavia Goredema is the founder and editor of Twenty Ten Talent, a career resource for talented young black women. Find her on Twitter at @OctaviaGoredema.

Tags: Job Search