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Can you relate? A client of mine got a call out of the blue from a friend asking if she’d be interested in a position at her company. She wasn’t looking for a job and couldn’t help but feel flattered.

We researched the company, the people they hired, their objectives and industry trends. My client was sharp and ready for her interview; she knew how to explain what she wanted and how she could make an impact at the new company. I’m talking stellar.

And yet, she didn’t get the job. 

She went through every emotion- frustration she’d gotten excited when she wasn’t even looking, wondering if she’d done something wrong; she was angry and annoyed. And worse, now she felt disconnected to her job having imagined leaving it.

Regardless of if she went looking for it or whether the job came looking for her, she couldn’t help but feel defeated.

I can relate.

I interviewed for a paralegal job once. The lawyer’s office looked like an episode of hoarders- boxes, files and papers everywhere stacked higher than his desk. And there was a cat lurking around the piles. It was gross. And I didn’t get the job.

At the time I was desperate and couldn’t believe this creepy slob didn’t want to hire me! I was insulted! Had he done so however, I wouldn’t have gotten the job that changed the course of my career. And besides, I’m allergic to cats…

So how did that happen?

First, I freaked out. I started by brain-freezing myself with a giant peanut butter cup blizzard, spilling it on my one and only suit. Then I called a friend to bitch about it (the job and the spill) while downing several glasses of Franzia (hey, I was jobless!). I was crushed and felt like crap.

Then, I got over it.

Because I didn’t fight my feelings, I woke up a week later feeling better.

I made note of why I wanted that job and what I wouldn’t have liked about it. I knew I’d have been miserable sharing an office with Heathcliff, inhaling dust mites and working with just 2 people. I realized that I wanted to work for a larger company, with opportunity and a pet policy.

While I knew this, I didn’t know much else.

In search mode again, I decided to get social, setting up coffee and drinks with people I knew. I wasn’t asking for a job, I was learning what they did and how their companies worked, and I took it all in.

I needed money in the meantime, so I decided to consider temp jobs so I could test the waters. In the interview with the staffing company, I was offered a job as an in-house recruiter and account manager. Say, what?!

Had I not been open to opportunities and put myself out there, I’d have missed out on a job that ended up giving me the experience and foundation for the business I have now.

One of the reasons many women choose to work with me is because I believe in making the present as enjoyable as possible while figuring out the future.

Here’s what you can do to recover from a rejection so you can get your heart back into your current job, at least for now.

  • Chat with someone you trust who isn’t directly affected by the outcome. Get those feelings out- complain, cry, be pissed or jealous. Allow yourself to feel anything that comes up without judgment.
  • List out all reasons the new job wouldn’t have worked AND what excited you most about it. Get it all on paper and then set the list aside.
  • Step away. When you mentally stay in job search mode, you can’t help but notice what’s missing in your current job. For the next few days, don’t look at other opportunities, engage in conversations about looking or let your mind wander to the “what could be.”
  • Most importantly, re-engage with your current job. Find a project you can throw yourself into. Consider when you feel energized and inspired. Is it when you’re helping a coworker solve a problem? When you create a system that makes people’s lives easier? When you connect with a new client? Figure out what that is and make sure you find a way to do it, even if you’re in between jobs.

Here’s the deal: You may not need to do all 4 but try a couple to get you out of the emotional slump. Know that we all go through this. It doesn’t make you less hire-able or less awesome; it’s simply a part of the process. As I had to do with Hoarder, Esq., resist this affecting your confidence for longer than a few days.

Once you’ve recovered, it’s time to get strategic.

Take out the list and use it as a guide. Begin talking to people. Discuss what you love about your work, how you’re hoping to grow and the impact you hope to make. (I refer to this as your Unique Advantage Statement.) Gather intel on what they do. Have conversations like humans, without motive.

According to this Forbes article, 80% of jobs are found through networking.

Challenge: Whether job searching or not, set up 3 meetings with people you know- former co-workers, neighbors, friends, family, alumni, people in your yoga class. Make it casual. My best tip: ask more questions than you answer.

Got any tips you can share? Let us know in the comments below. What helps you get over rejection? 

If you like this article, please like, share or tweet it! 

Here’s to finding the right job!

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  • Susan April 23, 2014, 3:47 pm

    Awesome post!! I love all of your tips! Especially the step away and re-engaging. It’s so important to let go and be present when you’re trying to make changes. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 23, 2014, 5:01 pm

      Thanks so much Susan!

      Reply
  • Angelica April 23, 2014, 4:12 pm

    Great insights, not landing a job you’ve working so hard to achieve is one of the WORST feelings.

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 23, 2014, 5:00 pm

      It’s true! And we ALL go through the letdown at some point.

      Reply
  • SocialNicole April 23, 2014, 4:22 pm

    What a great article! I agree that when one door closes another one opens. The best thing you can do when rejected is mourn the loss (quickly) and get back out there. I always say it needs to be a fit on both sides! And with that rejection means it wasn’t the right fit. I also think that being open to opportunities and being confident in your abilities will take you far. My own career has been shaped because I was willing to jump when opportunities arose even when they scared me and I felt out of my depth in what I was doing. I would not be where I am today without this attitude. Great article!

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 23, 2014, 4:59 pm

      That’s awesome, Nicole! I agree that it has to be a fit on both sides. We don’t have the hindsight at the time to realize that sometimes a great opportunity isn’t meant to be so that it can make room for one that is. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Disa April 23, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Great tips! I like the one about finding a project. I found that the only way I was motivated in jobs is when I had a project to work on.

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 23, 2014, 4:57 pm

      Thanks Disa!

      Reply
  • Adel Refai April 23, 2014, 6:30 pm

    Great article. I think it’s also important to be proactive about it – to manage your expectations going in so you don’t have to worry about dealing with shock afterwards. We can only influence what’s under our control. Whether or not a job offer is extended is out of our control, so we logically can’t get upset about the outcome, right?

    We do our best with everything leading up to it, and trust that everything that happens after that will take us in the best direction for us.

    Great article!

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 24, 2014, 3:25 pm

      Great advice, Adel! I love the part about only influencing what’s under our control. It reminds me of something my mom always says: “you can’t control the actions of others, you can only control how you react to it/them.”

      Reply
  • Helene April 23, 2014, 9:51 pm

    These are great tips. I especially love that you tackled the toughie of how to stay engaged in your current job. That can be so hard.

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 24, 2014, 3:25 pm

      Thanks Helene!

      Reply
  • Wenda McMahan April 24, 2014, 1:16 am

    Excellent points! I had six interviews last year (six!) with a company very near and dear to my heart. The last one was with someone who reported directly to the CEO. Then I had to call them myself to find out I didn’t get it …

    I especially liked the suggestion to write a list of the reasons why a job wouldn’t have been the right fit. That feels really soothing and smart. I suspect that there are lots of reasons we may not be admitting to ourselves why we know we’re not a good fit. Or even just “not a good fit right now.”

    Signing up for your newsletter!

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 24, 2014, 3:26 pm

      Thanks Wenda! And welcome! It’s true: we’re often after “winning” or getting the job that we overlook that it might not be the best for us.

      Reply
  • Sarah Koszyk April 24, 2014, 5:15 am

    It’s true. Many times we don’t get what we wanted or expected. However, we can look at how we can improve or what we can do differently next time to continue to grow and learn. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 24, 2014, 3:27 pm

      Thanks Sarah!

      Reply
  • Julieta April 24, 2014, 10:46 am

    I haven’t had the experience of not getting a job, because I work in a family company. But, I understand the feeling, we all have gotten a negative in the past. Right now I’m on my way to grow my own biz, so I’got a lot of “no” from family or friends who Ibhave invited to join me. What do I do to recovery?
    1. If I feel like crying or cursing, I get to an empty room and do it. Keep nothing inside.
    2. I ask for guidance. I pray to God, but you can choose from your beliefs
    3. I meditate and focus to coach myself. I praise myself. Say good things, in the same way a friend would tell you how amazing you are.

    To end this comment I want to tell you: You are special, you are a miracle, believe in you. And remember a NO means a better YES later on.

    Reply
    • Anne Omland April 24, 2014, 3:28 pm

      This is great advice, Julieta! So positive. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply
  • D. Allen Edmonds April 24, 2014, 12:43 pm

    If I may quote the Bard: “You can’t always get what you wa-ant, but sometimes you get what you need.”

    Reply
  • April April 27, 2014, 4:41 pm

    Great post Anne! Thank you for sharing the “less than glamorous” side of job hunting. I loved how you articulated your approach, “I believe in making the present as enjoyable as possible while figuring out the future.” AWESOME!

    Reply
    • anneedmonds@hotmail.com April 28, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Thanks so much April! x

      Reply
  • Ella | The Office Escape April 28, 2014, 8:56 am

    Awesome post! Sulking and sobbing is not bad as long you wouldn’t stay in there. There’s a lot of things that NEEDS your energy. Instead of pouring it out in a temporary emotion to the rejection, try channeling it to something productive that will make others wonder why you still manage to be rolling in progress. Thanks for this!

    Reply
    • anneedmonds@hotmail.com April 28, 2014, 3:07 pm

      Great advice! Thanks Ella!

      Reply
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