The job sounded like just the thing for you. So you polished your résumé and other materials, submitted your application, and endured a series of phone (and perhaps in-person) interviews. You returned home from the last interview and spent the next few days refreshing your email every few minutes, waiting for a sign—any sign—that your hire was imminent.
And then, three days after you last spoke to the hiring manager, an email finally arrived: rejection. We’re sorry, it read, but we’ve decided to go with another candidate. Better luck next time!
No matter how many times it happens to you, job rejection can hurt. Here are some tips for dealing with it:
Following a job rejection, it’s tempting to analyze every sentence you wrote or spoke while pursuing the gig. Should you have said “Hi” instead of “Hey” when speaking to the recruiter on the phone? Did your decision to exclude a couple of projects from your résumé and cover letter ultimately doom your chances?
Picking apart your performance will accomplish little, all while driving you insane. If you developed a friendly rapport with the hiring manager, you can ask them (politely) for feedback on why they decided to go with another candidate; otherwise, it’s best to move on to the next opportunity. (And if the hiring manager refuses to tell you, be prepared to just let the matter drop.)
While you shouldn’t fixate on details of your performance, sit down and evaluate how you did overall. Was your résumé and application as good as it could have been? Do your job-interviewing skills need a polish? Make a list of what you could have improved, and create a plan to work on each item.
Send a Thank-You
Sending a thank-you note is one of the most important things you can do in the wake of job rejection. Not only is it classy, but it potentially sets you up for a future interaction with the company. The note should thank the interviewer for his or her time, re-emphasize your interest in the company, and (potentially) solicit feedback on your application performance.
Vent and Move On
Whatever you do to relieve stress, now’s the time to do it. But after you let out your frustration and anger, refocus your attention on future opportunities. Your next job is out there.