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The Job You Didn’t Get That You REALLY Wanted- 6 Ways to Cope

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

You spent hours updating your resume, cover letter and prepping for the interview, had informational interviews and researched for hours on end. Perhaps you gave a presentation or had a panel interview, took time out of work, mentioned it to family and friends. Went on 1, 2, 3, maybe even 4 interviews. You may have even waited months or years for this exact role or organization. You envisioned your new life in this role, fantasized about giving your notice, and realized the impact of the new income for your family. You dreamed about the new work/ life balance, a new field that would allow you to live your passions, and more. You believed in your heart it was yours. Until it wasn’t.

Maybe you lost out to a younger candidate, an older candidate, an internal candidate, the owner’s best friend’s cousin. You will most likely never know. You get in your head that you weren’t good enough, you botched the interview, you forgot to mention some really important parts of your experience, you were too nervous, you weren’t yourself… you beat yourself up. But here’s the thing. You can spend all of the time you want in this space but it is not productive. It won’t change the outcome.

Job searching and interviewing is a very emotional process. It is similar to dating. We feel rejected. It can feel very similar to a breakup and may even bring up past job rejection or relationship trauma. This is normal.

Here is what you need to know to get through it:

1. Give yourself the space to grieve. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re a little off for a few days. Take time to be by yourself and reflect. Lean on your friends and family about it from the beginning. Perhaps journal your feelings. Do what you need to be able to process and accept your feelings. You have been through a very emotional process. You may even go through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. Read more here. This can take anywhere from a couple of weeks (and in some cases, months). But if a bit of time goes by and you are still not feeling better, don’t be afraid to call in a therapist to help you process it. Support is out there and this is something we all go through at times.

2. Reflect on the process. How did the interviewers make you feel? Was the process a fair one? What are your thoughts on the organization and department? Did they handle it with grace when they told you the job was not yours? Figure out what your take-aways are from the process. These will show you your values.

3. Reflect on the role and organization. Does this organization have the values you seek? Does this type of role allow you to use your strengths and passions and honor your personal mission? What does this information tell you about your current career goals? Maybe they have changed entirely or have been slightly tweaked.

4. Accept that the job is not yours. Energetically send good wishes to the person who got the role. Let go of attachment to this particular position. They have made their decision and you need to find peace in accepting the outcome. Remember, when one door closes, oftentimes another will open. Get excited about what may be next for you. There have been a couple of examples in my own my life when a role didn’t work out for me, and shortly after something much better came along that was even more in alignment with that I truly wanted. You may even find that you feel RELIEVED that it did not work out in the first place! Surrender to the process and trust that in time you will understand this outcome.

5. Try to keep your mind in the positive realm. Feel proud that you made it as far as you did in the interview process. I guarantee you there was way more competition than you realize and the hiring manager's decision was not an easy one. Honor the relationships you made during the interview process- those connections may come in handy further down the line in your career. Be grateful for what you do have. Take time to focus on your strengths and the important value you bring to an organization. When our mind focuses on the positive, it is really hard to go to a very negative place. Allow gratitude to be a practice you honor daily and hold yourself to it.

6. Decide how you want to move forward and re-invest your energy. After the interview process you may find yourself in one of a few scenarios: you are even more interested in this type of work, you are no longer interested in this type of work, or somewhere in the middle. You may even feel like you want to take a break from the job search and find contentment where you currently are for a while. Or it may ignite such a fire in you that you have even more energy to dedicate towards career goals! You may realize you want additional training/credentials, or need to re-vamp your resume or LinkedIn profile, sharpen your networking or interview skills, or even hire a career coach. Use that energy for good!

Remember that you are good enough, and the right organization and role will snatch you up when the time is right. Keep your head held high. Remember, if you haven’t failed at something recently, you aren’t taking enough risks <3

What parts of this post resonate or don't resonate with you? I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Onwards and Upwards,

Melissa Carvalho, MA, RYT

Holistic Life Purpose & Career Coach/ Yoga Teacher

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