A job search is hard for most people. There is no denying that. For every job opening, there are often many candidates pursuing it.
There is a tendency to settle for any job that will take you. No matter how successful one’s career has been, this process can be humbling.
I’ve been there, too. I’ve come in second during selection processes. I’ve been told I’m overqualified. I’ve been disenchanted with the thrill of the hunt for the next step in my career.
The irony is this process if finding a job requires continual optimism. A good attitude is necessary, as hard as that can be sometimes.
I thought I’d share some experiences (from real candidates, colleagues, and friends) to remind you that you are not alone.
Equally important, I’m adding my reactions or thoughts associated with each situation. These are reflections on staying on track and positive in response to tough moments in the job search.
The following are examples of 4 different experiences that job seekers regularly encounter with my thoughts on how to stay positive even when things don't go as well as you hope.
I had a candidate get through all the hurdles. He even got a verbal offer with a promise of a written offer the following week. A few days later, the company decided not to fill the position. He was devastated as this was a perfect job for him. Plus, he felt like he was starting over from scratch in his job search.
First of all, he lost the opportunity because the company waffled on this. One can question why it happened.
I know one thing for sure -- the candidate’s qualifications had nothing to do with the decision.
It is important for this candidate to also realize that he is NOT “starting over from scratch.” So much groundwork has been laid by this job seeker: he has practiced interviewing in real-world situations; perfected his resume; and has networked heavily which will bring more leads his way.
Momentum was not brought to a standstill during this process (never stop your search while interviewing -- you never know what might happen).
A candidate made it to the final round of interviews. Very often, there is more than one under consideration in the final stages of a selection process. The candidate was told they were the runner up -- “unfortunately we can’t hire both of you.”
Coming in second sucks. No doubt about it. It is hard to be that close and to miss landing the job by perhaps one qualification or one small thing you said or did not say. Or simply, the other candidate connected better with the decision-maker. Maybe they share the same hobby.
There are small things that make a difference when choosing between two great candidates. You must remind yourself that even coming in second is good. It means you are qualified for the job and many others just like it. It means you ARE a great candidate and will make the leap to the top soon.
If you really liked the people and the organization, consider sending a thank you note after receiving the rejection -- The Thank You That Can Turn Rejection into Opportunity. If the person doesn't work out, or if another opportunity opens soon, you could be hired.
A candidate has sent his resumes to many companies and has not heard back on any of them. He is convinced he will never get an interview.
If you’ve had a job(s) in the past, you are qualified for a job in your future. At moments like this, re-evaluate your process. There could be several things wrong.
Also, read Improve Your Ranking in LinkedIn Searches in 10 Steps and The 25 Best Keywords for You in Your Job Search to make yourself easily found by employers searching through LinkedIn for qualified candidates.
A candidate has been in the search for "long time" and is convinced there simply are no jobs meeting her requirements so she should give up.
Jobs pop up every week, every day. The real questions to consider are:
In summary, are you being aggressive about finding the jobs? As they say, finding a job can be a full-time job.
The common thread between these situations is that all are real tough blows to the psyche and the efforts in a job search. All of them can derail your productivity and lead to a negative path. As hard as it is, you have to consider that all these situations can be looked at as opportunities. It starts with you.
Your attitude towards the process will dictate your success more than you might realize. Stay focused, stay productive, and most of all, stay positive.
Job-Hunt's Working with Recruiters Expert Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom. Jeff is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. Learn more about him through his company site alistsolutions.com. Follow Jeff on LinkedIn and on Twitter (@JLipschultz).