Finding Opportunities in Rejection

Rejection is hard. It’s hard when you studied really hard and ended up getting a bad grade. It’s hard when you finally got the courage to ask out that cute girl in English and she tells you she has a boyfriend. And it’s hard when the guy you’ve been talking to tells you he wants to be friends. But what’s even harder is after all of the blood, sweat, and tears that you put in to getting your degree and you’re getting the “thanks, but no thanks” generic email.

That’s your opportunity to reevaluate what’s going wrong.

  1. Are you getting calls for phone interviews?
    • If you answered yes– congratulations, your resume is working for you
    • If you answered no– time to edit and polish the resume
  2. Are you getting call backs for an interview?
    • If you answered yes– congratulations, your past experience demonstrates you have the skills and behaviors that the organization is looking for
    • If you answered no– time to reevaluate how you’re answering those questions and if there’s a way you can tie your experiences in with what they’re looking for
      • HINT: If/when you do have those phone screens, try to remember to write down the questions they ask. One, it will give you a chance to think through the question. Two, you’ll have a list of questions to work on for future opportunities. Most phone screens will have the same variation of questions.
  3. Are you getting the job?
    • If you answered yes– WOOHOO! You are a superstar.
    • If you answered no– it’s time to polish up your interviewing skills.
      • HINT: Look the part, sounds the part, and know the part. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Make sure you’re not being informal and thinking through each question they ask you. Make sure you have done your research on the company, the job, and of course possible interview questions.

Last, but not least, you can always reach out to the recruiter or the hiring manager for feedback, but remember that 99% of the time you may not hear anything back at all. It’s not their priority nor do they want to open up a liability. But, on occasion, you may hear something back that is useful. Either way, it can’t hurt to ask.

What have some of your past experiences taught you about how to ‘get the job’?

Tell me a little about yourself…

There you are, sitting in the chair, about to begin your interview. You’ve studied up on the company, you’ve recognized your skills and have examples to back it up, but then they hit up with the hard one straight off the bat: “So, tell me a little about yourself.”

Sweat glistens down your neck. Your heart races. Your palms are sweaty. There’s a frog in your throat.

Wait… that’s not how it goes because you’ve prepared yourself. You have a great elevator speech already lined up to tell future employers who you are.

An elevator speech is a brief message talking about who you are, what you’re looking for, and how you can benefit the company with the skills you bring to the table. It has to be no longer than 30 seconds long, the time it takes to get to the top of a building in an elevator. It’s that speech that you can use at any time with anyone, even if it’s in an elevator. Get comfortable with your speech and rehearse it over and over until it feels natural to you.

Focus on these 4 points when creating your speech:

  1. Who are you?
    • Tell who you are and what you (or your company) does
    • Tell what you do (or want to do)
  2. What do you offer?
    • What problems have you solved or contributions have you made?
    • Tell why your listener should be interested in you
    • Use examples if/when you can
  3. What are the benefits?
    • What special service, skill, product, or solution do you offer your listener?
    • What are the advantages of working with you? Of hiring you? How do you differ from the competition?
  4. How do you do it?
    • Tell a story or talk about an example showing how you are unique

Make sure your speech flows naturally and all of the sentences tie in together. Avoid any specific jargon and answer the WIIFM for your audience: What’s In It For Me?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were put on the spot to tell about yourself? When has having an elevator speech in your ‘back pocket’ come in handy?