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’?

Thank You For Your Time

You’ve got a great resume, they called you to do a phone screen, and now you’ve left the interview with a good feeling. The next step is very important: you thank them for their time.

Remember when grandma or mom used to make you write thank you letters after your birthday or maybe a holiday to let people know you were thankful for your presents? Yeah, let’s continue that trend into adulthood as well. Writing a sincere thank you note (or email, depending on the job or industry that you may be in) can make or break the hiring manager’s decision to bring you on (take it from me– i know from personal experience).

The card doesn’t have to be anything extravagant nor will this cost you much (if anything). You can easily run to your local super store and check the greeting card section for a blank box of thank you cards. You can be generic and just buy the ones that literally say “thank you” on it or you can get something a little bit fancier, maybe if your initial on it. Either way, keep is simple and appropriate. Refrain from too much color or movement going on the front. You will also need to get some stamps (and some bank’s ATMs have that option, so easy peasy! Don’t even need to go the post office).

Next, I recommend typing out what you will say in a word processing software to make sure that everything will be spelled correctly. It would be very embarrassing for you if you misspelled something when you were trying to show how clever and mature you are. The general guideline of what to write should follow:

  • Thank them for having you there
  • Mention the position you applied for
  • Talk about one bullet point of what the position would entail
  • Discuss how you can fix/help/enhance the opportunity or gap that may have been mentioned during the interview AND/OR how the department/organization could benefit form your unique skills

Keep the note to 50 words or less (including your opening and your closing lines). Make sure your handwriting is legible. And then postmark it no later than the following day after the interview (but day of would be even better!).

There may be jobs or industries that you apply to that most everything is done electronically and a hand written thank you is just crazy (think IT positions). However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send some sort of thank you. After the end of the interview, be sure you get a business card and email the individual(s) a thank you note instead. I still strongly urge those who don’t work in that type of environment to still send the hand written over the electronic version as it will make you stand out from the rest.

Have you ever written a thank you note after an interview and receive a job offer afterwards?