Getting rejected for a job hurts. Just like striking out in a baseball game or never getting a phone call back after a great date. Even if no one knows you’ve been rejected, it can feel like a first degree burn that doesn’t blister but still feels painful. It’s hard to forget that it’s there.
There are many schools of thought on how to handle a rejection from a job. Some career counselors say to turn your disappointment into fuel — and apply for a job with a competitor of the organization that turned you down. Others say to keep moving, and immediately apply for other jobs in different companies.
I recommend a different strategy: Follow up with the organization that turned you down before you move on.
This may sound counter-intuitive but here are three reasons how it can help your career:
1. If you ask for feedback and receive a response, it can help you move on.
Not getting an offer isn’t fun, but knowing why you did not get the job can be helpful.
Even if you are perfectly qualified for the job on paper, there could be a number of reasons why you didn’t get the offer.
- Perhaps the company has a company initiative to hire current employees in order to minimize hiring cuts in another department so they hired a current employee into the job.
- Perhaps the job description changed — after the interview.
- Perhaps they company really liked you but thought you’d be a better fit — in a different job.
2. Following up can help employers better understand you.
Let’s say you interviewed for a job for which you were over-qualified.
Many employers reject candidates on this very basis alone, “She’d be bored stiff. Why would she want this job?”
Responding to a rejection note and saying “I’m disappointed, particularly as this job would have enabled me to learn _______” can counteract this assumption. Note: I’ve actually seen this approach turn one job seeker’s rejection into a job offer within 48 hours!
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