It was a job you longed for at an organization you’d have loved to work for. You thought you had a good chance at landing it. You even told the interviewer, “I feel like this position description was written for me.” You didn’t get it. They choose someone else.
Do you mentally walk away? Of course, you have no other choice. Your new job is to look for a job that might excite you as much as the “one that got away” did. Except, what if you still long for the job you thought was “yours”? If that’s the case, even as you look for the next “right” job, keep yourself in the running for the one that got away.
Why it pays to stay in the running
Although the employer hired someone else, the person they hired might not work out as well as they’d hoped. Or, that person’s situation might change, and they might need to leave the job. If you’re still on the employer’s radar, they may call you in preference to re-advertising. you first.
Strategies that keep you in the running
The great letter
After you receive the news you didn’t land the job, write the interviewer a personal letter. In your letter, mention how much you appreciated the interviewer’s time and graciousness, and how impressed you were with the company. Add that you’d like to be kept in mind for future opportunities, because the company is one you truly want to work for.
LinkedIn offers you an avenue to stay connected with the interviewer and other key individuals in the company. Send a connection request to your interviewer, and once connected, view the interviewer’s connections to see if there are others you can logically connect with. When you send your connection request, mention that you are impressed with their company and thus want to connect. If the company has a Facebook page, and you’re able to friend it, do so.
Learn what led you to be an also-ran
If you’re an almost but not quite hire, the prospective employer may willingly tell you want the successful candidate had that you didn’t. Was it a better grasp of technology, more experience or better references? What didn’t you have that you need to learn, acquire or better present?
Build your skills
In addition to plugging the gaps that resulted in your being a second choice, what other job skills do you need to acquire to land the types of jobs you want? If your day job and family circumstances don’t allow you the freedom to take a regular class, could you acquire extra skills by enrolling in a university-extension program that you can complete at your speed? Was that great employer looking for someone who had a better community or social media network? Can you commit a half hour in the morning to developing your LinkedIn presence or join an organization such as Business and Professional Women, Rotary or the Chamber of Commerce?
You didn’t get the job – this time? Get in the running for round two.
© 2016, Lynne Curry, executive coach and author, Beating the Workplace Bully, 2015, AMACOM.