Earlier this year, an opportunity to advance my career presented itself. After careful consideration, I applied to to the vacancy announcement which included two positions. I was grateful to interview for both positions and humbled after not being selected for neither of the two positions. Yes, I was rejected twice.
Disappointed? Somewhat. There was always a little part of me that knew the odds were against me. First, I interviewed for the director position. The thought of being a Division Director was scary and I was very honest with myself and my mentors that I was not ready for that role. Additionally, I did not have direct experience with a specific technical skill the position required. My second interview was for the deputy director position. This is the role I was more serious about because it is naturally the next step in my career advancement. However, I was not invited to the second round of interviews.
Regardless of where you are in your career, you must know that it’s likely that rejection is part of the process of advancement. Being turned down for a role you really want is never fun, and it sure can tank your confidence. Here is how I maintained my confidence, avoided the pity party and remained focus on my path to career advancement.
- Activated Resiliency: I approached my rejections with a resilient mindset. Rather than being stuck in the rejection phase, I viewed my rejections as a setback and began focussing on the opportunities created from being selected for an interview. I achieved another level of visibility and the hiring mangers are on notice that I am seeking career advancement. I understand that success and rejection go hand-in-hand, and that I simply cannot advance if I do not take the steps to do so.
- Rejected the urge to Overanalyze: What could I have said differently? What was wrong with my follow-up email? I thought about it for about 30 minutes and quickly come to the realization that I cannot change the past. However, there are a few things I did. (1) solicited feedback from the interviewing managers on how I can improve for the future and (2) Used the insight to improve my qualification. I know that by incorporating this type of learning into my career advancement strategy, l’ll be able to continually position myself as a stronger candidate in the future.
- Let go of the need for a Guaranteed Outcome: Firstly, no matter how impressive my resume is or how well I interviewed, I did not have any control on the outcome. Coming to grips with this fact and learning to accept rejection as part of the process helped to build my mental and emotional armor. Plus, I know that by letting go of the need for a guaranteed outcome, I open myself up to a world of other possibilities—other opportunities that could be an even better fit.
- Bragging Rights: I never downplay my accomplishments. Therefore, feeling like a failure was never part of the equation. I reflected on my strengths and ability to succeed in the face of challenge by reading over the list of accomplishments and contributions on my resume and focusing on the duties I am currently responsible for. This brought great satisfaction, feelings of accomplishment and gratitude.
Remember, while a job rejection might seem like the end of the world, it’s really an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the job search process and improve for the future. Have you been down this road? What did you do?