Sometimes a rejection letter is just another opportunity to make a new connection. These three tips can help keep the dialogue open for a possible second chance at finding your dream job.
Anyone who’s done any kind of job searching knows that rejection is not just part of the process, it comprises the vast majority of the process. The rate of hiring workers nationwide is supposed to increase in 2015 — about 60 percent of companies say they plan to hire more people next year — but most applicants will still see dozens of rejection letters before they get their first offer.
To survive such tough odds, job seekers must learn to handle rejection in its various forms, and to eventually embrace it as just another step in their journey. I remember a college friend of mine who studied computer science back in the 1980s who had applied to hundreds of jobs in the growing Silicon Valley area and used to cover the walls of his dorm room with countless rejections letters that looked like wallpaper by the time he graduated. Later, he made millions in the ’90s software boom, but he knew the search for the right job would take time, so he decided to have some fun with it.
Here are a few ways to turn what seems like a dead end into a new opportunity.
Send a thank-you note. This may seem counterintuitive, but it can make sure the door that has just closed is not necessarily locked. Be sure to thank the hiring manager for his or her time and mention that you would still be interested in another position, should one appear. On several occasions, I have seen positions that had seemingly been filled suddenly reopen when the hire decided the position was the wrong fit. Often, in such cases, the hiring manager will automatically look to the runners-up — those who took the time to be courteous tend to float back to the top.
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Ask for feedback on your interview. Hiring managers are often quite busy, so they may not get back to you after your thank-you letter, but see if you can keep the dialogue going. Perhaps the interviewer might give you a few tips about why you were not chosen so you can use that to improve your performance next time. It could also be a foot in the door to future openings at the company.
Invite them into your network. Just because they didn’t hire you doesn’t mean they can’t help your career. Most wouldn’t mind if you connect with them via LinkedIn groups or become a follower of their Twitter feed. Whatever you can do to keep the lines of communication open will likely keep your name fresh in their minds. Plus, it gives you ample opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge via online discussion boards and suggest ways they can improve their business.