You Didn’t Get The Job: What To Do Next

As a young professional and/or recent college grad, you may find yourself in a slew of interview after interview, with little to no results. It can be unsatisfying, frustrating, and mostly, discouraging.

BUT, says the recent college grad, don’t fret. There are steps you can take after you don’t land the job that can better serve you and your interview experiences in the future — and eventually, land you that dream job.

When you don’t get the job, take time to follow the steps below, and then take yourself out for a margarita, because, well damn, you deserve it!

The College Grad’s Guide (to not FREAKING OUT) When You Don’t Get The Job:

  1. Thank them for their time and consideration.
    Landing an interview alone is a pretty big deal, especially if you’re a recent college grad or young professional. Be considerate of the time the interviewer(s) took to spend with you, asking you questions and learning about who you are, even if it didn’t work out for you in the end. An employer will appreciate a quick thank you.
  2. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and to please keep you in mind.
    While you’re writing your thank you, be sure to include that it was a pleasure meeting them, and that if they have any openings in the near future, to please keep your name and resume in mind. It happens all the time – You don’t get the job you wanted but in three months you’re getting a call for another position within the same company. You’re not always denied because you weren’t capable, you just might not have been capable for THAT specific job. Remind the employer to keep you in mind – you never know what might come out of it.
  3. Take what they said about why you didn’t get the job into consideration.
    And if they didn’t tell you, it’s OK to ask (in addition to that ‘thank you’ you’re sending). You might not always get a response, but most of the time you will. After thanking them, ask them if they could send you a quick list of some of the reasons they felt that you were not applicable for the position – or things you could work on for next time. Take everything they say into consideration, even if you do not agree. You might not have realized you were doing something in the interview that they did; and that’s something you’ll want to know for the future.
  4. After taking what they said into consideration, make note of what you can do better next time.
    Sit down and say, OK, this is what they didn’t like, and this is what I can do to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Whether it was being late or being unprepared for certain questions, there’s always going to be ways to improve — and it’s better to know them ahead of time.
  5. Review/Write down and review the questions you were asked.
    Try to make a mental note during the interview of the questions they’re asking – especially if you’ve never heard them before. Come home, and write them down. Try to remember what your answers were, and think about how you can elaborate on them more next time around. Chances are, you’re going to hear them again in another interview or two, so once you’ve prepared, you’ll ace it every time! This is truly a benefit of going on interviews and not landing the job: experience!
  6. Talk about the interview with a mentor/professor/parent.
    Sit down with someone you respect professionally and describe the interview to them; the setting, the questions/answers, the atmosphere, the vibe. They may be able to pick up on something that you didn’t. It’s easier to be an outsider looking in to identify the rough spots. Sometimes an interviewer is a ‘dud’ – making it hard for you to answer questions or feel that you are able to answer appropriately, or maybe you were in a bright-lit room and it was hard for you to concentrate on the interview. Ask them their opinions and what they think could be done if you’re ever in a similar situation again.
  7. Don’t yell about the company (or interview/er) online/social media.
    Recently a soon-to-be-college-grad blasted a company’s name all over social media when she didn’t get the job; claiming that it was because of the way she was dressed. Under no circumstances should you ever post about a company online, whether you include their name or not. Everything you post is public, even if you don’t think anyone but your friends can see it. Even if the company you’re talking about doesn’t see the post, that doesn’t mean another company considering you for a position won’t either. They won’t see you as a loyal or respectable candidate, and you could blow your chances even before you land another interview.
  8. Take it as an experience and move on.
    Be grateful for all of the interviews you go on. Each one will help you to realize what kinds of jobs you do and do not want to take, how many various questions can be asked and what you can work on for next time. They also have the ability to make you realize that an interview can go on for five minutes, or two hours, and ways to interact with different types of employers. Every interview you go on is beneficial to your career in the long run. So even if you didn’t get the job, nothing about an interview should ever be considered a failure.
  9. Don’t dwell.
    It’s easy to become distraught, especially when it seems like you may never find that perfect job. Don’t dwell on interviews and think about all that went wrong – think about all that could come from it. You’re becoming better and better and more and more prepared with each and every interview, so never overthink or regret something you said in one interview for too long. Pick yourself up and move on to the next one.
  10. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
    Here’s the important thing to remember: You’re still learning. And any interviewer who reads over your resume and invites you in for a meeting knows that. They don’t expect you to blow it out of the water – and even when you do rock it, that doesn’t mean you got the job; and that can be frustrating. Don’t forget that you’re not any less of a person or professional because you didn’t get this one job.

Cheers to you 🙂

 

-C

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Contact The College Grad:
Email – cswetsky@gmail.com
Twitter – @caraswetsky

The College Grad Guide to Looking the Part: “Bro” Addition

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

We have it instilled in us from the time we go off to pre-school, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Unfortunately, in the real world, an interviewer, recruiter, and employer can judge your look as soon as you walk through the door.

It’s probably easier for girls than guys to make the transition into what’s appropriate and what’s not. Besides, we’ve only been reading fashion magazines since the time we were 12. We pay attention to what our moms, older sisters, and quite frankly, every woman we pass on the street is wearing and how they’re acting. What looks good and what doesn’t: We’ve got it down. We’re pros.

But for most guys, the switch from “college bro” to “meeting with the CEO” can be tough. Your clothes, your shoes, your hair: It all says a lot about the type of person you are. More importantly, the kind of employee you will be. If you dress sloppy, you’ll be categorized as someone who is a sloppy worker. It may not always seem fair, but it’s time to make necessary changes.

If you’re a recent college grad “bro”, or if you’ll be one soon, follow these tips to looking the part while still maintaining your manliness and personality in the process:

The College Grad’s Guide: “Bro” Addition:

1. Keep your hair trimmed and clean cut. It’s not to say that you have to totally conform to one hair style or another, but try to make it to the barber every few weeks or so. At the very least, run a comb through it in the morning, wouldya?

2. Think about the way you speak. Do you use words like “man”, “dude”, and “killa”? It’s time to listen to yourself in everyday conversations. The way you speak with your roommates and friends will greatly affect the way you speak to co-workers. Amp up your speech by cutting out inappropriate words and start thinking about the way you sound to others.

3. You become most like the people you surround yourself by – choose wisely. The people in your life greatly affect the person you will become. It’s time to cut ties with the people who are only interested in drinking from morning to night regardless of what they have to accomplish the next day. And, unfortunately, these might be some of your best friends. Making this change doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to your bros forever. Just take a step back and think about how much their influence has on you – good and bad.

4. Create friendships with people older than you. Chances are, you’re one of the youngest people in your office. This is a blessing, not a curse. Grab lunch or after-work drinks with some of your older co-workers. Associating yourself with those who are higher up and have more experience can only further your own self – professionally and personally.

5. Go shopping. Even if you have to “drag” your girlfriend, mom, sister, or best girl friend with you. Tell them it’s a day at the mall for you and that they are there to help you with your wardrobe. This won’t take much convincing so set a date and prepare your wallet because it’s time to shop for quality clothes, shoes, ties, etc. — Look good, feel good.

And guys, remember the best college grad guide rule of all:
Work hard – play hard 😉 

– C

To My College Professors

When you’re in college, professors may seem like constant enemies who all get together in a secret cult and plan to assign all major work one the same day.

But, in reality, and once you graduate, it’s easier to see that our college professors were more like saints who put up with us, who pushed us, who wanted us to succeed.

Five classes per eight semesters equals out to about 35 professors throughout one’s college career (banking on the fact that you probably had the same professor more than once).

I loved my professors, even when I hated them. They always had something to teach me. And more importantly, they put up with me – with all of us. My favorite aspect about my college professors was the fact that no two were ever the same. Each one brought something different to the table and varied when it came to the experience that came with them.

To my college professors:

The one who undoubtedly fought with me over every topic, whether or not I was correct. You taught me to raise my voice, to stand by my opinions, and to never let go of an idea that I truly believed in. You also taught me it was  OK to be wrong, and to find new paths in my mistakes.

The one who pushed me; beyond what I thought were my limits. When I didn’t think I was good enough, or when I thought I couldn’t do something, you showed me that no idea was ever too small. That if I wanted something, I could reach it no matter how far it seemed.

The one who believed in me. Who made me find passion beyond the books. Who made me eager to learn because you were eager to teach. Who made sure I was involved in things I would have missed out on because I wasn’t looking that way.

The one who really, really disliked me, and constantly let me know it. You showed me the true ability of proving someone wrong because I knew I could. You taught me how to push myself through tears and bad grades and the feeling of giving up. You made me realize what I did and didn’t want in a major. Even though you were never in my corner, you made me a better student, even if it wasn’t your intention.

The one who broadened my horizons. Who opened new doors. The one who made me realize that first impressions are not always correct. That I could enjoy a topic I thought I cared nothing about. The one who brought a classroom to life.

The one who became much more than a professor, but rather a mentor, and more importantly, a friend. The one I could show up to your office 10 minutes before your next class started because I needed to rant about school, or my stress level, or how the cafe had run out of espresso that morning and I didn’t think I would make it. Even through the semesters I wasn’t taking a class with you – you listened, you understood, and trust me when I say you made all the difference.

And all of the ones in between. You made a difference for me over those four years. Whether it was making my life easier when you could or making my tolerance to coffee stronger, who are the reason I am where I am today, because you made me believe I could – in one way or another.

To my college professors, thank you.

The Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn (vs. Facebook: What’s the Difference?)

A good friend and fellow blogger came to me one day with inspiration: “I have the perfect blog idea for you… What you should and shouldn’t do on LinkedIn!” (You can check out her blog here)

I loved the idea from the moment she said it, and I knew I had to do something about all the college students and grads buzzing around asking if LinkedIn was really even necessary.

While I was trying to figure out what kind of post to write regarding LinkedIn, another good friend mentioned that he uses LinkedIn everyday for recruiting, and that people need to learn the difference between LinkedIn and Facebook – Lightbulb!

So, college students and grads, here it is. The difference between LI and FB.

First, let me start by saying that, yes, if you plan to do anything with your life, in any field, you should have a LinkedIn. Networking is the most important part of the real world, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a CEO, or a volunteer for a non-profit — LinkedIn is key.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn, you’ve probably heard others explain that, “LinkedIn is just like Facebook, but professional.” And you’ve probably wondered, what the hell does that mean?

While it’s true that LI and FB are similar social networking sites, there’s a big difference about what you should and should not be posting. Here are a few key elements that will take your LinkedIn from sloppy to successful:

Your Picture.
To start, make sure you do have a picture set to your profile. Whoever is looking at your profile might not necessarily know you personally, but they are looking at your LI for a reason – and they want to be able to put a face to the name. Your picture should be of you and only you. You should also be dressed professionally. I cannot even describe the types of pictures I’ve seen – guys in tees and basketball shorts, bathroom mirror selfies, and even girls in their bikinis on the beach. I wish I was making this stuff up. Sure, you can connect with friends/fellow classmates on LinkedIn, but for the most part, you’re going to have professional networks, recruiters, and possible employers/interviewers checking out your LinkedIn. To be taken seriously, you have to look the part.

Your Posts.
While there’s always a debate about what you should and should not be posting to the LI newsfeed, my advice is to just keep it simple and again, professional. Recently read a good article that wasn’t posted on TMZ or Buzzfeed? Awesome, give it a share to your LI! Others will love to see that you’re keeping up-to-date with relevant topics, and that they can even start a discussion with you about it. Find an inspiring or encouraging quote? Go ahead and post, everyone likes a little uplift in their work day. Do not post a status update about your dog, your crappy morning that lead to you being late, or your weekend at the bar with friends. Save that stuff for FB.

Your Professional Headline.
If you’re still in college, it’s okay for your headline to read, “Full-time student at COLLEGE NAME HERE” or “Receiving BA in MAJOR HERE at COLLEGE NAME HERE”. But, if you’re a college grad searching for that first job or if you’re currently in between jobs, your tagline should read “Freelance…. something”. After graduation and before my first job, my headline read, “Freelance writing and event planning”. Whatever your field/industry, turn it into something you could do without having a solid job – and try to keep it along the same lines as the types of jobs you’re applying for.

Your Experience (aka your past and present jobs).
You should be listing any jobs that are relevant to your career. This means internships, too. I tend to refrain from posting my eight years of waitress/bartending experience – but I’ve also heard employers say that they don’t mind seeing it – so that’s up to you. However, that burger joint you worked at in high school or that ice cream bar you so diligently served soft serve from, can probably be kept off the list. Unless you were a manager at one of these places, it’s better to keep your irrelevant jobs in the past.

Your Summary.
I’ve seen the most boring summaries before, where people just list their names and degrees or careers. Eh, that’s what the rest of your LI page is for. This is the space to be creative, show your stuff! Use quotes, exemplify what kind of person you are and why connections should keep scrolling down your page. Be unique! Here is a perfect example of one of my own LinkedIn connections’ summary:

“I like green eggs and ham! I like them Sam I Am!” -Dr. Seuss

Did you know the entire book of Green Eggs and Ham is about trying new things? The moral is to try new things; you might like them and find them successful. In marketing I have learned to try new tactics, because a lot of the time, they end in awesome results. If you have never tried creating a marketing message in a new way, try it! Use it once or twice and measure the response. Tweak it, hone it, improve upon it until its perfect: Try the green eggs and ham!

Yes, Dr. Suess may have some crazy rhymes and guys drawn in his books. However, if you look at the core of his thoughts and words, the man was brilliant. I think he can teach us some great lessons in regard to social media, marketing, and advertising.

She then continues to list her college education, her degree, her passion, and what sets her apart. You see that? Do that.

Grammar and Accuracy.

The same friend, mentioned in the intro, who uses LI for recruiting and headhunting, made a good point – your LI profile is basically a virtual resume. It’s important that your information be up-to-date, even if it’s as simple as a new organization you’ve joined, a new skill you’ve acquired, or a new responsibility in a position you’ve received. If it’s relevant to your professional world, it’s useful for your LI page. Also, make sure your spelling and grammar is on point! You don’t want to miss out on an amazing opportunity just because you weren’t careful in your word usage or spell check.

Utilize Your LinkedIn in Every Possible Way.
You should have at least 10 skills listed, if not more. Endorse others’ skills because 90% of the time, they’ll endorse you back. Write recommendations – not only are you helping fellow LinkedIn-ers, but you’re also showing your face on their page for others to see. List your organizations, write about your interests, and be sure to include a contact for others to reach you! Personally, I include “Find me on LinkedIn” at the top of my resume and at the bottom of my emails – this way professionals that I’m communicating with know that they can connect with me instantly, and more importantly, stay connected.

While business cards aren’t dead to the world yet, LinkedIn is sure to take over within the next couple of years. Every time I receive someone’s business card, I typically add them on LinkedIn right away, and then toss the card in the trash or in a cluttered desk drawer. I’m never going to go back and look through a pile of business cards to find a name and number; I’d much rather be able to put a face to the name, along with all their info, and have it all on one simple database. So, if you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet, do it now! And if you’re on LinkedIn and need to amp up your profile, get to work! LinkedIn is important and the sooner you’re connected, the sooner your can start creating relationships with those who may just help further your career!

Happy Networking,

C

Check out the author’s personal LinkedIn page here. If you have any questions, need help with your LinkedIn, or just want to share your own ideas, please email cswetsky@gmail.com.