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 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.

The College Grad’s Guide to Moving Back Home

I recently asked readers for inspiration on a topic that they would want to read about as a college student/grad. One response was, “ways to accept living with your parents after college.”

If you’re a college grad, you’ve probably already adapted to sweatpants, netflix, and endless nagging of the ‘rents. The most important thing to remember during this, what seems like hell, time of your life is that you are not alone.

45% of recent college graduates live at home following graduation.

That’s almost half of all college graduates! You’re extremely lucky these days to have a job ready and waiting, as well as having the money to up and leave. And ‘lucky’ might not even be the best word to describe it. As a college grad who has been sitting on her couch for the last two months, living off of graduation gift money and home-cooked meals, finally receiving a job and signing a lease for my own apartment is all of a sudden not looking all that glamourous – who knew independence would cost so much!

There are ways to survive this, hm, what should we call it? Depression seems a bit dramatic, but it’s sure a good description of what leaving the best four years of your life behind just to move back in with mom and dad feels like.

The college grad’s guide to moving back home:

1. Accept it.
Okay, so, as great as running away sounded when you were a kid, it kind of seems even better now, if that’s even possible. But, just like that time at age six when you packed your bag and set off on your bike, you’d probably only make it a couple of blocks before you realize going home to eat your vegetables might just be easier. The best, and first, thing you can do when moving back home, is embrace it. Look at the bright side: free groceries, free roof over your head, free cable/internet, free air conditioning, free laundry, free, free, and oh yeah, free. The four letter word that could make any heart skip a beat is one you’ll miss when you eventually move out. Not to mention, you also probably have someone doing your free laundry, cooking your free food, and making your free bed. Hm, I already made you realize living at home might not be so awful, huh?

2. Get a job.
Yeah, I know, you’re sitting at your computer sending out twenty copies of your resume a day and you’re busy re-writing your cover letter so it’s bullshitted just enough for that one job, right? Pick up a side job until you get the real job so that 1. you’re saving up for when it’s time to haul ass out of here and 2. you’re not constantly home all day listening to mom and dad. Waitressing, babysitting, work at a day-camp, bookstore, ice cream parlor, lifeguard, whatever! There are tons of jobs that, even if you feel much more qualified with that college degree, can make you money, keep you busy, and most importantly, keep you out of the house! Pajama pants and Netflix can only get you so far my friend, and even if applying to career jobs feels like a full time job in itself, sadly it’s not.

3. Spend time with your friends now, before it’s too late.
Seeing my friends was always one of my favorite parts of going home during the holidays, and just because you’ve officially moved home shouldn’t make it any less special. Soon enough, all of you will have nine to five jobs and will be too tired to even look at each other on the weekends. Spend time with your friends while you still can! Because soon enough you’ll have to schedule days off way in advance for a long weekend away with them!

4. Travel.
You don’t have to go crazy, here. Most people can’t afford a huge trip to another country after graduation (but if you can, go for it!!). But, it’s still nice to have the time to take a road trip with friends or family and see some new places in nearby states! There’s tons of neat places to see that you don’t even know about, so go and check them out while you still can.

5. Don’t dwell on the fact that you’re done school.
It’s easy to look around and feel like tons of people are starting school or will be moving back at the end of August. It’s also easy to start looking into grad school. Here’s the thing, if you don’t have to go back to school, you shouldn’t. It seems like a good idea because ‘you’re not ready to be done’ or ‘you don’t know what you’re going to do with your life’, but in reality, it’s a big waste of money – and time. College grads seem to think of it as an easy way out to put off being a real adult for at least a couple more years. Wait until you have a job that will pay for you to go back to school! Trust me, once midterms and finals roll back around for all your friends still in school, you’ll remember why you’re so thrilled that you never have to write a 25-page research paper again.

6. Look into applying for summer internships.
College graduates tend to look at internships as beneath them, but they can be a really great start! It’s hard to get a job right away, since every one seems like so much experience is needed! You need experience to get hired, but you need to get hired for experience? Ugh, it’s never-ending. But – if you look into internships, paid or unpaid, while living at home, they can be a doorway to a job! Most college graduates who stick out a summer internship end up working for that company. And again, it’s a great way to get out of the house while transitioning into the working world.

7. Remember that your parents are just as much not used to you being home as you are.
Try not to fight with your parents. I know, it’s easier said than done. Parents can be overbearing, nosey, and just plain annoying at times. This time in both of your lives is just as hard on them as you feel it is on you. Hell, those four years went by quicker for them than they did for you. And just because they missed you like crazy, doesn’t mean they didn’t enjoy the peace and quiet (If your mom is Italian like mine is, she’ll never admit it, but I know it’s true!). Here’s the thing, you are now deemed as an adult, whether you like it or not, and it truthfully means you should start acting like one, even if you are living back at home and mommy is putting your clothes away for you. The better you treat your parents, the better they will treat you, and the more likely they are to leave you alone! Just remember, one day you won’t be living at home anymore and even if you can’t wait, you will miss it and you will miss them, so enjoy it while it lasts.

8. Realize that you are not alone (excuse the repetition).
It seems really scary. And maybe two or three of your college or high school buddies have landed themselves jobs and maybe even already moved into their own places. Those two friends can feel like everyone and can make you feel more than discouraged. But if you look beyond those few, you realize most college grads are in your shoes, too. It’s a scary time, it’s a big change, and it feels like it may never end. Just remember that if you keep trying, eventually everything else will fall into place for you, too. This is not the end (even if it feels like it), it is just the beginning.

I promise you, if you could see what I owe for just my first month’s apartment rent (including security deposit, application fee, holding deposit, cable/internet, and utilities) on my entry-level paying job, you won’t be begging to leave home just yet either. After seeing what it costs, I would definitely live at home if I had landed a job that wasn’t out of state. Still, I also know what it feels like to want to hop on that bike and never look back. So, take the good with the bad, take the free meals with the twenty-one questions at the dinner table, and just breathe. Before you know it, this will just be another past time in your life and you won’t be able to believe how quickly it passed.

– C

What are some of your own tips to survive moving home after college? Comment below!

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