Depressed Looking Man Sitting on a Transparent Plastic Chair, with a Laptop on the Floor Resources

The job-search process comes with many types of heartbreak, few more painful than being turned down for a position you really wanted. It can be a demoralizing experience, but according to career expert Liz Ryan, it need not be the end of the road.

In a terrific Forbes post titled “Five Steps To Take When You Don’t Get The Job,” Ryan shares tips for how to handle the disappointment of getting passed up. As she says, you shouldn’t look back at the interview as a waste of time. You made some new contacts, and if you’re truly interested in working for the company, you should try cultivating those relationships.

The first step, she says, is to send a handwritten thank-you to each person you interviewed with. Who knows — the person they opted for instead of you might decide to leave, or the company might keep on expanding. If they liked you, they might cycle back and hire you later on.

Next up, you should email each of those people you wrote to and congratulate them on making a hire. At this stage, you’ll also want to ask whether it’s OK to connect with them on LinkedIn. If they reply and say yes, get the ball rolling and send the invitation.

Steps No. 3 and 4 go together — you’ll want to follow the organization on its social accounts and make a note to check back and see what the company is up to in three or six months.

Finally, Ryan says, you should grab your journal and make some notes about the interview. Memories fade quickly, and if you wind up interviewing with this company again, wouldn’t it be nice to go in with some idea of what to expect? As Ryan says, it’s not so farfetched to think you’ll cross paths with these folks again.

“You are very likely to hear from some of the folks you meet on your job search at some point in the future,” she writes. “Don’t consider a missed job opportunity a failure, because it isn’t a failure at all.”


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