“Thank you for your interest. You have an impressive background; however, we have candidates in the queue who more closely match the requirements. I’ve kept your resume for possible future openings. Best of luck with your career.”
They made a huge mistake! I was perfect for the job. How could they reject me?
Things We Can’t Change
We cannot change the color of our skin, our age, or our ethnicity. If a hiring manager wants to hire his next door neighbor who lacks the required skills, we cannot control the decision. We must keep moving forward.
Our skills may be perfect for the job description, but the team needs a younger person, to replace “old Arnie” who wants to retire to Santa Fe next month. The hiring manager is aware the new grad has a learning curve while our 20 years of experience could be useful on the first day. But s/he wants a new grad.
While writing this article, my 13 pound guard dog began to bark. I’ve written about Fargo in the past. He takes rejection in stride. He barks incessantly when someone walks past the windows. He wants to protect his territory and family, just as we do. When we are rejected, we often become angry or dejected. Although I scold him, he may look ashamed momentarily, but he’ll do it again and again. He spends relatively no energy moping. But people are not dogs.
We may wail far too long when we are rejected. We may rant and rave, feeling angry, sad, or both. The sooner we realize we are in charge of the next steps, the sooner we succeed on the journey.
Things We Can Change
Listen to feedback, if available.
If we know someone in the company who can vouch for our integrity and work ethics, we’ll have a better chance of getting hired. We cannot change number of years of experience, but we can look for someone to be a mentor within the company.
We could offer to work for a target company on a contract basis. Many companies are turning to contract positions to check skills and work ethics before offering any full time employment.
The word “fit” makes me wince as it seems overused but accurate. Applying for a job flipping hamburgers won’t work, if we are looking for an executive or leadership role. If we are willing to take a “lesser” job, we’ll need to explain why and how we fit.
We can lose faith in ourselves with the discrimination we face. Through self-talk and the support of family and friends, we can continue to move forward. If someone says, “You don’t have the skills,” when you think you do, keep marching to find another project or job opening that you can fit.
Sometimes we must be realistic. If you realize you aren’t “good enough,” you must find ways to become better. Take a class, a webinar, or attend a conference. We are fortunate the job market is robust at the moment, but we need to prepare for what comes next and not blame others for their decisions.
No, we can’t change the color of our skin or our age, but through introspection, we can package ourselves with more passion and energy than ever. We don’t have to continue barking at strangers. How long do you want to feel ashamed? Get over the rejection and keep going!