Saturday, July 7, 2012

Job Seeker Olympics

In 1996, Philip Knight, founder of Nike, rewrote the rule of marketing with the ad campaign that featured the slogan, “You don’t win silver; you lose gold.”  While it is true that Nike had become a symbol for bad sportsmanship almost overnight, Knight, believed the ads were an honest reflection of the competitive nature of athletes.  As a job seeker, you have a lot in common with Olympic athletes.

Winning the silver and losing the gold is difficult when you have been training for your next career opportunity.  Second place can make you feel sad, unworthy, frustrated, defeated and feeling badly that there is one more person out there who doesn’t really like you or want you.  Everyone hates rejection.  And, when you have been rejected in a hard copy black and white form letter via snail mail, or, more expediently, via e-mail, it still stings.

After receiving a rejection letter, the natural tendency is to stay away from the company, the people associated with that company and perhaps even that type of job.  Rejection letters have the power to change your behaviour and, not necessarily, in a manner that serves you well.

What does a rejection letter really mean?

  1. You made it through the screening process
  2. You are well qualified for the position
  3. You are doing a lot of things right when it comes to your job search

A rejection letter also means that the following:
·        The hiring manager for the company thought well enough of you to spend some time and effort trying to get to know you better
·        The hiring manager felt that another candidate was a ‘better fit’ for the organization
·        The hiring manager left more aligned with another candidate
·        The company is well run - If they think well enough of their candidates to do this level of follow up, you should want to keep them on your radar
·        The company has changed their mind about filling the position - They have decided to have the position absorbed [cut up residrtibuted to employees already working within the organization] or they have decided to postpone filling the position due to budgetary reasons

A rejection letter does not mean the following:
·        That you were a poor candidate
·        That the door for future opportunities is closed - In fact, they now know more about you and are likely to consider you for other opportunities within the company for which you are suited, as it will save them the time and effort related to advertising for this ‘new’ opportunity.  N.B.  You are now closer to being a company ‘insider’.

Now what?
  • Send a note of thanks to the hiring manager for their time and consideration
  • If you loved the position, hiring manager, and company then keep working at getting hired for a position or another position within the company - Think of, ‘The thin edge of the wedge’ strategy.
  • You now have a list of “insider” contacts that you can use to your advantage
  • After you let the dust settle, circle back around with your contacts and let them know you want to be considered for other positions now or in the future - Showing some spunk and confidence is both alluring and memorable.
Closing thoughts:
  • Keep your perspective about what receiving a rejection letter really means
  • Accept the fact that you are going to feel rejected for a while
  • Do something to indulge yourself today
  • Keep doing all the right things that got you this far
You ARE Awesome!

Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved. Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino. “Career Matters” is a blog authored by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career that is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. This blog is also dedicated to those who stand a little taller each time they picked themselves up after failing and those who gained the wisdom and humility from those experiences to help others do the same. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at