One Practice to Help Grow a Career

Follow Up with the Job You Didn’t Get

Jesse Childs
Mar 12 · 3 min read
Photo by Hian Oliveira on Unsplash

You Can’t Win ’Em All

Starting out as a young professional in any field can be daunting. After countless applications, resume revisions and cover letters you finally land an interview at a job you honestly like. Things go well but for one reason or another, they go with someone else. It can feel like a gut-punch and make one want to move on and not look back. Please, don’t do it!

It may seem counter-intuitive but checking in with jobs you didn’t land but felt good about is a smart networking opportunity. I can speak from personal experience in the entertainment industry that the job I didn’t get led to other work because of good communication.

Timing is Everything

I wish I could claim this bit of wisdom as 100% my own. However, I was told this little gem of insight after an interview for an internship I didn’t get. If you connected with someone during the application process, don’t let it go to waste just because you didn’t get that job.

I followed up a few months after getting an internship at the same company (in a different department) and she remembered me. They brought me on later as a volunteer for a university program they were piloting before I moved on to another internship on the lot at Universal.

Out of the blue one day, I got an email that they needed a freelance content writer and I got word before anyone else. It came at a really helpful time and allowed me to work remotely. Had I made a fuss over sour grapes it never would have happened.

Sharpen Soft Skills

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Another time I found the dream job I had always wanted. I got past the first round but when the next interview came I didn’t get a callback. It was early in my career and I didn’t have the strongest portfolio.

In any event, I connected with the HR professional I interviewed with on the phone and she has continued to be a source of guidance and advice to this day. She has since launched her own coaching business and gave me some pointers on how to leverage social media properly when applying for a job. It pays to check in regularly, especially now that I have more work to show.

Humility Leads to Victory

From Giphy

A third example of this best practice at work helped me land another entertainment gig. Before I moved to Los Angeles, I interviewed for a production internship at a creative agency over the phone. Again, I was a great fit but just didn’t have enough production experience under my belt.

I connected with the HR person on LinkedIn and sort of forgot about my near miss when I got a really fun marketing internship at Legendary instead. Flashforward almost three years and I interviewed for a marketing position at a different agency and in the second round, I got a question about how I knew so-and-so on LinkedIn. I completely blanked until my interviewer mentioned the name of the agency and I had a light bulb moment.

I related how I narrowly missed a job in production but our mutual connection on LinkedIn remembered me and put in a good word- and I got the job. She had moved companies by then, but the fact that we shared someone in the same network of people could’ve never happened if I didn’t take the humble route after being passed over.

One Day It All Makes Sense

So I will tell you like someone wise once told me, if you have a good experience interviewing for a job that you don’t get, keep in touch with those people anyway. You’ll be surprised what doors they may help open in the future.

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