5 reasons why it’s OK you didn’t land your dream job

You had all the experience and skills needed for the job, landing you that magical first interview.


The first round went so well, they invited you for a second interview. Then on to round three where they wanted to hear about some of your ideas. Next, it was on to the finals where it came down to you and another candidate. And then…crickets.

Until that awful email showed up in your inbox.

“It was a touch decision was, but we ultimately went another direction.”

Ugh. Double ugh. Your confidence and ego might be taking a major hit right now and there are probably lots of unanswered questions. The main one being — ‘why didn’t they choose me?’ There are a million scenarios we could run in our heads. Most of the time if you’re in the finals you’re a damn good candidate and the factors of why you didn’t get the job come down reasons out of your control. Write a gracious thank you note and don’t lose faith in yourself just yet. The job search process is full of twists and turns.

As corny as it sounds there’s a silver lining to all this. Here are five good reasons why not getting that job might have been one of the best things that could happen.

  1. Now know what you want — BADLY
    This might seem ironic but it’s true. One of the hardest parts of a job search is identifying a role that meets most criteria on your dream job check list. This is not easy! If you had your heart set on a job, that’s telling you you a lot about what you want, or at least thought you wanted in a position. Reflect on what you really liked about the job and take just as much time to think about those things that were potential downsides. Things like job title, locations, work culture, duties, benefits or challenges are all important pieces of information you learned during the interview process. Use that information to lead you to your next application.
  2. You have an idea of what works
    So many times we apply for jobs and hear nothing at all. Not even an automated, “Thanks for applying”. Good news is you not only got a response but you moved far along into the process — which means you are doing something right. Your resume, cover letter and interviews all performed well, getting you a well deserved call back. Use that bit of success as motivation for applying to your next role knowing you are on to something good in your job search formula. That’s something to celebrate and recreate!
  3. Interview experience is golden
    It’s true. There’s no substitute for the real thing. Like play time in sports, the more you put yourself out there and interview the better you will get at it. Consider this last round of interviews precious experience you can take with you on your next interview. How was your “tell us about yourself” pitch? What questions did they ask? How did you answer the tough ones? Did you do nail each question or wish you would have said something different? Was there anything you wish they would have asked you? Or something you wish you could have said? Think critically about this process and start to create an even better strategy on presenting your experiences.
  4. You’re well on your way to the real deal
    It may take weeks, months or even longer but rest assured you are on the right path leading you to your next move. The latest interview is one piece of a puzzle and will undoubtedly lead you to where you are meant to be. It’s hard to see it right now, but one year, three years, or even five years down the road you will see how this experience helped lead you to your next position.
  5. Sometimes “no” is just the motivation we need
    The job search process is not for the faint of heart. It’s tough on you mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically, due to lack of sleep and stress. Hang in there! If you need proof that failure is part of success check out these strong souls who stayed true to themselves despite epic failures. This is the time to muster up courage, take stock on what you learned and get your second (third, fourth, fifth, etc) wind. Take a few days off from the job search to recharge by visiting with a friend, working out or just doing something fun. Right now you need perspective to turn this negative outcome into something good. When it comes down to it, one more “no” brings you closer to a “yes”, but you won’t get there is you stop now. So keep going!

Teresa is a veteran job hunter and relentless pursuer of work that makes her heart sing. Want more career motivation? Follow @tsruiz1 on Twitter for careers, personal finance and information on anything that impacts your wallet.