What do I do next? Moving forward after a job knockback

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What do I do next? Moving forward after a job knockback

BY Skillset Marketing 31 May, 2021

It can be very disappointing to find out you didn’t win that job you really wanted. In spite of the bad news, the best course of action is to turn a negative into a positive by learning from your experience and using it to improve your chances for the next job opportunity.

Key tasks for moving forward after receiving a job knockback include:

  • Ask for feedback – Try to find out why you didn’t get the job from the employer/recruiter who was advertising the job you applied for. Perhaps you were shortlisted but lost out to a better candidate? Or maybe you performed poorly in the job interview? You’ll never know unless you ask.

During your feedback session, ask the employer/recruiter to describe the areas you could improve on, and to pinpoint what you did well in (so you can do these things again!) Also, use your contact with the employer/recruiter to ask what jobs might be coming up in the future. There is always the possibility the employer/recruiter knows about an upcoming job that matches your skills and experience.

Importantly, remember to keep the conversation polite and courteous when obtaining feedback from employers and recruiters about unsuccessful job applications. It is not a good idea to use your feedback session to air any grievances you might have about the job application process.

  • Review your job application documents – Now is the time to review the CV and covering letter used in your unsuccessful job submission. Questions to ask yourself include:
    • Is all the CV information up to date?
    • Are there any areas that need editing and rewriting?
    • Is there any extra information that should be included?

If you can, ask a friend or relative to read these documents and ask for some constructive feedback on how your CV and covering letter could be improved. Once you have completed a review, ensure you update your CV so it is ready and raring to go for the next time you apply for a job. To give yourself the best chance at a successful job outcome, you should constantly adjust your CV and covering letter so that your skills and experience are aligned to each job you apply for.

  • Assess your skills – Reflect on the skills you can provide to an employer. Is there something else you could offer? Do your skills need a refresh?

If you think the skills you have to offer could do with a boost, consider enrolling in a course or getting involved in some volunteering. Look for courses via TAFE NSW, universities and training businesses. If you would like to volunteer somewhere to add to your skills, get in touch with local organisations, such as charities and local councils, or consider contacting Volunteering Australia for more information about volunteering opportunities in your area or field of interest.

  • Seek out a mentor – A mentor can be a valuable resource when applying for jobs and throughout your career. Mentors can provide you with important feedback about your skills and experience, as well as providing a springboard for ideas about your career and where it is heading. People who are mentors are generally well-established and experienced in a particular industry and as a result, are in a strong position to provide information about job opportunities.

If you have a mentor, make a time to meet with them to review your job knockback. Get their ideas on areas you could improve on and where you should focus your efforts in preparation for the next job you apply for.

If you don’t have a mentor, maybe now is the right time to find one. The great news is that mentors can be found almost anywhere. They might be a person that you work with, or alternatively, you might play sport with them or share a hobby. However, never ask a stranger to be your mentor. Ideally, there should always be some kind of existing relationship between a mentor and a mentee (the person who receives mentoring). When you find a mentor, make sure you communicate what you are interested in achieving through the relationship and how often you would like to have contact.


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