A good friend called me today. Moments earlier a recruiter had informed her she wouldn’t be advancing in the process for a job she thought she had a good shot of landing. She’d interviewed well in the first round, was a point-by-point match in terms of experience and had connections to key employees in executive management roles. One of the Vice Presidents who interviewed her even hinted he looked forward to meeting her again as a finalist.

The rejection was unexpected and shocking. It’s hard enough to get news like this in situations when you’re going in cold and missing some of the requirements. Hearing “no thanks” when so much seems to be in your favor is awful. It’s one of those experiences that could easily drain the momentum from a job search and inspire emotions that make you more inclined to assume the fetal position than kick out another resume.

It’s possible my friend assumed the fetal position for a minute or two. She didn’t say and I didn’t ask. Sometimes you need a moment of grief to move forward.

What I do know is, whatever hurt and doubts she felt, she didn’t surrender her job search to them for long. She picked up the phone and called me. She didn’t mince words. “I got a rejection today that’s really thrown me and I need you to build me back up.” My assignment was clear and I took it seriously. We talked for a while and both came to the realization there were still things that could be done with this situation. We also moved on to talk about another opportunity she’s been preparing for.

By the time we got off the phone, my friend was in a better place. The sting was still there. Of course it was. The opportunity meant something to her. The rejection was no longer in danger of derailing her search, however. She reached out to someone who she trusted could insert objectivity back into her thoughts.

Everyone who is trying to navigate a search in this economic climate needs to do two things. One, identify that go-to person to call when the going gets rough. Two, make the call! Knowing who you should call does little good if failures and setbacks are internalized. Pick up the phone and tell the person you’ve designated as your “kick me out of this slump” wing man the truth.


Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.


1 comment

  1. Pat 3 February, 2014 at 10:12

    A listening ear can really help, along with having interview experts to do mock interviews to help for the “next time.” You’re a great friend.

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