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Planning a better future
Planning a better future

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9 What to do if you are not successful

If you are not getting selected for interviews, you can take various steps to improve your chances:

  • Review your CV or application form. Were they tailored to the specific job? Do they promote you in the best way?
  • Ask others to give you feedback on your applications. Talk to a careers adviser or friends/colleagues.
  • Think about whether you are applying for appropriate vacancies. Do you have the skills and experience they are asking for?
  • Look at your job-hunting strategy. Are you only applying speculatively? Do you need to think about which sectors or employers you are applying to?

If you are getting interviews but are not getting any further, you should do the following:

  • Ask for feedback from the employer to find out where you fell short on this occasion. This should provide invaluable advice to help you succeed next time.
  • Review your interview technique. Did you do enough research beforehand? Were you prepared for the questions? Ask yourself what you could have done better.
  • Talk to a careers adviser who can help you with your preparation.

Handling rejection

If you have done all of the above, having asked for feedback to make sure that you have interviewed well, the next thing to remember, if you are rejected, is to try not to take it personally. It is not a criticism of you; it is simply that in this instance you have been unsuccessful. It doesn’t mean that they thought you couldn’t do the job.

That may mean that someone with more relevant experience has got the job, or that there was a strongly favoured internal candidate. If you were invited to interview it means that, on paper, the recruiters believed you could do the job. Interviewing is expensive, so employers won’t waste time interviewing someone they feel is not qualified for the role in question.

It can help to make notes as soon as you come out of an interview. You could make a list of what did and didn’t go well, and suggestions of how you might improve. Once you relax after an interview, you may not remember as much detail. You can also compare your notes to any feedback you get by asking, ‘How could I strengthen any future application?’ Try to treat the whole experience as something you can learn from.

Remember, it took J.K. Rowling a year to find a publisher for her first Harry Potter book and some of the publishing houses made what was, with hindsight, an enormous mistake. It is important to try to stay positive and focused, and persevere with your job search.

You've now completed Section 9 – well done! We hope that you have found your study useful and are motivated to carry on with the course. Remember, if you pass the quiz at the end of each block you will be able to download a badge as evidence of your learning. If you collect the full set of badges, you can download a statement of participation that recognises your completion of the whole course.