April 12, 2023

When You Don’t Get the Job

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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As a talented high achiever, there can be nothing more frustrating than finally applying for the job and hearing crickets. Or you have an interview but then you don’t get the job.

In this episode I am digging into how you react to the news (or lack of news) that tells you that you didn’t get the job.

We are talking about work value vs. personal value and how to think about rejection. This episode is about how you treat yourself when things don’t go your way.

What you’ll learn

  • What to do when you don’t get the job
  • The psychology and career strategy for rejection
  • An analogy that will help you separate your work identity from your self-worth

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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader, we are shattering the glass ceiling here. The one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of rule so you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up level begins now.

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. Today we’re going to talk about something that has been coming up with some of my clients lately, and that is what to do when you don’t get the job or how to think about it when you get that rejection notice. We’re also going to talk about the value that you have as an employee and the value that you have as a person. Now, you might hear that and think, Okay, yeah, I get it, Melissa. I get that I have value as a person. But listen, this is how you know that maybe, just maybe there is a deeper issue for you with this. If you apply for a job and you don’t get it, do you feel bad about yourself? Or do you think that maybe you did something wrong? Maybe you apply for a job and you want the recruiter or the company to reach out to you directly, or you might think that you aren’t as marketable or desirable as you think if they don’t. Maybe you’re someone who is always doing things for other people and you find yourself feeling valued by those contributions that you make for others.

Your value is measured in what you can do for other people. I know I was guilty of that for a number of years of my life. Maybe you have to be busy a lot or be doing something productive. Maybe you have a hard time letting other people do things for you that feels vulnerable to you. All of these are signs that you may have some conscious or subconscious beliefs about your value and that you might be tying your personal value to what you provide, what you give to others, whether it be in favors or chores, being the one who is always taking care of things, or in wanting that validation from work and taking it personally when you don’t get the validation that you want. And in the job search process, a lot of this can boil up to the surface. When you weren’t getting the bites that you want, that interest, when you get turned over for a job that you really want, you may start to feel down and wonder, Is it you? Why don’t they want you? So that is what we’re talking about today. And I want to offer some coaching and some insights that came from a few client sessions in the last few weeks.

So you’re really in for a treat. So these were issues that were real that happened with clients that have come up in the last few weeks. And the way that they talked about it wasn’t, I have a problem with my work versus personal value. They don’t speak in psychology, speak, no one I talk to really does other than me. We don’t think this way. This isn’t the way that our brain necessarily works. That’s the psychology aspect of things. And that is my job to help you see and unravel and process and move forward from. Work value versus personal value is just something that I call it. But how it shows up, how we talk about it, are the examples that I stated earlier. So let’s dig a little deeper into this. Let’s talk about the why before getting into the shift that you can make to detangle your work and personal value. Because it’s common, especially for high achievers like yourself, to wrap up your identity in what you do, to see your worth and value as the sum of what you provide, the skills you have, the impact you make, what you can offer others.

This comes from experiences that you have had your whole life. You do things and you get a certain consequence or reaction from others. You get an A in school, your caretakers probably praised you or maybe have come to expect it and they just don’t say anything. Or if you don’t do well, you may get a negative consequence. You work hard and hope your boss will recognize you and tell you that you’re doing well because you do a lot for them. Your grades and prestigious education are badges you wear on your resume. Your awards, publications, work accomplishments, these signal to the world that you have made it and that you are a value. This is how many of us think, whether we know it or not. So of course, when you put yourself out there for something like raising your hand for a job and you’re not met with enthusiastic clamoring to be the one to get to hire you, you think, What gives? Maybe I’m not that good. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe my experience isn’t good enough. So then you go to get more things, do more things, like certifications, experience, to try to fit the box that someone else has determined you need to fit into to get that validation.

This is how so many of us operate most of our lives. Finding the boxes that represent what we think we want and pushing ourselves into them so that we can be accepted, validated, feel valued, and of value. This is one reason that people are unhappy in their jobs and they don’t know why. They work so hard to do all the right things and get the job that when they do have it and they fit themselves into that box and it doesn’t make them happy, they’re confused. Then when you fit yourself into the box and you don’t get value or appreciated, it feels even worse. So let me stay on track here. You apply for the job and you don’t get it. There are two sides of this, the career strategy and the psychology. This episode is more about the psychology, but we’ll talk a little bit about the career strategy. Now, what I love about what I do is that I tackle both with you. It’s not just the career strategy, like here is what you do. It’s also the mindset that will guarantee that you execute the strategy effectively and sustainably. Here is the analogy that I shared with a couple of clients that I want to offer you.

Imagine that you have a stand at a flea market. If you’re not familiar with what a flea market is, it’s like everyone getting together, usually outside setting up a table of things that they’re selling, maybe things that they’ve made, things they’ve procured. So you have your table set up with all of your things that you want to sell. And there is one large item, a beautiful dresser that is mid century modern, has the detail that you may not notice. But when you do notice it, you see how it makes the dresser so special. It has the heavy wood that they just don’t make anymore. It’s glorious. So you’re at the flea market with all of the things you’re wanting to sell. Now, imagine all of these things are your talent, your skills, your experience. They’re your personality, all the things that make you you. They are gifts. You are amazing already. But when you have all of these magical trinkets and this beautiful dresser, they’re just bonus to what you offer the world. Now, that dresser, that represents your career. So all of these things at the flea market, they’re at your stand and they are yours.

But they aren’t all of you. You are separate. You are there selling your things. And the things you’re selling may change week to week, year to year, just like your skills and experience do. So someone comes to your stand and they notice the dresser. Start telling them about the dresser. You point out the beautiful etching and you help them notice the heavy wood and the deep drawers that are so uncommon for dressers these days. But they don’t like it. They wanted a dresser, but your specific dresser just isn’t what they were looking for. They want mid century modern, but they aren’t digging that etching that you’re going to get you love so much. Although it’s something that isn’t super obvious to most people, and those that would notice it would love it, they just don’t like it, so they pass. This is what it’s like when you apply or interview for a job and you just don’t get it. You are valuable, you are amazing, your identity and the value of that identity exists, whether or not you have trinkets to sell or a really cool dresser. When you are putting your resume in for review or interviewing, you are offering the company to buy your dresser.

But your dresser may not be what they’re looking for. It doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable. It also doesn’t mean that your dresser isn’t the best dresser of the last decade. It just means that the hiring manager wasn’t that into your dresser. They put out an ad for a dresser, you have a dresser, you were like, Here’s my dresser, and they were like, No, thanks. They were looking for something a little different. Or they were maybe, and this is where a little bit of the career strategy comes in, you didn’t do an effective job at showing them how amazing your dresser is. Maybe you told them the basics, like it’s really cool, and it has solid wood, and it’s mid century modern, all of the things that they listed that they wanted. It has some really cool details that you can’t find anywhere else, right? Kind of like that nice to have list on a job description. But maybe they needed to really visualize the dresser in their house and they couldn’t. Maybe they didn’t see how something that was a little different than they expected was actually better than what they had in mind. Maybe they had a question about the dresser that they didn’t ask and you didn’t offer up in your description.

You following me? So when you don’t get the job, think about it like you are this incredibly talented person who has infinite value and worth. You offer a skill set which is your career like a gift, a unique find at the flea market. If you were selling that dresser and people didn’t want it, you would probably think things like, They’re crazy. Their loss. Wow. They don’t have good taste. They don’t see a steal when it’s right in front of them. Too bad for them. Someone else is going to snatch this up. You might also think, I wonder what I can tell this next person that I didn’t tell the last one so they can really see how awesome this dresser is. Because you know and believe in how amazing that dresser is. So what I want to offer is what if you had those thoughts about yourself? What if you applied for jobs and you didn’t get them? And instead of thinking there’s something wrong with you, that there’s a box you need to fit in that you aren’t, that it’s hopeless, that the job is never going to come? Instead, you thought, They are crazy for passing me up.

Their loss. Wow, they don’t see talent when it’s right in front of them. Too bad for them. I’m going to get the best job for me. And also, what could I have missed? Is there a way I could communicate better? Is there a talent or perspective I bring that I wasn’t clear on? What objections could they have to hiring me that I missed? How could I have listened better to what they really wanted? This is much more productive. You can believe in your value even without the validation from another person. You can not get the job and believe in your value while also getting curious and problem solving what you can do better. Not getting the job doesn’t mean that you’re not enough, that you’re not good enough, that you’re not talented enough. It’s so common to wrap our identity in our work. It becomes one, one and the same, but it isn’t. Your job can make you feel good. You can make contributions that are valuable. You can make a difference in your work and the world, and I know you do. This episode is about how you treat yourself when things don’t go your way, when you don’t get the job.

How do you talk to yourself? You are amazing when you get the job. You are amazing when you don’t. Your worth isn’t defined by your resume. It’s also not defined by some manager’s opinion of you in an interview. You are inherently worthy. Let this sink in and really reflect on how you handle rejection. If and how you tangle your worth and value with your work. And next time you start to wonder if there is something wrong with you or if you did something wrong, think about the flea market and that dresser. And if you go to flea markets, I bet you will never see them the same now. Have an amazing week with your family. I will talk to you soon. I have something special for you. Episode is over, but that doesn’t mean your development ends here. If you enjoyed the podcast episode today, head to my website at yourworthycareer.com and check out additional free resources you can get access to right now. From joining my free VIP insiders to downloadable resources and trainings, you won’t want to miss it. Head there now.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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