3 Things You Can’t Control In Your Job Search (And 3 Things You Can!)

 

Several years ago, I interviewed for a job that I really, really wanted: It seemed like the perfect role at a dream organization. I worked hard to prepare for the interview, and though I was nervous on the big day, I felt ready.

 

I was at ease with the interviewers (a team of five!), and felt we developed a strong rapport. I left the office sure I’d made a good impression—only to find out a few days later that they hired someone else.

 

I was devastated and disappointed. But their rejection email emphasized it wasn’t that I was a bad fit, but rather that there was someone who was a better fit.

 

This was a critical lesson for me. When looking for a new position, you want to believe that it’ll be like buying a new computer or booking a trip. In other words, you’ll research all of the options, pick the best and it’ll be yours. The hard reality, however, is that there is so much outside of your control in a job search from what openings are out there, to who else is in the running, to whether your interviewer is having a bad day.

 

So, a much better way to spend your time and energy is to focus on the parts that are within your control. In these areas, greater effort will mean more payoff.

And, for everything outside of your control?

Admitting they’re out of your hands will keep you from taking a loss too personally.

Here’s a guide to what’s what:

 

  1. You Can’t Control Who’s Hiring

Sometimes, the exact position you’re looking for will open up at just the right time; and other times you feel like you’ve been refreshing job boards and checking back in with your contacts again (and again, and again) before you see anything that’s a good fit. Unfortunately, you can’t will a role into being available.

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