Career Corner: It’s Not All About You

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t the job; it does not necessarily mean you did something wrong. – Courtesy photo / Michael Coghlan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Angela Copeland

Job searching involves quite a lot of internal reflection. If you’re looking for a job or thinking of looking, you know what I mean. You initially spend a lot of time thinking about yourself. What do you want to do with your life? Where do you want to live? Does your resume look good? Do you have the right suit to wear to interviews?

We very often start off a job search after a difficult set of circumstances. If things were going great, why would you job search? Very often, you might not like your boss at your current job (or they might not like you). You’ve tried to make it work until one day you think you will collapse if you have to walk back through the front doors of your office again.

Getting ready for a job search, and the interviews that come from it, can be almost like a healing process. You are finally turning over a new leaf. You’re getting yourself together again.

Through this process, we begin to feel that as long as we present our best self, we’ll land a new job. And, we assume that when we don’t win an interview, we must have done something wrong because it was our job to be our best self and we must have failed at that job. Right?

Maybe, but not necessarily. Listen, I don’t want to minimize the importance of getting your best self together. You’ve got to do that. But, there are a lot of reasons you might not get a job that have nothing to do with you.

For example, a company sometimes puts hiring on hold. In fact, they may decide not to hire someone at all. Or, they may already have someone in the role (as a contractor) and they may be doing interviews just to go through the process. Sometimes, companies do interviews to meet a quota. Or, sometimes the future boss will leave the company for another job while interviews are going on, and the company will wait to proceed until they’ve filled the manager’s job.

The company will not tell you any of these things. At no point will they say, “We’re just interviewing you because we have to interview at least five people.” They will also not say, “Our company is doing badly and upper management has put a freeze on hiring.”

I don’t share this to say that you don’t have a shot. You absolutely do. You have to give it your all in every interview or you definitely won’t find the job of your dreams.

But, when you get rejected, don’t use it as an opportunity to beat yourself down. Don’t tear yourself apart thinking about everything you did wrong. We can all do better. Strive to do your best and then let the rest go. There’s a lot of the hiring process that is beyond your control.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

August 8, 2019

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Angela Copeland

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