Why you didn’t get that job… and why you will next time

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You felt good about that last interview. The hiring manager seemed impressed with your credentials. The job description was a perfect match with your qualifications. The position was a natural progression; maybe even your next step up the ladder. Your answers were comprehensive and on target. You nailed it.

Still, somehow, some way, you missed out.

How could that happen?

While employers spent the recession hunkered down and focused on cutting costs (and in many cases, jobs), the job market has been slowly evolving. As many as one in five employees are actively seeking new positions, according to a 2011 Forbes survey. Despite a continued improvement in the nation’s employment rate, unemployment in the financial industry has actually increased, from 5.6 percent to 5.7 percent, from December 2011 to March 2012.

In other words, competition is fierce out there. Companies like Goldman, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Merrill Lynch have become much more selective.

For many, a near miss is far worse than never getting a chance. Being so close and then not getting it can feel like more of a personal rejection. But if you happen to be one of the unsuccessful candidates, don’t despair. The reality of the job market is that it may take as many as 15 to 20 job interviews in order to land an acceptable employment offer. Until that occurs, what’s important is making sure you continue to do the right things, put the matter in perspective and focus on selling yourself confidently in future interviews.

Hitting the bull's eye

Landing a job is like hitting the bull’s eye of a target. It usually takes a little zeroing in to hit the mark. And it may help to take aim at more than one target. In other words, you may benefit by expanding your search parameters and alter the companies, positions or compensation you are targeting.

Remember, employers do not need any particular reason not to hire you. Instead, they search for a good reason to extend an offer. Keep honing your pitch and looking for differentiators to put space between you and other potential applicants.

Hiring managers are commonly reporting having to sort through a very competitive applicant pool with hundreds of overly qualified applicants. If you get to interview, it means you made the short list; and that is very encouraging.

So don't give up if you just missed. Keep trying and eventually, you will become the chosen one.

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