How to Regain Confidence After Coming in Second Place for a Role

Home » How to Regain Confidence After Coming in Second Place for a Role

How to Regain Confidence After Coming in Second Place for a Role

It’s a story we’ve all heard or lived through at some point in our job search journey. You tirelessly craft your resume and LinkedIn profile, engage your network that has gone unattended for too long, obsessively surf job boards, and hit the job market.

Inevitably you spot the seemingly perfect job, where the requirements couldn’t more closely match your resume. You move forward with a renewed sense of hope and optimism, navigating the too often cumbersome application systems, researching the organization, and reaching out to anyone who can give you the inside track as an applicant. The anticipation builds up as you invest weeks into pursuing a seemingly perfect job, your focus becomes laser-sharp on this one opportunity. You even aced the early interviews, and are beginning to envision yourself in that job. You click with the interviewers, the excitement about the role and the organization grows, and then comes the call—a call that delivers a punch to the gut.

Being a finalist but not the chosen one is disheartening and deflating. It throws you back to ground zero in your search. You might find yourself questioning your abilities, replaying the interview in your mind, wondering what went wrong, speculating about possible saboteurs, and even convincing yourself the organization made the wrong choice. Regardless of profession or level, this is a universal experience felt by anyone who ever dared to dip a toe into the job market.

But your search is not over, picking yourself up and moving forward is not easy after being rejected. But let’s explore how to do just that, while cultivating the confidence needed to keep moving forward.

Acknowledge Your Worth

The fact that you made it to the final stages in the hiring process speaks volumes. Someone, likely multiple people, saw potential in you. Your skills, experience, and personality were deemed noteworthy enough for serious consideration. It’s crucial to recognize that not being the chosen candidate doesn’t diminish your capabilities or desirability. It’s merely a numbers game, and sometimes the variables are beyond your control like when an internal candidate surfaces.

Embrace the Disappointment

Allow yourself time to grieve. It’s okay to be disappointed, discouraged, or frustrated. After all, you invested time, effort, and emotional energy into this opportunity. Take a day or a long weekend to catch your breath. Reflect on the experience, understand your emotions, and then channel that energy into your next steps. Acknowledge the setback, but don’t let it define your journey.

Maintain Momentum

One common pitfall is letting other search activity take a back seat as you invest your energy solely in the frontrunner. It’s important to keep your foot on the gas pedal for all opportunities in your pipeline. Networking, pursuing other job openings, and staying active in the job market are crucial components of a successful job search. Remember, you might be the second-best candidate many times before securing that ideal position.

Overcome Self-Doubt

Rejection can breed self-doubt, making it challenging to maintain confidence in your abilities. Remember that every job application and interview is a unique situation. No matter how perfect you are for the role, there’s always an unpredictable variable that can impact the outcome. Instead of dwelling on self-doubt, focus on the aspects you can control—your preparation, presentation, and continued pursuit of new and better opportunities.

In the unpredictable world of job hunting, facing rejection is inevitable. However, it’s crucial to view each setback as a stepping stone toward the right opportunity. By acknowledging your worth, maintaining momentum in your job search, embracing disappointment, and overcoming self-doubt, you can cultivate the resilience needed to bounce back. Remember, being a finalist but not the chosen one is inherent in the job search process. Keep moving forward, and success will find its way to you.


About the Author:

Cultivating Careers was founded by Karen Kodzik, a Career Consultant who has worked with individuals in transition for over 13 years. Karen meets professionals at various points on their career path and works with them to gain a clearer sense of where they want to take their careers. Karen Kodzik holds a Masters Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Career Development. Karen couples seasoned counseling skills with a solid business acumen. She has coached and consulted various levels of professionals across industries to successfully reaching that next point in their career.

Leave A Comment