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A Firm Offer Is Only Real End Of The Job Search
by Ramon Greenwood

All of the signs are positive. You've had what appeared to be positive interviews for a job your really want. Now you are waiting for the offer you are sure is coming. Then, the bomb drops. You learn the job has gone to someone else. There are five lessons you learn from this scenario that will strengthen your job search.

Surely, this is a marriage made in heaven. You want the job; it's a step forward toward your career goals. It seems clear that the organization wants you. You've been told that you'll get the final "welcome aboard" notice within a few days.

Days and finally weeks go by with no offer. The feedback from your follow-up calls is positive. In the meantime, you have put your job search on hold. You've passed up some attractive leads for other opportunities. You may even have told friends the good news.

Then, the bomb drops. You get the dreaded e-mail: "We appreciate your interest in joining our organization, but we have decided to select another candidate whose particular set of skills and experience more nearly meet our needs. We wish you success."

Five career lessons from this scenario are loud and clear:

1. Avoid a love affair with one position. Be flexible; play the field.

2. Take nothing for granted in a job search. The deal is never complete until its signed, sealed and delivered.

3. Keep your search on the front burner until you have a job firmly in hand.

4. Don't blame yourself. Learn from the experience. Review the history of the search that came close to a job. Did you make your best effort? How can your campaign be improved?

5. Recognize that much of the influence on hiring decisions is beyond your control.

The latter point is particularly critical if you are experiencing multiple rejections. Ofer Sharone, an assistant professor at MIT Sloan School of Management who is conducting research on this topic declares:

"It is personally devastating to start thinking there is something wrong with you. People start to believe that they are flawed...that there is something internally and deeply wrong with them. This (leads) to discouragement and people stopping the job search. If you start to think that it's your fault you're not getting a job, in many cases once you get to that stage it's very hard to continue job searching."

He says this typically happens for those who are unemployed for six months or longer and becomes stronger with time.

Sharone concludes that there are always significant elements in any job search that are beyond your control.

Ramon Greenwood may be contacted at

To get more common sense career advice on how to protect and advance your career during tough times, sign up at for a free subscription to Ramon Greenwood's widely read e-newsletter and participate in his blog. He coaches from a successful career as Senior VP at American Express, author of career-related books, and a senior executive/consultant in Fortune 500 companies.



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