What to do next time: Here are 9 things you should check before you hit send (use Times New Roman at your peril!).
2. There was no chemistry
Not just the line you use to get out of a second Tinder date, as it turns out. If you make it to an interview but still get a no, it may be that you simply didn't "click" with the interviewer as well as another candidate. It's a bitter pill to swallow, as it can seem particularly personal, but as recruitment agency Michael Page points out, "You may not necessarily have done anything wrong, you might just not gel with your interviewer or have a different approach towards the work." Remember, it works both ways—you want to be part of a team that you'll be happy in, too.
What to do next time: Be confident, honest and upfront about what you can do and how you like to do it. All you can do is be yourself.
3. You weren't prepared
You've Googled the company, given the job listing another once over, and memorized your covering letter, so you're good to go, right? Spoiler: No, because you haven't actually considered what you might be asked. Knowledge is great until someone asks you to demonstrate it, at which point you may have had something of an "oh shit" moment and spouted filler that's not really relevant instead. It's happened to us all, and there still might be a moment where you lose your cool, but you can prevent 90% of disasters by creating answers to the most likely questions and memorizing the key points you want to mention. And don't forget to have questions that you want to ask them at the end!
What to do next time: Make a list of practice questions and answers, and coerce someone into quizzing you. Make sure they change the order around and throw in some off-list curveballs so you don't go blank if it happens for real.
4. Nerves got the better of you
Employers get it: job interviews are no fun, and very few people walk into one feeling genuinely excited to get grilled. Stumbling over a few words or asking for a question to be repeated is understandable, but if you completely go to pieces, it gives the impression that you a) don't have much confidence in yourself or your abilities and b) find it difficult to work under pressure—neither of which are especially desirable qualities for an employee. Even if you're shy by nature, dressing in an outfit you feel great in and that fits the ethic of the company, doing your research properly (see above), and politely laughing off any minor mess-ups will help you to stay in control and let your personality shine through, rather than your fears.
What to do next time: These tips from confidence coach Georgina Elliott are useful for everyday life, but they can also help you smash your next interview too.
5. The job went to someone internal
This one sucks, because no matter how good your skills and experience are, it's 10 times harder to beat out competition that are already part of the team. They already know everything from the office to the systems and most importantly, the hiring manager, so ya know. If getting a job was a video game, you'd probably have to Google the cheat codes for this one. It's often a legal requirement that a company has to interview other candidates even if they already know who they want, so don't beat yourself up if you wind up with a rejection email in this instance.
What to do next time: Just do your best, like you did before. It's tough, but it's not impossible, and you might find second time's the charm.
6. The job went to someone who costs less than you
Bleak, but true—even businesses who are doing well are generally looking to cut costs wherever they can, and if it's a choice between you and someone else whose salary expectations are a few thousand less, they'll probably consider going with the cheaper option, even if they're less experienced (hey, it'll cost them less to train them than it would to hire you…). Of course, some companies still see the virtues of the candidate as paramount, so don't be disheartened and think you have to lower your desired number if this happens. It's a matter of principle to find someone who's willing to pay you what you're worth.
What to do next time: Make sure your salary expectations aren't unrealistic for your career level and path, and then state them with purpose. In a world where women are paid significantly less than men for the SAME role, it's worth fighting for.
7. Someone better came along
Right. Put your tiny self-sympathy violin down, because this doesn't mean that they're any better at what they do than you are, and it certainly does not mean that you are terrible at it. It simply means that they were better for this particular role at this particular time, and if that's the case, it's totally out of your hands. It'll sting like hell, but when you finally find another great job, you'll probably realize that it was a blessing in disguise that you didn't end up getting this one in the first place. Chin up, game face on, and in the immortal words of Aaliyah, dust yourself off and try again.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.