How to Not Land Your Dream Job

By: Jen Reiseman-Briscoe

The surest way to not get a job you want is to never apply in the first place. While fear of failure can be paralyzing and rejection never feels good, sometimes the biggest barrier to success is ourselves—especially when we believe (or tell ourselves) that we aren’t good enough for an opportunity; that we don’t have enough credentials to land that job, or enough skills and experience to do it well…

Confidence (having a confidence mindset) is the biggest determinant of success.—it is exactly why executive coaching is such an integral part of earning a Rutgers Master of Business and Science (MBS) degree, and why MBS’s Communications & Leadership course is so unique (and a requirement).

Overcoming self-doubt was the theme of a now-viral post on LinkedIn news—one in which Wonsulting COO Jerry Lee reflected on the many opportunities of which he robbed himself when he was younger: from not applying for a job at Google (he eventually worked at Google) to not applying to certain schools. All things he realizes, in retrospect, he could have easily done. His post generated hundreds of comments from leaders in talent acquisition, coaching, and human resources, who responded with some actionable, inspirational feedback. The comments are certainly worth a scroll, but excerpted below are some great takeaways from experts at LinkedIn Learning.

Remember: the job market is still strong, and as the great resignation / great reshuffle continues, companies are becoming more open to employees reinventing and redesigning their positions internally rather than losing employee talent. So now is a better time than ever to define your goals, develop your confidence, and go after what you want.

Expert Advice from LinkedIn Learning

“My advice is that when applying for jobs in the U.S., you must meet all of the essential qualifications [level of years in industry] and show the ability to perform 70% of the duties to be highly qualified for the position. Employers expect you to have a learning curve when starting a job. Still apply if you hit 60% of the duties and all of the qualifications. If you are below the 50% threshold, perform a gap analysis and grow to the position.”—Valerie Sutton, LinkedIn Learning Instructor, Leader in Career Theory


When building your personal brand and moving forward with your reputation strategy, if you experience feelings of doubt creep in, or imposter syndrome or self-rejection shows up for you, here’s what I suggest: 

1. Resist the temptation to stop your progress! It’s normal to evaluate your choices when faced with stressors that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar, but your strategy should reassure you that you’ve done the due diligence, you’ve crafted a plan, and you’re working the steps. 

2. Enlist the support of those who believe in you. Ask them for feedback about your reputation and contribution. Use that feedback to anchor yourself in the value you’re contributing. 

3. Finally, try to catch yourself and become more aware when feelings of impostor syndrome or rejecting yourself start to creep in. When you see a sign that your self-doubt is driving your interactions, remind yourself of what it took for you to achieve the success you have, remember the positive feedback you received, and commit to moving forward and living authentically and passionately in the direction of your career goals."—Lida Citroën, Executive Coach, Speaker & TEDx Speaker LinkedIn Learning Instructor