After refreshing my inbox over and over I finally read that most disappointing, yet irritatingly polite, phrase: “Due to an unusually high number of applications of an outstanding calibre, we regret to inform you that you have not been successful at this time.”

All that time spent honing my CV and application, to read like this was the one job my entire life to date has been heading towards and this is all I get? Did you not see the personality oozing out of my cover letter? Did you not see that I had researched the company values and modelled my application cleverly on the same five-fold model?

I start to conjure wild explanations in my mind; perhaps they didn’t see my application after all…maybe a lazy HR junior resorted to ‘Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo’ to save having to read every one. Yes, that’s it, my brilliance was victim to a childhood rhyme. If only they had seen me in person. They just don’t know what they’re missing.

After an interview the picture is a little different. Here I have invested much more. I’ve lost sleep over the presentation and I couldn’t face the sight of food for the nerves. I’ve prayed, my family have prayed, my home group have prayed. I have given my all, answered every last question with such enthusiasm that I am exhausted afterwards. I have been imagining myself in the role too, absent mindedly trying on the anticipated new lifestyle for size. I’ve even calculated my commute across multiple modes of transport for goodness sake! Surely they can see that I really want the job and that they should really want me?

But one courtesy call later and I am left crushed.

I realise just how much I had let myself hope that this would be the one. I wish I hadn’t told so many people about the interview, now I am going to have to explain to each one that I didn’t get the job. And looking ahead, I can’t bear the thought of going through the emotionally-invested process all over again.

A friend then recommended that I hold the next interview lightly. It struck me that holding it lightly means I have to hold more tightly to God. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t prepare thoroughly, nor give my absolute all. But I have to fully trust that His plans really are good and that if it doesn’t work out another opportunity will come along.

I have to demonstrate my passion for the job and the company, while remaining deeply content that at any time the opportunity may be taken from my open hands. I’ve not got that tension fully mastered, but the next interview was less clouded with worry and I did end up getting the job. So throwing it open to you, in a climate where there are on average 83 applications for every graduate job, what tips do you have to ensure that you go about holding it lightly?

Written by Sarah-Jane Marshall // Follow Sarah-Jane on  Twitter //  LICC

Sarah-Jane works for LICC where she is developing resources to help people in their 20s develop a richer understanding of how their faith interacts with their daily work. Sarah-Jane lives in South London with her husband Joe where they love welcoming people to their little flat to enjoy good food.

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