You found a great job you thought would be a perfect fit, but your application received either radio silence or one of those dreaded “We’re sorry, but you’re not a fit for us at this time” form letters. Think that’s the end of the road for you? Think again. While a rejection can be discouraging, it doesn’t necessarily signal a dead end for your job search. It could benefit you to reapply to the company, even after you’ve received a “no thank you.” Following are the answers to some common questions job seekers have when it comes to reapplying for a position for which they’ve previously been rejected.
Is it okay to apply to a company you've already applied to (but didn't get a job offer from)?
Yes, of course. Situations change in organizations that could make your background more applicable for the position, even if it wasn’t applicable before. If you’ve worked to better yourself professionally since your last application—undergoing additional training, taking continuing education courses, gaining new experience through volunteering—you could be a stronger candidate now than you were the first time around. In addition, the company’s situation may be different than when you first applied. There could be a new person in charge of hiring, the requirements for the position may have changed, and the applicant pool will be different and may be less competitive.
How long should you wait to reapply?
I would recommend waiting 3-6 months before reapplying, or enough time for one of the above-mentioned changes in situation to occur. If you see that a position you previously applied to has been re-listed, or is still open after 3-6 months, it is worth applying again if you believe you are a better fit for it now.
Does it matter how far along you got in the process with the company (no response to an application vs. multiple interviews/no offer)?
As long as you conducted yourself professionally throughout the process, and it was simply a skill set reason why you were not moved, then how far along you got in the process should not matter when reapplying. If you were rejected for poor judgment, rude behavior, or other red flags throughout the interview process, then for no reason will you be given a second chance as long as the hiring team consists of the same people.
Should you address the fact that you applied previously?
If you are asked, absolutely. You do not want to lie overtly or by omission.
In what way should you address your previous application, and at what point in the process?
If you are asked at any point in the process, or if the conversation seems to be leading in a direction that would indicate you never applied, it is time to speak up. Make sure your explanation is worded in a positive manner. Rather than saying you didn’t get the job before, state that you’ve gained new experience and skills since then that make you an even stronger candidate for the position. Never imply that the previous hiring team made a mistake by rejecting you. You want to come across as proactive and driven, not disgruntled.
What about applying for the same/similar position as before, vs. applying for a different type of position?
If you’re applying for the same position, you don’t want your application to look like a duplicate. Be sure to change your keywords and title heading in your resume so it’s not exactly the same as it was the first time you submitted it. You want to cherry-pick which of your experiences are best suited for this next position. Not only do you want your resume to look different, but you also want the content to clearly demonstrate how your updated skill set meets the position’s requirements better than it did for the previous role . If you’re applying for a different role within the same company—whether it’s a lower, lateral, or higher level—it could be helpful to get some feedback from a trusted source within or outside the company to make sure you’re really a good fit for the role and that you are presenting yourself in the best way. You never want to appear desperate by applying to too many positions with the same company, regardless off the level. In the end, the only thing you have to lose by reapplying to a company is a bit of your time, and if the position is truly attractive to you and you have the right skill set, it’s worth the effort.
Lisa Rangel and the Chameleon Resumes team have helped over 6,000 executives and senior professionals land the 6-figure positions they deserve.
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