Rejection is a part of life. You see an attractive potential partner, so you ask that individual out. Sometimes you get a yes, sometimes a no. In high school, maybe you tried out for the school musical or basketball team. Perhaps you got the lead role or became team captain. Other times, maybe even the menial roles were out of reach.
The job market is no different. We’ve all been there at one point or another. We’ve applied for a job and might’ve even gone in for an interview. But ultimately we didn’t get the job. What counts is not the rejection itself but how we bounce back from it.
Did you swear off dating after the first failed attempt? When you didn’t make the varsity team on the first try, did you give up or try again the following season? The job market is much the same. And one common question that job seekers have is: Is it okay to reapply for a position with a company after being rejected?
The answer, in short, is: Yes! A rejection shouldn’t deter you from giving it another go, even when it comes to a company that previously rejected you. So, if you’ve been rejected from a position with a company and the position has been reposted, or if you’d like to apply to a different position within the organization, keep the following things in mind.
1. Don’t submit the same exact resume and cover letter.
If your resume wasn’t strong enough to get you the job the first time, it won’t be now. As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you submit the same resume that got you a rejection the first time, why should the result be different this time around?
2. Update your experience, skills, education, and anything else to showcase how you’ve grown professionally.
Ideally, if some time has passed, you’ve gained more experience and skills. Include those on your resume and highlight in your cover letter why you’re a stronger candidate for the position now.
3. Consider your previous interactions with the company.
If you had an interview, was there any indication you were missing a critical skill or another required element? Be sure to address those in your application documents and explain how you’re prepared to make up for the shortcoming.
4. Reconnect with contacts at the organization.
This is the perfect example of why networking and maintaining relationships is so important. If you did an interview and “hit it off” with someone at the organization, don’t hesitate to contact that individual and let them know you’re reapplying. They might be able to offer some insight regarding whether the position was actually filled or provide other unsolicited advice.
A final note
Keep in mind that you’re not the only person to be rejected. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Walt Disney was fired because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Dr. Seuss was rejected by 27 publishers before selling his first book.
While rejection may feel like a punch to the gut in the short term, it might open up even better opportunities for you in the long term. If you’re passionate about the job, the organization, and industry, never hesitate to reapply.
Kelly Virginia Phelan, Ph.D., is a career coach and professional development specialist. You can connect with her via her site, Winning Six Second Resumes.
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