How to Reapply for a Job When You Have Been Rejected

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Should you reapply for a job if you were rejected the first time around and you see that the position is still posted or has been relisted? It depends, but in general, the worst that can happen is that you get rejected again.

Best-case scenario, you may have a better chance of getting accepted the second time around.

Reasons to Reapply for a Job

Applicants often wonder if it is a good idea to reapply for a job that they have already applied for in the past.

The short answer is that if you find the position to be very attractive, there is usually nothing to lose other than your time.

The following are good reasons that support your decision to reapply:

If you have enhanced your credentials. Your chances of receiving serious consideration the second time around will be greater if considerable time has passed and/or if you have enhanced your credentials in some way since your first application.

If you were a strong candidate. If you made it to the interview stage previously and were a finalist or received positive feedback, then you may be a strong enough candidate to receive an offer this time, especially if there is a less competitive pool of applicants to contend with.

The hiring manager may have changed. Another reason to consider reapplying if time has passed is that the staff responsible for screening resumes may have changed, and the new screener(s) may have a different take on the viability of your credentials. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes.

The job description or applicant pool may have changed. The applicant pool may have changed since you first applied. The employer might have refined their profile for the perfect candidate. For a variety of reasons, you may have a better chance of getting selected this time.

Your application may have fallen through the cracks. It’s also possible that you don’t even know for sure that you were rejected; you only know that you weren’t selected.

Many employers don't bother sending rejection letters. If that is the case for you, don’t assume that your application was actively rejected.

It’s possible that your resume and cover letter failed to make it through the applicant tracking system. In that case, the problem isn’t with your candidature but rather with your application materials—an easier fix than acquiring a new certification or adding years of experience.

When to Reapply After Being Rejected

Typically, it doesn't make sense to reapply until at least a few months have passed since your initial application unless you have gained additional credentials that would better qualify you for the job. If you have new skills or experiences, it can make sense to apply sooner.

However, some companies have policies that require rejected candidates to wait for a certain period of time before reapplying.

How to Get Your Application Noticed the Second Time Around

If you were rejected the first time you applied for a job, it’s important to take special care the next time you apply. It’s important to rewrite your cover letter and tweak your resume to ensure the company knows you’re a good fit for the position.

Target Your Resume and Cover Letter

Most large, and many smaller, employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen applicants. These software programs manage the recruiting process automatically, receiving and sorting resumes and helping hiring managers and HR representatives sift through them for quality candidates.

The advantage from the employer’s perspective is clear: an ATS saves time that they would otherwise have to invest in having humans comb through piles of resumes. However, it can be a real problem for a job seeker if they don’t know how to write their resumes to appeal to both humans and robots. If you keep applying to jobs online and never hear anything from a real, live person, you might be getting caught in the ATS net. It can happen even if you’re fully qualified. It all comes down to using the right resume keywords.

Use the Right Keywords

Keywords describe the requirements for a particular job, including skills, certifications, educational qualifications, and other qualities that a hiring manager is targeting.

Take the time to target your resume and your cover letter, including keywords found in the job posting, and you will have a better chance of getting your application considered for the job.

Don’t be afraid to mention skills that seem obvious to you. For example, if the job listing specifies that the candidate should be familiar with Microsoft Office, you should include that or risk getting filtered out of contention.

Highlight Your Latest Accomplishments

Also, be sure to highlight in your cover letter any additional experiences, awards, accomplishments, or training that you have amassed since your last application.

What to Write in Your Cover Letter

Typically, you would refer to your prior application in your cover letter if you have previously interviewed for the position. You can mention why you were convinced that the employer and the job were an excellent fit as a result of that exposure and that you would appreciate the employer's consideration for the position.

If you didn't receive a rejection letter or weren't interviewed and considerable time has passed, you don't need to reference your previous application in your letter.