It’s one of the great dilemmas of candidates across all industries, especially during a pandemic. You find a great job, you know you’re a perfect fit but your application is greeted by a wall of silence or a standard letter stating “We’re sorry but other applicants more closely matched our requirements.” Perhaps, like many others, this company was forced to eliminate a number of jobs in order to financially keep afloat, making the competition even more fierce for the remaining jobs.
Six months later, the company advertises a similar position. Should you reapply following your first experience and if so, how should you handle it? We’ve answered some of the most common questions here:
Is it OK to apply to a company that rejected my first application?
Yes, it is OK. Companies change, HR managers leave and are replaced, job requirements and performance criteria evolve. We recommend leaving your second application ideally around six months, with a minimum of three. This will give you time to undergo additional training and gain the skills necessary to make you a stronger candidate than the first time around.
Will my progress in my last application affect this one?
If you were interviewed, this depends on your reasons for not being offered the job. If it was solely down to skills, how have you improved those skills since your interview? If you displayed a bad attitude during the interview or failed to answer the questions thoroughly, this may prevent you from being considered again for a job with the employer, especially if the hiring team is unchanged. Be honest with yourself in your evaluations and don’t waste your time if you cannot demonstrate an improvement in skills or attitude. Although it is possible you were rejected because the position was terminated, it is likely that there are still a number of ways in which you could improve and prepare knowing what you do from the first time around.
How can I change my resume?
If you are applying for a similar role, adjust your keywords and your resume heading so it isn’t identical to your first application. Highlight different achievements relevant to the role and focus on how you’ve improved your ability to meet the employer’s requirements.
Should I mention my previous application?
If you are asked about previous applications during any point of the hiring process it is important to be honest. Don’t focus on why you didn’t get the job the first time around; instead, emphasize your new skills that make you a stronger candidate for the position. Don’t be negative towards the team that rejected your first application – demonstrate how you’ve taken their feedback on board to make you more suitable for their company.
Is there anything I can do to improve my chances?
We recommend three things before applying to the same company.
Firstly, recognize the gap in your original application and take steps to fix it. If you attended an interview, request feedback from the employer to understand why you weren’t offered the job. If not, review your resume from the employer’s point of review. Do you have the experience necessary for this role? Are your key skills and achievements clearly on display? Did you perform well at interview and address the hiring manager’s concerns?
Secondly, if possible, make contact with an employee of the company who carries out a similar role. Ask questions about the company culture and what the job looks like on a daily or weekly basis. The more insight you can gain into the company, the better your chances of progressing further with your application this time.
Finally, don’t be afraid to follow up with the HR manager. Remind them of your interest in the company, where you have addressed the gaps in your experience and what you believe you can bring to the company. Periodical follow-ups backed up with evidence of your commitment will keep you at the forefront of the HR manager’s mind the next time they have a similar job to fill.