Cover Story

Should you reapply to a job after being rejected? Here’s what HRs say

Applying for any job is nerve-wracking. Especially for fresh graduates who are just venturing out in a bold new world and trying to stand on their own feet. However, the odds are often stacked against them, as the job market becomes more competitive with each passing day.

It's even more distressing when one gets rejected. 

Why does it happen?

A CV is often the first point of contact between you and the employer. A good CV can make or break your case. Focusing on the importance of crafting a good CV, Adiba Arif, a Global Graduate at the British American Tobacco Human Resources, says, "Job applications are often a holistic process consisting of multiple steps, CV-screening being one of the first steps. Based on the brand strength of the company, employers receive hundreds of applications. Because of this huge volume of applications, employers skim through the CVs to do the preliminary screening. For entry-level roles, debate/business competition experiences, internships or relevant work experiences, etc—these things stand out.

"Applicants with impressive resumes often get called to attend the next round of assessment. But, sometimes even people with the best resumes fail to deliver in these assessment rounds such as focus group discussion, interview, etc. It is important to remember, CVs are only one step in the recruitment process," adds Adiba.

So, should you reapply?

You've worked so hard on your first application. Do you want to go through the arduous process again and reapply? Adiba opines that it is subjective. "It depends on the ambitions of the candidate as well as company policies. Some companies impose a cool-off period after rejection of up to two years. If that is the case, candidates need to weigh how important working in the company is for them. If it remains important, sure, they can reapply. If it's not, they can move on and apply elsewhere. A person may not be a good fit for one company but can be the best fit for another," she says.

What to do

Let your emotions breathe

The period between getting recruited and sending out applications is stressful. You do not always have everything in control. The best comfort is to accept your rejection, let your emotions slide, and be objective about your improvement.

Ask yourself

Did you submit your application late, as in 2-3 weeks after the job post? Did you fall short of the cover letter? More importantly, did you have any skill gaps? If so, how to identify it?

Farhan Karim, Assistant Manager-HR at Reckitt Bangladesh, says, "The difference between a person's current skill set and the published required skill set of a desired vacancy can simply be called the skill gap."

First contemplate on the experience of the assessment. Take notes on whether there were any lacking according to you. Third, Try to talk to someone knowledgeable in that field to find insight on assessment. Figure out whether you need more prep or more certification. Finally, create a proper plan of action and prepare for the next interview, which is probably similar but where you want a better outcome.

Figure out your skillset

If needed, diversify it. Do an internship, or a side-project, or study courses, or even work harder in your current role to enhance your applicant profile. This is vital to ensure you're a secured match with the role and the company you're applying to.

"For students, researching job ads on job portals and listing down common required skills among desired jobs can identify the skills that they would ideally want to learn," adds Farhan.

You can even research the desired skill set by going through Reddit and Quora.

Keep in touch with the company and/or your recruiter

This is essential to demonstrate your interest in working for them and to demonstrate your growth as a professional. However, maintain professional etiquette. "This means to be as specific as possible in your queries. Avoid small talk. Instead, make your messages focused and concise, and research topics to discuss at designated times," says Farhan.

How to reapply

First, accept your rejection letter with grace

Do not give in to your emotions nor send any passive-aggressive replies. Doing so is an important component of professional etiquette.

Seek feedback from your recruiter if possible

"With that feedback [from the recruiter], come up with a development plan for yourself. For example, if you didn't get called after CV submission, try and improve that. If it was after an interview, work on your communication and storytelling skills. If it was after a focus group discussion, work on your teamwork, collaboration and articulation," says Adiba.

Keep on the lookout for any other job opportunities that may arise in your desired company

It could be a junior role or any other role. The aim is to get a step in first.

Update your CV

If you send in the same CV as you had in the previous application, the recruiters will assume that you have not worked on strengthening your skills nor putting in the extra effort for the job. This creates a negative impression that you do not care enough about this position which signals that you will not have the dedication and sincerity they seek in their candidates.

From his experience, Farhan shares, "Updating your CV is the basic expectation. Recruiters are impressed by CV's that are specifically catered to that position and highlighted at the top. For them, candidates must be specialized in the jobs they're applying for and intend to make a career in that specific field."

Write a new cover letter

Specify your reasons for reapplying and what useful specific skills have you learned. Be clear about what makes this job and/or company special to you for which you're putting in so much once again. Remember, recruiters are won over by sincere enthusiasm.

Any last tips?

Reapplying after rejection takes courage and a lot of mental work. As Adiba says, "Landing a job depends on a lot of variables- your skills, the company's requirements, the compatibility between the two, etc. So, try not to be too hard on yourself and instead try to understand where the problem was. Then focus your energy on being better. The process of regaining confidence is very personal and depends on your personality that only you know best. Be nice to yourself, take a breather, upskill yourself and get back into the race!"


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