With the time and effort it takes to send out job applications, it can be a real sting to receive a rejection email or hear nothing back at all. When this happens, it’s best not to jump to conclusions. Keep in mind that decisions of this kind are rarely personal. It could just be that you were beaten to it by someone further along in the process or a strong internal candidate. Either way you won’t know for sure unless you ask.

Following up on an unsuccessful job application is essential – not only because it might lead to positive feedback but also because it gives you an opportunity to get your foot in the door for future opportunities. With the right tactics, you could turn rejection into something positive – allow us to show you how…

Ask for Feedback

Though your mind will probably be racing with different theories, the truth is you won’t know why you didn’t make the cut until you hear it from the employer directly. Getting their feedback on your shortcomings will give you peace of mind and help you improve or fill the necessary gaps in your experience.

It’s best to respond within 24 hours to a rejection email so that the employer has your application or interview fresh in their mind. Remember, they are most likely dealing with a busy inbox, so the email you send should be polite but concise and to the point. You could say:

Dear [Contact’s Name]

Thank you for letting me know about my application. While I’m disappointed not to have made it through to the next stage, it was a pleasure to be considered for this exciting opportunity and to learn more about the company.

If you have a free moment, I would be grateful to learn more about how I could improve. Were there any gaps in my experience, or a subject that I could be presenting better in future interviews? Any feedback you can share would be really appreciated and would help me become a better candidate.

Thanks for your time,

[Your Name]

Leave the door open

This is a great tactic if your heart is still set on the company. Often employers will be hiring for many positions and while you may have just missed the mark on that role, you could be better suited to another. Not only this, but sometimes new hires turn out to not be a good fit or change their minds, meaning the company may reopen the process. If you’ve followed up, there’s a good chance you’ll be top of mind.

Send an email reaffirming your interest in the company and future or current opportunities. But rather than ask what roles are available, which could come across as a little too pushy, try to politely but assertively leave the door open.

Dear [Contact’s Name]

Thank you for following up on my application for [role]. It’s a pleasure to have been considered for a position at [company name], a company that I really admire and will continue to follow despite the outcome.

If there is another role open that would be a better fit for me, or if any future opportunities open up, I would certainly be interested in applying. Don’t hesitate to contact me!

Thanks for your time,

[Your Name]

Stay in touch

After sending a follow-up email, stay in touch with the company by interacting with their social posts. A good way to do this is by re-sharing or commenting on their content with thoughtful additions and perspectives. By doing this, you are displaying your interest in the company, as well as keeping yourself informed of any future job listings they put up.

If you’ve had an interview with an individual at the company, there’s no harm in requesting to connect with them on a professional channel like LinkedIn – just be sure to attach a short, polite message with your request, such as:

Hi [Name of employer]

Thank you for taking the time to interview me – It was a pleasure learning more about you and [company]. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss any future roles that may come up and it would be great to have you as a professional connection, despite the outcome of my application.

If you applied through Placed, make sure to use the follow feature to stay in touch with the employer to see their content and jobs before anyone else.