Time stands still when you come across your dream job. The extra-large latte is ordered, the table is pulled tightly into your chest and then you begin to furiously type up, what is then considered to be, the most important cover letter of your life.
99 proofreads later, you finally press send, bringing the application process to a close and kicking off the waiting game. Unfortunately, the waiting process does not seem to have an end. "Do I give it a day? A week? A month?" is just one of many thoughts that scuttle across your brain like ants. All the hard work, the excitement, and perhaps, the shameless visualising of life once you are in this position, feels like it was all for nothing.
However, all hope is not lost when your application has either been greeted with radio silence or a rejection email. Many companies have long application deadlines and other specific strategies when it comes to their recruitment. Employers are often greeted with an avalanche of emails every day and if your application has been sent via an email, then it may very well have been buried beneath the pile.
Here are three steps to follow, based on my previous experience of gaining an interview after following up on a rejected application.
1. Consider why your application may have been rejected or not seen
When I was in my second year of university, I applied for a truly incredible internship. After spending the best part of two hours filling out my details on the website and writing out my cover letter, I was very surprised to see that my application was rejected within an hour of sending it.
I was rejected by a ‘do not reply’ email which was particularly strange. While some companies do reject as they go, this was very peculiar. If your application has been greeted by a ‘do not reply’ email, rejected with unusual swiftness, or before the application deadline the company has set, this may have happened by mistake.
Think to yourself: “Do companies in my industry usually send their rejections this quickly? Has this email been sent by an automated email system? What was the application deadline for this role and has it passed?” If the rejection appears to have been made in unusual circumstances, move swiftly to step two.
2. Track down the employer, manager, or boss
One advantage everybody has in modern-day job hunting is that personal contact details of the people you want to work for can more often or not be found online. Office phone numbers are usually found in the ‘contact us’ part of a company website, or, if you do not feel comfortable with the idea of calling somebody, LinkedIn is an excellent resource.
It is always advisable to do your homework on the individuals you would be working for when writing cover letters and completing applications anyway, but if you haven’t, look to the company website to see who the senior individuals at the company are. Many companies have a tab on their website introducing members of staff. On there, you could find an email address, a phone number, or links to a personal LinkedIn account. This leads us on nicely to step three.
3. How to ask for feedback on your application deadline
If you have decided to seek for an explanation, always talk or write in a humble and polite way. If you are brave enough to call the company, have a very good idea of what you want to say before you call to ensure you talk in a smooth and confident tone. Ensure you come across as an individual who simply wants to learn what new skills and experience you need to be considered for future roles. If you come across as a warm, polite, enthusiastic, and confident individual, your personality can sometimes overwrite your lack of experience or skills.
If you are communicating via email, concisely explain how you applied for the role, what correspondence (if any) you have received, and how you would like to know what skills or experience you were lacking for the role.
In my case, the person in charge did not even see my application as the initial application stage was carried out by a different department. After asking me to send my CV and cover letter to him personally, he got back to me and offered me a job interview. He said he really liked my skills and experience and did not understand why my CV was so quickly rejected by the other department.
While I was unsuccessful at the interview, my polite persistence afforded me the opportunity in the first place. If you are polite, humble, enthusiastic, and understanding in your approach, employers will be galvanised by your determination.
It may not be enough to get you the job, but it will almost certainly keep you in their thoughts - and you never know when that opportunity will present itself again.
About the Author:
My name is Patrick Austen-Hardy and I am a writer who has worked for the Daily Star, the Daily Mirror, and the Daily Express. In 2020, I graduated from Solent University with a degree in sports journalism, before opting to stay on and study a Masters in PR and Communications. Two fun facts about myself include my face popping up on three episodes of Britain's Got Talent and that I have previously interviewed sportsmen such as Sir Mo Farah, F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, and many more.