Been rejected by an employer?

You had a good CV, but you didn’t make it to the next round. What’s going on?

Getting a job is hard work. If you’re putting the effort in, you could have spent hours researching a company, tailoring your CV and drafting your answers to competency questions. Then you have it all thrown in your face with a rejection letter, e-mail or, worst still, silence.

You’re not alone and rejection doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a weak candidate or that you had a bad application. There are a number of reasons for which you might have missed out on the next stage.

Even if your application itself was good, you might very simply have been up against fierce competition. Employers turn away very good candidates everyday and the message for this is simple: “keep calm and carry on”. However, if you are getting rejection after rejection, you need to take yourself back through the application itself – make sure there are no glaring mistakes or ‘no-no’s.

Be self-critical and consider the possible flaws: maybe you didn’t tailor your CV properly (you can’t have a ‘general’ CV anymore, sorry). Did you pay close attention to the job description? Did you emphasise your skills? Or did you simply list what you have done and leave it to the employer to work out how you fit? Maybe you didn’t complete the application. For example, did you include a cover letter if they asked for one? Was it detailed enough? Was it detailed in the right places? Did your cover letter spend more time discussing what the job can do for you, rather than what you can bring to the job?

Did your cover letter use the correct language? Did you simply not use the correct salutation or not sign-off correctly?  Typos, grammatical mistakes, shoddy formatting… all these contribute to the impression that you didn’t really want the job.

The reason for rejection is not always clear-cut but it is worth investigating. Your future job is counting on it! If you didn’t make it through the initial stages, ask for feedback as to why. It might just save your next application.

Hélène Tyrell
Applications Adviser
QM Careers & Enterprise Centre

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