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Great advice from The Lawyer Whisperer

January 16, 2017

I applied for a job and was immediately rejected. A few months later the same job was reposted. Should I reapply? If so, what is the best way to do so?

Julie Q. Brush

Whether a candidacy is rejected after the initial submission or further down the road, an employer’s decision not to pursue a candidate is almost always a final one. But there are scenarios where a candidacy can be brought back to life:

  • There is a new position at the company/firm for which the candidate is better suited.
  • The decision to reject the candidate was based on factors that no longer exist (timing, compensation, changing job specifications, location issues, lead candidate rejects offer).
  • A powerful individual has exerted influence and created pressure to hire the candidate.

In your situation, you applied for a job and were immediately rejected by the hiring manger. A few months later the same position was reposted. So should you reapply?

If you remain interested in this opportunity and want to continue to pursue it, then do so. But the odds of changing your fate are exceptionally low without the existence of a game-changing variable like one the few listed above. If you decide to try again, my advice is to contact the hiring manager directly and don’t just ask to be reconsidered…make your case. And do your best to try to secure a competitive advantage on this go-around.

How can you do this?

Perhaps you have an untapped contact at the firm/company who can help you get your foot in the door. You may possess a professional contact/friend/co-worker in common with the hiring manager who would be willing to recommend you. Or maybe you have developed fresh experience that is relevant. Perhaps you are more geographically desirable – i.e. have you recently moved to the area or closer to the employer? Or maybe you were not effective articulating your background and value the first time and can now communicate a more powerful message. It could be that your resume was subpar and did not successfully showcase your experience. If this could be the case, have a friend/colleague provide feedback and revise accordingly for a new look. Whichever approach you decide to take, it must effectively cast a new light on your candidacy in some way.

Finally, your message of continued interest must be concise. If you are emailing the hiring manager, do not send a lengthy, overly detailed diatribe about all the nooks and crannies of your practice…or a euphoric recollection of how this particular opportunity has been a dream since childhood (“Since I was a young boy attending the ballgames with my dad and granddad, I’ve always dreamed about being a lawyer for the San Francisco Giants.”). Instead, your message must be to the point – and begin with the transparency of your interest in the original position a few months ago. Then, make your case. Be humble and appreciative of the opportunity to be re-considered for the role. Do not strike a tone of frustration, anger or overzealousness, but rather convey one of enthusiasm and graciousness. Finally, don’t forget to attach your newly coiffed resume for the hiring manager’s convenience.

The situation you are encountering presents many challenges in your quest to be reconsidered for this position. So be mindful that the likelihood of a different result is low. But nothing is absolute and different timing and circumstances could yield a different result. So there’s no harm in a second attempt if your next overture is thoughtful, professional and strikes the right tone. All you can do is your best. And if the answer remains no, then pat yourself on the back for your perseverance and move on to the next opportunity that lies ahead.

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