One of my readers wrote to tell me that he was rejected for the job he wanted, even though the hiring manager herself told him that the interview went really well. Not too surprising to learn that he was depressed about it. Rejection isn’t easy and job seekers get more than their share of it.
All too often the first thought is defensive, something like “well I don’t want you either!” But being told you didn’t get the job is no reason to end the communication. In fact, it’s a perfect time to follow up yet again and leave them with a great impression.
What should your rejection follow-up letter say?
Your goal is to make sure that the last impression you leave them with after the interview process is a positive one for at least two main reasons:
(1) You want to keep yourself as a top contender should the person they just hired not work out. Yes, that can happen … it once happened to me and I got the job!
(2) You also want to plant the idea in at least one person’s mind that they should call you the next time a position comes up that you might be qualified for. I’ve called back several people from past interviews whom we later hired.
The main thing to remember is a rejection is not necessarily the end of the line. I went to graduate school with a man who got rejected 5 times by a large company before getting hired. He played it smart by staying in touch with people he connected with most and, as a result, got told of a job opening in another department.
It’s important to note that this didn’t happen within a few weeks. It took time. But he set his mind to it, and years later he was one of their top VPs.
Sample letter after being rejected for a job
I strongly advise that you adapt this to your own style and circumstances, but this should help get you started:
Remember to attach a business card if you have one. If you don’t have a professional card, please add one to your job search and networking tool kit as soon as possible.
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