According to the International Labor Organization, the COVID-19 crisis has heavily impacted the labor market globally. The number of active vacancies is smaller than usual, which means more candidates competing for each opportunity. This competitive landscape means more applicants get rejected, especially when it comes to employers of choice and in-demand positions.
Reasons for Rejection
While every application is unique, applicants can generally be rejected for 3 reasons:
- The applicant is qualified and motivated for the job, but their skills haven’t been properly communicated through their application.
- The candidate has successfully communicated their qualifications through the application, but they haven’t demonstrated their drive for the job.
- There are skills gaps or the applicant is not truly motivated for the job.
If you don’t get feedback from the employer after a rejection, follow the below steps to get some insights:
- Connect with the recruiter managing the vacancy and ask them for a short chat. Explain you are interested in the company and the role and ask for some feedback so that you can work on areas of improvement and explore collaboration in the future. You can reach out through LinkedIn, email, or a phone call.
- While the above strategy usually yields a high response rate, if it doesn’t work for you, this is what to do. Identify someone working in a similar role for your dream employer through LinkedIn. Connect with them and request a short meeting explaining their advice would be invaluable for your job search. Once this happens, ask questions about the employer, the role, and the individual. This will make it easier to identify the gaps in your application.
Bridging the gap
When you are clear on what you need to work on, make an actionable plan to bridge the existing gaps and reapply.
- If there is a qualification issue, use MOOCs to support your candidacy. You can use platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn to take relevant courses. Then, you can put these skills to practice through volunteerism or freelancing.
- If there is a motivation issue, take a step back, re-evaluate your options, and redefine your goals. I am sure there is a career you are truly passionate about. It’s time to find it and pursue it!
- If the problem was how you portrayed your skills and qualifications, design your application having the end in mind. Understand the requirements of the job and focus on demonstrating how your experience, achievements, and skills make you a qualified candidate. Exclude everything irrelevant.
- If you realize that you hadn’t showcased your drive for the job, use the cover letter to let your passion shine. Talk about how enthusiastic you are about the role, the employer, and the industry. Show the recruiter no one wants this job more than you – it makes a huge difference!
- Bonus point: Make sure you stand out by proactively working on a short project related to your target job and providing your work to the employer along with your application. Start adding value and let them see your proactivity, skills, and attitude in practice before they hire you and ask you for anything. It will make your application relevant, impressive, and unique.
I know it is a hard time for professionals looking for a new role. However, please keep in mind that your dream job where you will feel rewarded, recognized, and fulfilled is out there. Don’t give up, seek feedback, and keep refining your strategy and success is only a matter of time.