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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

Ask an Honest HR Professional: How Do I Re-apply for a Position I Didn't Get the First Time?

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Dear HR Professional,

Am I allowed to re-apply for a position I didn't get the first time? If so, how do I go about doing this?

Still Interested

Dear Still Interested,

This is a great question!

I’d encourage you to apply again. In fact, it’s not that uncommon to see re-applicants. If you feel that your skills are actually aligned with the expectations for the role, here are a few things you can do to stand out.

1. Reflect on the First Interview

Before you reapply, ask yourself: Why am I applying again? Is it the role? The company? The industry?

Those answers will shape how you approach your application the second time around. If you’re more passionate about the company than the particular role you applied for, for example, you might consider applying for another position that’s more suitable for your skill set and career aspirations.

If you’re certain the original role is right for you, it’s crucial to understand what the hiring manager is looking for and how you meet those requirements. What has changed since the last time you applied? What new skills and experiences have you gained to make you a more qualified candidate? Also, if you received feedback from the first interview, make sure you have worked to address anything that came up.

2. Include a Cover Letter

Many organizations use applicant tracking systems to manage their recruiting efforts, and the system will show the recruiter that you have applied previously. That fact isn’t going to slide under the radar.

For that reason, it’s best to be direct and include a cover letter that mentions that you’ve applied before and also highlights why you’re a stronger candidate now.

Use the cover letter to tell your story, showcase the new experiences that you have gained, and include any additional efforts you have made to learn even more about the company or role. If you re-submit your application without a cover letter, it’ll be more difficult for the recruiter and hiring manager to fill in the gaps and assess what has changed in the interim.

And again, if you were given feedback in your first interview, don’t be shy about addressing that directly here.

3. Interview with Confidence

When it’s time for the interview, come prepared to tell a compelling story about exactly what you’ll bring to the role. Re-applying for a position shows commitment and drive in an applicant, so don’t let the previous rejection hinder your confidence. And if you are already at the interview stage, it means the company is interested!

Clearly demonstrate that you understand the expectations for what would make a successful employee in this role. Show your enthusiasm for the company and explain why you have decided to re-apply for the position.

With more time in your current role under your belt, you’ll have more examples to choose from to showcase your skills and potential for impact.

A previous rejection can leave you feeling disheartened. But, ultimately, if you’re passionate about the company and have taken the steps to improve your qualifications, you’re well positioned to re-apply for a role. Go for it, and good luck!

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. Our experts are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask an Honest HR Professional in the subject line.

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