How to Reapply to a Company that Rejected You in 10 Steps

It can be awkward, but it can also sometimes be necessary.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

How to reapply for a job

Being rejected from job applications is an unfortunate part of any job search, but what happens when you’re rejected from a job at a company that you really want to work for?

Reapplying for a job at a company that rejected you is a tough thing to consider, but in many circumstances, this is a great thing to do in order to further your career.

This article offers you tips for reapplying to a company after you didn’t get the job, including what to consider, how to do it, when it is appropriate to do so, and the etiquette you need to keep in mind.

Why reapplying for a job is important

Reapplying for a job is important for many reasons, but let’s start with the mantra “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. If the employer has posted a job similar to the one you applied for or reposted the job you originally applied for, then — in the right circumstances — it’s a reasonably risk-free task to throw your hat in once more, as the only thing it will cost you is your time.

Occasionally, jobs are reposted, not because your application (or anyone else’s) was weak, but because the recruiter would be looking for more applicants to make a fair decision. Finally, and frustratingly, remember that on many occasions your application might be screened out automatically using AI or applicant tracking systems. In these cases, it’s important to reapply with the goal that your application will be reviewed by a human!

Understanding the initial rejection

Reapplying for a job with the same company hinges on you understanding why you were rejected in the first place.

There will be some reasons for rejections that might make reapplication a futile exercise, such as jobseekers not having permission to work legally. Other reasons will help you craft out a reapplication, such as development areas to work on, or experience that you need to gain.

Ensure that when you’re first rejected, you ask for detailed feedback on the reasons why, as this will help you understand what you need to focus on in advance of a subsequent reapplication.

How to reapply for a job after a rejection

It’s important not to blindly reply to a company that has rejected you. Take some time to work out a plan to prepare yourself for a reapplication. Here are 10 good ideas to help you reapply for a job after a rejection.

Step 1: Reflect on the previous application

Before you apply, review the feedback from your previously rejected application and understand the reasons why you were rejected. Take time to reflect on the interview and previous experience.

Convert this feedback and reflective practice into action plans going forward that you can work on to ensure you can present to the recruitment team what has changed in your new application.

Ensure that you can demonstrate to them that the areas of improvement they (or you) have identified have been addressed and developed. This can be worked into the subsequent nine preparation steps below.

Step 2: Be sure of your motivations to reapply

You also need to carefully consider whether reapplying for the role is the right thing to do. At the end of this article, we’ll discuss reasons for and against reapplying, and these can be useful to refer to in this step.

If your own personal goals have changed or you feel that now isn’t the right time to reapply, or your perception of the role has changed, then think twice about reapplying.

You should only reapply to companies when you truly want that role, as a lack of motivation or purpose will come out during the interview process. Consider what other roles or organizations might be out there and concentrate your ambitions on these opportunities instead.

Step 3: Update your résumé and cover letter

Be sure to differentiate your résumé and cover letter before reapplying, and review both for any practical changes such as updated email addresses or work history.

The same application materials will be picked up on and regarded less favorably by hiring managers, especially if they recognize your application from before.

In many cases, an initial rejection from a job vacancy is because the applicant tracking system has rejected the résumé. Invest some time in making your résumé ATS-friendly. It might also be advisable to have your résumé and cover letter professionally rewritten.

Finally, and as we will review below, ensure your résumé is up to date with the skills referenced in the job advertisement.

Step 4: Review the job description

Thoroughly review the vacancy’s job description, and ensure that your skills or experience match what the hiring team is looking for. Furthermore, ensure these requirements are referenced in your résumé and cover letter, as this will maximize your chances of being selected for an interview, either by an ATS program or by the recruiter.

General applications that don’t reference the role and its requirements are a leading cause of rejection, and if you did this the first time around, it’s even more vital to ensure your résumé and cover letter are aligned to what is required of the role.

Step 5: Seek out networking opportunities or referrals

A little inside help is never a bad thing and is certainly an appropriate and frequently used way to help you make the most out of job applications. If you know someone who works in the company you’re reapplying for, then reach out to them and ask if they can mention you to the recruiter.

Furthermore, request to connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn for a brief chat about the role. The worst they can do is ignore you, but a connection here can give you the opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you have reapplied.

Step 6: Research the company

As part of your reapplication, research the company. If there has been a major change in its circumstances or the way it operates, this might make the opportunity a lot less attractive than it was before, in which case you might want to reevaluate your reapplication.

If the hiring manager, structure or reporting lines have changed, this might also give you something to think about before you click “Apply”.

Step 7: Be honest when reapplying

In your cover letter, it can be a good idea to mention that you’re reapplying and why, using statements like “…in the time since my previous application, I’ve grown…” and explaining the context on how you have developed as a professional, as well as demonstrating your commitment to the organization and the role.

Whether or not you include this on the application, do ensure you tell the recruitment team you’re reapplying if they directly ask you. Some online application forms will also require that you check a box confirming if this is your first application or not.

Step 8: Be prepared for different recruitment processes

If you went through certain interview stages during your first application, don’t expect the same stages the second time around. Although the interview process might be the same, some recruiters might want to assess you for different competencies.

This could mean that instead of a behavioral interview, you may be expected to present a deck of slides or participate in an assessment center. Ask for clarification on the interview process if you’re unsure what might be expected of you.

Step 9: Demonstrate how you’ve grown professionally

Before and during the recruitment process, demonstrate to the recruiters how you have grown since your last application. Ensure that you can quantify this through demonstrating any courses or qualifications you have acquired and what you have learned in subsequent employment.

Be ready to provide examples for behavioral interview questions using the STAR interview format (Situation, Task, Action and Result).

Step 10: Build future connections

Whatever happens after you reapply for the job, use the opportunity to build and sustain connections.

If you’re rejected at the final stage of the interview process, keep in contact with the hiring manager and ask to be considered for future positions. Very often, your application will be kept on file, and it’s good to be kept top of mind in case the role or a similar one opens up again in the future.

Tips for follow-up etiquette

Following up after reapplying for a role enables you to bring to life your application and why you’re so interested in the opportunity. Here are tips to follow up after reapplying to a job:

1. Thank the hiring manager for their (re)consideration

Thanking the hiring manager for their interest is something not often done when people apply online. You can reach out to the hiring manager after you’ve applied, for example, on LinkedIn or via the online application, introduce yourself, and thank them for the opportunity to be considered.

Doing this will raise your profile with the hiring manager and it also allows you to make your case as to why you’re so interested in the position or the job. This is especially important if you have been invited to reapply.

2. Reach out to the hiring manager with any questions

If you’re interviewed for the role you applied for, hiring managers will often ask you if you have any questions and invite you to contact them after the interview if anything comes to mind.

Be sure to reach out after the interview to thank them for their time and use this opportunity to ask questions about the role, when you might expect to hear back, or anything else you might want to know about next steps. Do try to cover most of this in the question stage of the main interview.

You can also ask similar questions to the hiring manager before the interview if you’re reaching out to thank them for their consideration.

3. Use your network

Your network can be a great resource when it comes to following up about your application. If you have reapplied for a role and are waiting to hear back, then reach out to anyone you might know in the organization and ask them if they know anything about how the recruitment process is going.

This is especially important if you’re worried that your application has slipped through the cracks or an ATS has automatically filtered you out; in short, following up by networking can offer a real lifeline!

4. Express your interest in similar roles

As the recruitment process progresses, express your interest in similar roles that might come up. You might have an opportunity to do this when you apply online and register on the recruitment website, or this might also arise during the interview.

Considering other roles can demonstrate that you’re passionate about the organization and could present you with other opportunities to join the team in a position that is well-aligned to you and your competencies. Be sure that you fit the requirements of the job before you apply for similar roles.

5. Ask for feedback

If you’re rejected a second time for the role, don’t be too disheartened, as this doesn’t necessarily mean that you would be automatically discounted if you apply again in the future.

Ensure you thank the recruiter and ask for feedback. Even if it looks like you received a categorical rejection, take the time to reach out and ask what you can do in the future. This way, you will become less anonymous to the recruiter and, in some situations, this might result in your application being given a second look.

When to reapply

The best time to reapply for a job is when information regarding your application has been significantly updated since the first time you applied.

For example, if you originally applied for a job with the company using a generic résumé or cover letter that wasn’t compatible with applicant tracking system software, then using a more tailored application might give you the edge. Similarly, if you have found a mistake in your previous application, then you should consider reapplying as well.

If your skill set or experience has improved or become more aligned with the role, then this is another good reason to reapply, as your enhanced profile might be more interesting to the employer.

Conversely, if the job’s hiring manager has changed, that would also be a good opportunity to reapply. Sometimes, someone in your professional network has joined the organization and might be in a position to help your application along.

Another good time to reapply for a job is when you know you were identified as a strong candidate or made it through to the final round of the application process. In these situations, it might have been that you only narrowly missed out on the job, and reapplying for a new role might be very much welcomed. Similarly, if you’re reasonably sure that you were rejected due to an automated process, then this might also mean that you should reapply.

When not to reapply

Essentially, rushing into a reapplication will rarely be a good thing, unless a hiring manager has specifically asked that you do so. If not enough time has passed between applications, this might signal to the recruiter that you have not given yourself enough opportunity to develop or gain more experience.

Reapplying too quickly can also make it look to the organization that you are desperate, and leave them wondering about the reasons behind such a fast reapplication.

Applying to a company will never be advisable when there might be insurmountable hurdles that will prevent you from getting the job. One such example could be if your visa is preventing you from working in a certain location, or if a relative working in the same place is causing a conflict of interest.

If you were rejected because of a discrepancy in experience or there are skills you haven’t developed, there’s no point applying again, and you might need to ask yourself if you should have applied in the first instance. Also, if you have burned bridges at the company, for example, leaving a bad review of the interview experience on Glassdoor, it might be best that you look for opportunities elsewhere!

Sometimes, if the same job has been reposted, it might mention in the advert that “previous applicants will be considered”. In this case, you might not need to reapply, as your application could still be in the original talent pool. In this situation, it might be worth following up with the hiring manager and asking for an update.

Final thoughts

Reapplying to a company that has rejected you might not seem like the most obvious thing to do, but if it is a role and an organization that you really love the idea of, then doing so can be advantageous.

Before you take the plunge to apply, consider whether now is the right time to do so, as reapplying too soon or doing so when nothing about your application has changed might not work. Consider the ways to differentiate your application and showcase how you have progressed as a professional to maximize your chances of success. Good luck!

Got a question? Let us know in the comments section below.