How Do I Respond Nicely to a Job Rejection Email?

by Alison Lake

In a competitive job market, job seekers send out potentially hundreds of job applications by email in a year. These days most job applications are automated and not personalized as in the past when most applications were handled by postal mail and telephone. The majority of positions are announced on the Internet and companies invite applicants to complete online forms and submit interest in this way. Personalized rejection responses are rare.

Customized Notes

Despite the lack of a personal touch in much of the automated application process, the job search still has its human moments and job seekers should be prepared for such interactions. When applying for a position, write a cover letter tailored to the position. In turn, write personalized notes following an interview, thanking the employer, and then a personalized response when an employer takes time to notify the applicant with a rejection letter.

Types of Rejections

Rejections appear in a few different forms after employers decide whom they will hire to fill a position. Some employers only notify the lucky person who got the job. Others send an automated email or form letter to notify the remaining applicants that they were not chosen. In these cases, a response from the applicant is not necessary unless there was a meeting or phone call with the person screening applicants.

Personal Notification

Some employers take time to call or send a letter to unsuccessful applicants. In these situations a job seeker could benefit by keeping connections open and responding to the contact. This approach is called networking and keeps options open for the future. A personalized note thanking the employer and asking to keep the applicant in mind may jog their memory at a later date when a position opens again.

Positive Approach

Anyone in the market for a job and particularly in a very specific field should strive to maintain an open network of connections for the future. This approach can consider any interview as a conversation rather than an acceptance-rejection scenario. The process of applying for a position is a learning experience and not a reason to be bitter or negative. Instead, a positive attitude comes through in a response to a rejection and can leave a good impression.

About the Author

Alison Lake has been a journalist and editor since 2001, working with numerous newspapers and magazines. She has served on the world news desk of the "Washington Post" and contributed to The Atlantic, Foreign Policy Online, Al Jazeera English and GlobalPost.

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