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5 tips to apply to your dream company (even if they’ve rejected you once)

Deanna Erday | January 3, 2018

Company turned you down

You’ve applied to your dream company, but alas — they decided to go with a different candidate. There will be other opportunities to put your best foot forward and try to get your foot in the door again.

You’ve applied to your dream company, but alas — they decided to go with a different candidate. That doesn’t necessarily mean the door to that company is closed forever; it just means you weren’t the best fit for the position they had open. But there will be plenty of others, and you can use these as opportunities to put your best foot forward and try to get your foot in the door again.

How to re-apply to your dream company:

1. Understand why you were turned down for the role. By understanding the gap in your previous application, you can learn how to close it, says Joshua Siva, co-author of “BOLD: Get Noticed, Get Hired.”

“Ideally this comes from the company through a contact involved in the hiring process, but if not, the applicant needs to be honest with themselves: ‘Did I have the experience, did I speak the company’s language, did I sell myself the right way?’” he advises. “Make a list of these things, and spend whatever amount of time is needed to close the gap, and be sure to have it documented and readily demonstrated.”

2. Connect with someone in a similar role at that company. Perhaps the reason you didn’t land the last job you applied to was because you didn’t fully comprehend the role. You can rectify that this time around.

“[Reach out to someone] in order to learn everything about their role, their background, how they got in, company trends, etc.,” Siva says. “It’s amazing how far asking questions can take the applicant, because at the end of it all, the potential applicant will likely get asked about their own ambitions, and when shared, who knows what doors may open via the employee.”

3. Follow up with the hiring manager. There’s clearly a difference between checking in periodically and annoying the hiring manager with unnecessary updates. Siva suggests doing the former and, as part of the follow-up, recommends reminding the HR manager that your resume is on file, sharing the progress you’ve made since and reiterating your passion for the company.

“It’s always a favorable position when an applicant is on the mind of an HR professional involved with recruiting because they constantly have visibility and support requests to fill roles,” he says.

4. Give it time before applying again. Lisa Rangel, managing director of Chameleon Resumes, an executive resume-writing and job-search service, says that in general, it’s good to wait a minimum of three to six months.

“There needs to be enough time to allow for a possible change in the company situation and for the person to amass additional and/or relevant skills that are different than before,” she says.

5. Adjust your application before you re-apply. Assuming you’ve taken the aforementioned steps to improve your chances of landing the same or a different role at your dream company, make sure your application reflects all the steps you’ve taken since you last applied. Highlight your recent wins — whether you’ve taken online courses, earned new certifications or worked somewhere else to build your experience and credibility.

“To be taken seriously for the competitive and coveted positions in the marketplace, those who are and aren’t currently employed need to be advancing and improving themselves as time goes on,” Siva says. “If applying for the same role, that improvement needs to speak to closing the gaps in their previous application. If applying for a different role or function, that progress needs to demonstrate the pivot in knowledge and the commitment made to pursuing the new function of focus.”

Looking to change jobs this year? Here's more advice: